Launched in 2008, PSI CORPS is an all instrumental side-project by Alisa Coral known for her multinational interstellar consortium SPACE MIRRORS. Two full-length albums and one EP had been produced through R.A.I.G. before the project was frozen for uncertain time. “Psi Corps was a very interesting experience but I doubt I will return to this project sometime in the near future. I’m too busy with Space Mirrors and actually have no mood for the purely instrumental music now.” – commented Alisa Coral in her interview in 2012. Arguably, PSI CORPS instrumental music which laid somewhere in between various subgenres like kraut rock, space rock, improvised psyche-rock, avant-garde, experimental and cinematic ambient demonstrated stronger aesthetical intrigue than framed and song-oriented works by Alisa Coral’s major unit. Whatever the future may hold, it was quite an event in modern experimental rock-underground. Ever frozen PSI CORPS MyspaceMusic page.
PSI CORPS' new studio album is inspired by Roger Zelazny's first two books from “The Amber Chronicles” and continues Alisa Coral’s original “soundtrack-to-book” concept. “It’s quite logical for me to do a Zelazny album after the Poe album since Zelazny was a fan of the Poe's style, especially the poetic side… The Amber Chronicles is a rather dark fantasy, and this fits perfectly the Psi Corps’ dark Lovecraftian atmosphere…” – tells Alisa. All Roads Lead To Amber consists of two parts: “The Siege of Amber” (with 4 tracks) and “Along the Black Road” (5 tracks). Each track relates to certain events of the book, and the music, with all its rhythm and mood breaks and changes, tends to reflect what’s going on in the book. Everything was recorded by Alisa Coral (bass, effects, theremin, synthesizers, drums) and Charles Van de Kree of JET JAGUAR (electric and acoustic guitars, guitar synth, synthesizers, detuned glockenspiel) with a little help from Arkady Fedotov of VESPERO (add. bass), and then thoroughly assembled by Alisa at her KZI Studio in Moscow. The result is far from conventional rock-metal or electronic-tinged albums. With the sonic ocean of cryptic, discrete and weird sounds, swirling vintage synthesizers, heavily processed on the edge of sanity guitars, fluid melodic patterns, stumbling organic and machine-made beats… the music sounds like a cold and brain-expanding excursion of dark-psychedelic-industrial-space-acid rock collisions. Alisa Coral unleashed another modern psychedelic-nightmare masterpiece! Artwork, layout, and photography by Kevin Sommers. (9 tracks - 61 min.)
PRESS CLIPS"The listener is presented with nine well crafted, moody and atmospheric pieces that are really effective, being original in approach and sound. The album has been constructed in such a way that it doesn’t sound like it conforms to any real convention, sonically being unique, a free spirit, with its curious and strange soundscapes, but we aren’t talking avant garde here. The album works on two levels sonically for me. Quietly through headphones where you can hear all the little nuances that Psi Corps have created, dragging you into their music, with its rhythmic, trance like passages, featuring interjections of spacey, psychedelic tones, almost cinematic in approach; every note being positioned in the construction perfectly, which at first sounds odd, but is very effective. Secondly when the album is played loud, the whole dynamics of the piece just seems to change, it becomes intense, powerful, dark and menacing, the room fills with powerful sonic passages, air sculptures that swirl and twist, leaving you under no illusions that Psi Corps mean business. Alisa’s has put her experience to good use, making music that would appeal to fans of Hawkwind, Space Mirrors, Ozric Tentacles, Ayreon and Tangerine Dream. Throughout, a balance of keyboard and guitar led tracks has been maintained, one underpinning the other, coexisting in a state of unification. On the whole, the experience of hearing the instrumentation coalescing perfectly is an aural pleasure to behold. Van de Kree immense guitar work is stunning, perfectly matching Coral’s musical prowess. An easy path hasn’t been chosen here, which makes this an even more exciting prospect for the listener, the soundscapes shifting, sounding as if they are altering reality, choosing which elements to keep, and which to switch between, powerful indeed... I seriously can’t wait to see where Alisa and co. go from here. At this moment in time Russia is really turning out some high quality prog, becoming a force to be reckoned with, and an avenue that should be explored further by you good folks. (Conclusion: 8 out of 10)" – by John O'Boyle of DPRP (UK) (September 2010).
