Radical Mycology Mixtape
Nearly a year in the making, the first Radical Mycology Mixtape was released on December 21, 2017. With artists from around the world, this unique album was created to showcase the many ways fungi inspire the audio arts – with the result being a wide-ranging, yet well-balanced blend of styles arising from the only requirement for submission: that the tracks “relate to (radical) mycology in content or spirit.”
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the mix is the spread of genres. There are singer-songwriter, I-love-mushrooms-type songs from Josh Vogeler, Michael Ching, and Skep. Lef. The classical cello from Patrick Lavoie, SP-404 sampled beat from MTLR, and ambient world sounds of Sporecaster bring in an instrumental perspective to hearing fungi. And there are several non-music-based tracks, including excerpts from Zoe Gordon’s “Curse of the Wild Morels,” a sound effect laced poem-story about alien Morel mushrooms that haunt dreams, and Ernst Karl’s 30-minute collection of mycology-based field recordings known simply as “Mycological.”
Reflecting on the influences of psychoactive fungi, Kamehameha’s “Head Up the Sky” is a psychedelic rock roller coaster through the effects of psilocybin. While in “I Bruise Blue,” OMNIII raps about similar experiences over slappy bass loops, just as Gourmet draws out in their lo-fi track “Mushrooms” and Sam Sycamore relays via shoegaze in “Gold Pavilion.”
Many of the tracks also directly align with the mycopsychology that Radical Mycology has highlighted for years. In “Firemushroom,” AGF sings about the importance of fungi in the environment over sounds sampled directly from mushrooms. Radical Fun Time’s “Radical Mycology Time” is a crust punk celebration of the autonomy found in mushroom hunting and reconnecting with nature. “Very Same Moon” by Connor Albers discusses the intelligence of mycelium in relation to being connected to land, while River Dweller’s “Holy Karyogamy” provides a multi-layered reflection on impending ecological disasters. Meanwhile, multiple snippets from Emji Spero’s poetry book-turned-album “almost any shit will do” are spread throughout the mixtape, providing numerous comparisons between fungal forms and the growth of radical social movements.
Finally, there are the songs that are in a class of their own: Glitter Wizard’s glam/stoner rock tale of corpses communicating via mycelium, cyberboy666 & user43368831’s retelling of a Derek Mahon poem (over mushroom-sampled sounds), Mamoun Nukumanu’s blissed out rap “Helix Trees,” and Baba and the Yagas’ ballad “Cordyceps.” In all of these we find a unique reflection on the influences and importance of fungi in our lives – now, and in the hereafter.
Mush love to all the artists!
(Live video mix by Ross Barmache)