With so many classics in their rather large catalog, it’s no wonder that an early album, such as 2001’s “B.P.Empire” by INFECTED MUSHROOM, would get forgotten in the storm of great music to come. Fortunately, today is the album’s 20th anniversary, which is a great opportunity to look back to the earlier days of these psych giants and see how their music differs from today!
As someone who has been mostly enthralled by INFECTED MUSHROOM‘s psychedelic albums, like “Return to the Sauce” (2017) or “Converting Vegetarians II” (2015), listening back this far was an interesting change of pace from what I would normally hear from these guys. “B.P.Empire” is a vibrant, dark trance album with ever-changing beats that flow seamlessly from one to the other. It’s easy to see the appeal of going to a random location and blasting some music like this to a good light show and dancing. The album functions as one long piece that’s divided into segments (individual songs). If you don’t pay attention, it’s hard to tell where one song ends and the next begins at times.
As the band’s sophomore album, you hear a lot of the basic trance sounds more reminiscent of OZRIC TENTACLES for its laid-back, atmospheric feel than their current psychedelia, but they throw in some interesting flare to certain songs, like church bells in the title track and chimes in “Funchameleon” (which, incidentally, has a really dirty bass line for a while that is great). This is easily one of the album’s highlights, as it’s one of the more vivid and energetic tracks on the album that also has an incredibly slick and dirty bass part a minute or two in. Everything on “B.P.Empire” has a relaxed, danceable beat, easy to get into and let go of some stress; there’s definite potential to just zone out in a more stoner-y manner.
All of the songs on the album are fairly long, with the shortest two being just under 7 minutes in length and the longest finale clocking in at nearly 10½ minutes. Opener “Never Ever Land” relies heavily on a trance beat, while “Unbalanced” doesn’t immediately follow suit, showing some of the teasing variety of sounds that INFECTED MUSHROOM are so well-known for nowadays. The album balances largely between these two poles of funky psychedelic flare and techno trance beats. It’s not as diverse as more modern IM, but certainly might appeal to a different crowd than your standard “Legend of the Black Shawarma.”
Overall, while this isn’t a stand-out record in INFECTED MUSHROOM‘s outstanding discography, it does nevertheless have a special place and may be an easier album to digest for listeners who prefer more laid-back and ambient stoner music to the pure psych sound of their newer material. While many of the songs likely won’t come onto my regular playlists, this is nevertheless a worthy album to return to from time-to-time for a nice change of pace.
- Never Ever Land
- Tasty Mushroom
- Noise Maker
- Dancing with Kadafi