Abstrakt Muzak’s New Compilation Heralds Mexico’s Golden Age of Psych Rock

Lead Photo: Photo by Thom Díaz
Photo by Thom Díaz
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Psych music re-emerged in the 21st century, thanks in part to the explosion of the Internet. Unknown, forgotten, and out-of-print releases were suddenly at everyone’s fingertips, drawing renewed interest in the tradition. This resurgence showed us that psych isn’t defined by hippies endlessly soloing, but rather by sonic explorers with diverse approaches and styles. Latin America was no exception to this phenomenon, with a rich history tracing back to the 60s and 70s, and now we’re seeing a powerful revival of the tradition. Mexico seems to be living in a golden age of psych.

One of the most important imprints in the country’s psych scene is Abstrakt Muzak, which has been championing new acts for some time, though they’ve been around for six years – longer than the current boom. Abstrakt has cultivated a roster of like-minded individuals with divergent approaches, all anchored by a cast of usual suspects. On Abstrakt’s third compilation, cult figures like White Ninja – who contributes the pulsing-in-outer-space track “Radek” – and slacker punk Mentira Mentira exemplify the two ends of the label’s spectrum. Old favorites include Memo Guerra and Estamos Fritos, the former contributing a funky number in the form of “El Terror” while the latter indulges in good vibes with “Seguridad.” Los Mundos – one of the most forward-thinking bands in the country – shine with “Afghanistan,” a bad space trip with skronking horns.

Newcomers to the label include Yo Maté A Tu Perro, who open the comp with the beautifully distorted “Para Siempre.” Virtual Haze’s “The Chase” contributes a heavy bassline with some of the most bold-faced rock moments of the record, while The Crimson Trip indulge in minimalism for the first half of their contribution, “Sardonicus,” before throwing down the heaviest riffing here. Meanwhile, Tajak offers an instrumental that will melt your brain in the closing minutes of the album.

Of course, this isn’t the last word on contemporary Mexican psych – thankfully there’s plenty more out there – but this is a solid snapshot of the scene’s thriving community.