"The album is split into two parts but its basically nine well crafted pieces that blend ambient atmospheric sections with heavy guitar parts and space-rock inspired synthesizers. Being more or less an concept album, the recording flows like its one long piece lasting more than a hour but don't be put off by the concept tag. Its not a self-indulgent type of album but rather a collection of great songs that blend and flow together into a flawless soundtrack that matches the visions of writer Roger Zelazny. The medi-evil fantasy themes are recreated here musically with dark, brooding themes mixed with psychedelic hypnotic sections. The music is very cinematic with sounds resembling what you would read in the fantasy inspired writings. What is also very effective is the mixture of loud and quiet parts which is perfect for both headphones or a surround-sound system, quiet parts that are both strange and unique blend well with loud sections that are dark and menacing. The use of guitar effects and spacey sounds gives everything a very spacious atmosphere and you even get the use of the theremin! The album is not too complex but its no easy-listening experience either, the constantly shifting sound-scapes and mood changes make this an challenging album to listen to but along the way there is also some powerful emotional moments that keep your attention level up to a premium. This is a album for ambient music fans as well as prog-rock fans but its the lovers of Space Rock that will mostly appreciate whats on offer on All Roads Lead To Amber. (score: 8.5/10)" – by Ed Barnard of Doommantia (USA) (September 2010).
"This latest release to come out of Russia just further confirms what I've been saying now for the past couple of years. One has got to be impressed by the amount of innovative, fresh sounding and richly rewarding music that has been filtering out of that country, especially on the RAIG label. These guys have established a stellar track record for issuing high quality, cutting edge music and you can definitely place Alisa Coral and her Psi Corps into this upper echelon of artistic genius. All Roads Lead To Amber should be considered as nothing less than essential nourishment for the soul and pure cinematic bliss for the brain. (Score: 4.5/5)" – by Ryan Sparks of Sea Of Tranquility (USA) (October 2010).
Comprising four tracks (“Through the Shadow Realms”, “Temporal Fugue - The Fight”, “Thing That Cries In The Night”, and “Skagganauk Abyss”), Shadow Creatures EP is based on the “Creatures of Light and Darkness” book by Roger Zelazny. The recording sessions began in winter 2010 but were postponed in favor of finalizing the “All Roads Lead to Amber” full-length album, another Alisa Coral’s book-based-soundtrack on R.Zelazny. The work was resumed in late spring and resulted in four down-tuned and gloomy atmospheric soundscapes which might be defined as doom-ambient. Performed, recorded, mixed and mastered by Alisa Coral (bass guitar, synths, theremin, percussion) at her KZI Studio. Artwork by Kevin Sommers. (4 tracks - 28 min.)
"This e.p. is somewhat unique as it sees just Alisa Coral on all instrumentation this time around, predominantly bass and synths. Boy, she's done a fantastic job here. The wall of sound created is mammoth, the sheer utter power and magnitude makes it sound like the heavens being born. We are assaulted by four convoluted and layered tracks of doomy, experimental psychedelic, ambient soundscapes that bore their way into your soul, possessing your mind, menacing your cerebral cortex. Powerchords thundering their way through time and space whipped and lashed by haunting wraith like atmospheric synth passages. (score: 4.5/5)" – by John O'Boyle of Sea Of Tranquility (USA) (October 2010).
The album was also reviewed at: Metal Library (Russia).
After three albums under the name SPACE MIRRORS, Alisa Coral launched a new musical project PSI CORPS. The debut album "Tekeli-li" was written, recorded and produced by Coral, dedicated to the memory of Edgar Allan Poe, and inspired by his novel “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket”. Michael Blackman (of ALIEN DREAM), yet another co-founder of SPACE MIRRORS, played all guitars and co-wrote several tracks. The duo has taken more experimental approach with this album, combining hard edged space-rock of the earlier works with abstract elements of cinematic music. Vocals have been completely abandoned this time as well as notable guest appearances. Coral and Blackman have amazing talent of introducing memorable synthesizer harmonies and guitar hook lines into their music. Conceived as a soundtrack, "Tekeli-li" is more focused on the scenes and characters behind a structure. As a whole, it sounds misty, obscured and rarefied, though in excitingly familiar manner. (6 tracks - 53 min.)
