Review: Giöbia ‘Plasmatic Idol’
The Giöbia is a popular traditional celebration originating in the north of Italy (the band are from Milan) whereby during the last Thursday in January the Giöbia, (a puppet but at one time a witch) is placed on a pyre of wood, hay, and paper collected by the villagers during the week, and set on fire. The rite is both symbolic and conciliatory, the pyre flame believed to predict an abundant harvest in the upcoming year.
Taking their name from this rather Wicker Man sounding celebration, Giöbia is also the name of a rather fantastic Italian Psych/Space-Rock band consisting of Bazu on vocals and string instruments, Saffo on organ, violin, vocals, Detrji on bass and Betta on drums. I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing them twice this year, once at Sonic Blast Festival in Moleda, Portugal and the other in Rome, Italy as part of the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest (review). Therefore, it was of little surprise to The Sleeping Shaman head honcho Lee when I leapt at the chance to review latest album Plasmatic Idol which has an official release date of 7th February 2020.
Plasmatic Idol follows 2015’s The Magnifier and is their fourth so far. I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of that record at Sonic Blast and having had it on steady rotation for several months, I was intrigued to hear how this one would transpire.
The album starts off with Parhelion which wouldn’t sound out of place on an early 1980’s John Carpenter soundtrack, or on current hip show Stranger Things. It’s a lovely introduction to get us in the mood for what’s to come. Following Parhelion is In The Dawn Light which has a Spacemen 3 meets Hawkwind vibe. Up next is the title track and it’s the shortest on the album, conjuring up images of circling the earth in a NASA style capsule, the kind of thing Brian Eno was going for on Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks.
Haridwar, the longest track on the album, is a wonderful slice of early Pink Floyd circa 1971-1975, the vocal melody bearing a resemblance to Wish You Were Here and with organ in heavy use.
Haridwar, the longest track on the album, is a wonderful slice of early Pink Floyd circa 1971-1975, the vocal melody bearing a resemblance to Wish You Were Here and with organ in heavy use. The Floyd influence continues unabashed with The Escape with a drum pattern reminiscent of Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. Far Behind starts well but meanders slightly and I found my attention wandering at times, but it’s by no means a disaster. Heart Of Stone and The Mirror House round the album off in fine fashion with some truly hypnotic sounds that made me want to dig out my Farflung records.
The evolution of Giöbia’s sound is also quite noticeable, adding a lot more of an 80’s Synth sound into the mix and considering this will be their first album in 5 years (by the time it gets released), it’s clear to me that the band have spent their time absorbing new influences and updating their sound.
As mentioned in a previous review, I have grown tired of bands releasing albums at an unprecedented rate exhausting and overwhelming the listener, it should be an event to look forward to and savour thus helping to maintain a higher level of quality control and focus. I really appreciate Giöbia’s comparatively slower work rate which has allowed me to both absorb their previous releases and embrace the new.
This is an excellent album that never really outstays its welcome. My advice would be to fix yourself a beverage (alcoholic or otherwise), lie back and let the music take you over.
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
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Scribed by: Reza Mills