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Whysp (2004)





Only just now I tried a summer sell-out copy of Santa Cruz based band Whysp's first LP. It was recorded in Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie)'s Nowhere studios in 2004. The band was formed by a trio (Josh Alper, Hugh Holden and Jeffrey Manson), but quickly became a loose musical communal foundation featuring members like Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Thuja and The Blithe Sons), Christine Boepple, Hugh Guthrie Holden, Jr., Ia Hernandez, Jeffrey Manson, Michele Hannigan, Caroyln Pennypacker-Riggs, Margaretha Haughwout, Karl Blau, Tom Child, Phil Elverum, Aaron "A-Ron" Emmert, Nicky "Dinosaur" Emmert, Kyle Field, John Garmon, Mike May, Adam "Handel" Payne, Niki Selken, Emily White. During this LP they were a sextet, which is is the founding trio with the already mentioned Tom Child, Emily White and John Garman. The band very much was inspired by Forest, an Incredible String Band alike UK folk band, with the new version of that band they were going to do some new recordings.

The first side showed an attractive mixture of the forest people meet 60s sounds with an Incredible String Band alike touch and a few more strummed Syd Barrett directions. The vocal harmonies of the full band are one of the strongest parts throughout the album. There are some weird flute harmonies, some mouth harmonica, 60s psych organ. There's an overall acoustic feeling, a playing with some loose ends, nearly amateurish. And somewhat primitively recorded and played with band's enjoyment, with a context like being involved with nursery rhymes, lullabies and ballads. On the second side some less convincing, with somewhat lazily sung male vocal songs with simple strums dominate more, which takes away some of the enjoyment elsewhere, the primitivisms, despite its charm, could have been recorded better.

Currently the group is Josh Alper with Zachary Watkins, Annette Marines, and Cole Willsea. (source)

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