Matt Baldwin

Imaginary Psychology

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Imaginary Psychology is the third record by San Francisco-based guitarist Matt Baldwin. Heavily influenced by experimental Krautrock forebears like Manuel Göttsching and Michael Rother, Baldwin's music often relies on skillful improvisations using a variety of analog effects over a bed of hypnotic guitar loops. The original release of Psychology contained two long-form pieces running about 15 minutes each, and one shorter piece at nearly three minutes. It was first released in 2010 on Baldwin's own Psychic Arts label, then reissued in digital form by Tel Aviv-based electronic label False Industries, which included remixes from Israeli guitarist Yair Yona and Tim Martin of the band Maps & Diagrams. In 2013, the album was reissued again, this time by the limited-edition vinyl label Spiritual Pajamas, with an additional bonus track called "State Trooper." The opening track, "Lindsay and Her Duplicates," is a propulsive, loop-driven, single-take performance based around Baldwin's heavily delayed Stratocaster. The music develops slowly, eventually devolving into a swirl of melodic synths and gentle psychedelia. The shortest track, "Bokarian Dervish," is a gently lilting piece whose open spaces more resemble the deceptively simplistic instrumentals of guitarist John Fahey. This placid, contemplative tone carries over to the title cut which, like the first track, takes its time developing. After a carefully picked, slowly looped intro, the song's midsection becomes awash with sitar-like synth drones before trailing off in a dense cluster of swirling guitar notes. All of the tracks are played on electric guitar with considerable psych leanings, but it's clear that Baldwin also has roots in the American primitive folk guitar style, making Imaginary Psychology an interesting hybrid.

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