"Scoring a soundtrack to film is one thing but attempting to create images and feelings from a text can be equally, if not more challenging, but I have to say they have done a remarkable job with their music in capturing the overall feeling of Poe's writing style. Without delving into the story too much, which would be working on the assumption that the listener has read Poe's tale, the six compositions are basically titled around the actual chapters of the book. In a nutshell its based on the central character Pym, whose adventures and misfortunes at sea include shipwrecks, mutiny and cannibalism. Sound interesting? The first track 'Party at Barnard's (Is Over)' deals with Pym's drunken evening with his friend Augustus Barnard, prior to them sailing out on Pym's small boat the Ariel, which later capsizes during a violent storm at sea. The mood on this relatively composed opening piece of music perfectly sets the tone as Coral's delicate synth washes and rather erratic drum rhythm's give off the feeling of someone stumbling around in a slowly advancing state of inebriation. Whereas 'On Board the Ariel' finds the tempos picking up speed, allowing Blackman plenty of opportunity on this ten minute track to carve out some memorable and spacey guitar lines, highlighted by more of Coral's unique synth textures. Close your eyes and let this trippy music wrap firmly around the mental images of Pym and his friend being tossed about on the rough waters and you'll find yourself right there along with them. 'On Board the Grampus' signifies the duo's second adventure at sea, this time aboard the whaling ship the Grampus. Coral and Blackman's fantastic interplay, creates an ominous feeling of heightened tensions as the ship undergoes a violent mutiny which eventually results in Barnard's death. The fourth track 'Tsalal' is certainly one of the high points of this disc and quite possibly my favorite overall as well. The track begins with a brief, frantic synth passage before Coral lay's down an infectious tribal sounding electronic drum pattern, and Blackman seriously kicks things up a notch with a plethora of searing leads and equally scorching slide work. This engaging composition shifts gears a few times but the duo keeps the gloriously intense, psychedelic themes flowing for the full duration. The album concludes with the epic, thirteen minute title track which succeeds largely because it captures many different moods while it undergoes a myriad of various themeatic changes. Blackman's jagged guitar work is front and center once again, but Coral offsets this nicely with her spooky textures which are performed on the theremin. All in all this is another standout track and a wonderful way to draw things to a close. Psi Corps have crafted a truly masterful opening statement with Tekeli-li, as both Alisa Coral and Michael Blackman prove once again why they are at the forefront of the kraut/ prog/ space rock scene. This album has taken their creative abilities to new levels. (Score: 4.5/5)" – by Ryan Sparks of Sea Of Tranquility (USA) (May 2009).
"It’s not necessary a pre requisite to read Poe’s book to enjoy what has been lovingly created here, but I do personally believe that it would increase the experience. I for one will be laying my hands on a copy as this really is classic Poe. Even the artwork draws you in sparking your imagination further. Throughout the whole recording nods and winks have been made to their influences, some of these being Hawkwind, Ozric Tentacles, Ayreon and Tangerine Dream, but they have still to some degree kept is sounding original. The really is a grower of an album the more you play it the more you will enjoy it. (Conclusion: 7 out of 10)" – by John O'Boyle of DPRP (UK) (March 2010).
The album was also reviewed at: Spacerock Reviews (UK), Sonic Frontiers (USA), Progressive Ears (USA), DisAgreement (Luxembourg), Progressive Area (France), Metal Library (Russia), Progwereld (The Netherlands), Monochrom-Cracked (Austria), Psychotropic Zone (Finland), Psychotropic Zone's interview with Alisa Cora (Finland), Far From Moscow (USA), ProgArchives (USA), Deaf Sparrow (USA), Maelstrom (USA).
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