Israeli psy-trance duo Infected Mushroom released a new album, Army of Mushrooms, this week -- their eighth studio LP on Steve Aoki'sDim Mak Records. One of Israel's best-selling groups, the collaboration project of Erez Aizen and Amit Dudevani became a genuine international cult success with their fusion of trance, psychedelia, and bedroom electronica after the release of 2000's Classical Mushroom.
They were always an artistic project that celebrated diversity and eclectic musical forms long before it was fashionable, but it's fair to say a lot has changed within the world of electronic dance music since their previous record, in 2009. And their recent bass-heavy collaborative single with Jonathan Davis (of Korn) and new labelmate Datsik, "Evilution," hinted at how they have progressed sonically.
First single "U R So Fucked" from the newest album is an example of how they've perhaps consciously tried to modernize their sound while still retaining an idiosyncratic sensibility. Built around stuttering midrange bass beats that are tightly ingrained within an operatic refrain, any sense of psy-trance seems to have been marginalized. But this is a good thing -- it sounds more like something Diplo would produce and a compelling hybrid of Rusko and cult South African rap-ravers Die Antwoord rather than an obvious dubstep cash-in.
Second single "Nation of Wusses" features a euphoric progressive house build and electro-house break that seems ideally suited for big festival crowds, whereas "Wanted To" segues between huge metallic bass drops and an affecting melodic female vocal. The breadth of musical textures certainly makes the record feel fresh and current, and there are pockets of samples throughout the album that sound familiar but recontextualized within a new dynamic context. The penultimate track, a trance-breaked-up remixed cover of the Foo Fighters' hit "The Pretender," should seem random but, in the context of what it follows, seems quite opportune.
When we spoke to Steve Aoki, head of Dim Mak, last month, he spoke at length about how "signing an artist from an idea and helping them develop their idea into something that becomes global is one of the best feelings in the world." It's interesting considering this record within this context. It is so full of ideas that it's a dizzying listen, yet it also seems ripe to fit nicely within the highly fertile and continually popular global EDM scene.
One thing that has become abundantly clear in the past couple of years is that it is the live arena where names are made. Skrillex didn't become a household name and take off in a space ship from the Main Stage at Ultra in March until he was averaging 300 shows a year and putting on a show that was both sonically immersive and visually stunning. With this in mind, take a look at the stage production Infected Mushroom will be taking around the world -- two textured three-dimensional textured spheres made up of several components for intense visual digital media projection: