Alcyon Has His Finger on the Pulse of the Beat: A Review of “Soul Science” by Alcyon Massive
Near the end of his acoustic guitar set at a mid-August show at The Sound Lounge, singer and performer Alcyon declared, “I have love for everyone.” He continued by announcing his love more specifically to his adopted state of Oregon. “I’m from Connecticut,” he said; adding: “Do you know how many songs I’ve written about Connecticut?” He answers his own question by making a “goose-egg” with his thumb and fingers.
Named Charlie by his mother, Alcyon took on his new name soon after the turn of the century. He has been called a “Dreadlock Psychonaut,” and his music described as “backwoods hip-hop meets roots reggae.”
On a recent listen and re-listen to the latest release by Alcyon Massive, “Soul Science”, and after a recent trip to one of his shows, I recognize that we are continuing the journey he has guided us on for years now. His debut release in 2009 boldly announced his arrival and introduced him as a unique artist, sharing his philosophy about life right out the gate. While the first album, “Dreaming the World Awake” seems more pure reggae influenced (although hip-hop is present too), this recent album, his third release, incorporates much more hip-hop, jazz, and even a little funk into the mix, showing an increase in genre blending while continuing to celebrate the reggae vibe and the healthy hippie lifestyle. Each song flows nicely with the rest of the album, maintaining a grooving pulse.
Voice recordings such as newscaster reports and electronic voice modifications are used very effectively and inserted into the music. Although several of the tracks have an overlay recording of some kind, the technique does not feel overdone.
“I-Rep” is this release’s love letter anthem to Oregon, where he talks about his desire to unify the people, make healthier choices for himself, and “smack down on GMOs.” “The Phoenix, Pt. 1” includes his thoughts on the challenges of life as well as being able to achieve his dreams and it ends with more of that dreamy, swirly jazz moodiness.
On “Champagne and Jager,” Alcyon tells us, “I don’t care about your money and I don’t care about your car, I’ve got my own medicine growing in my backyard.” And, this isn’t the only place where he asserts that other things like family and health take precedent over material luxuries. There is a moving instrumental break in the middle of “Morning Sesh” that reminds me of the stress of life and someone working hard throughout the day. I almost picture an urban setting here, the hot concrete jungle culminating into an exhausted spell at an after-hours underground jazz club.
Alcyon Massive can next be seen performing as part of a line-up of reginal musicians at BlessED Love in Iregon, including Akae Beka, Indubious, Free Creatures. 1 – 10 pm, Saturday, September 14, Sugarloaf Community Land, 206 Thetherow Rd. $25 adv., $35 at gate (under 15, free.). All-ages.