Jem Doulton – Suddenly You’re In The Sahara | Psychedelia
If only the sixties and the seventies happened today, the music would have so many more multivarious branches to reach out to, with the modern technology and assistance from computers. Lucky for us, London-based musician Jem Doulton is bringing back some of the lounge psychedelia soundscapes that came out of that era, as he refurnishes his discography with his latest addition Suddenly You’re In The Sahara.
As Kafakesque as the name of the track is, Doulton manages to string together a hauntingly immersive near three-minute sonic transit, characteristically delving into the genres of psychedelia, psychedelic lounge pop, psychedelic folk and brief instances of psychedelic trance. From the very get-go, the track is characterised by a very Beatlesque Magical Mystery Tour instrumentation and effects, with synth and electronic elements pulsating and hovering in the track’s background — almost as if real-life entities.
The most immersive (and certainly the most definitive) element of the track becomes the Arabic pop-rock riff that travels across the track from the middle of the first minute, putting the listeners in a near trance-like state where they get sucked into Doulton’s sonic cavity.
Suddenly You’re In The Sahara flashes in our ears long after the song has ceased, portraying itself as a soundtrack straight out of absurdist cinema along the likes of Welles.
We chatted with Doulton about his track and his music. Here is how that went:
Congratulations on the new track! How would you describe the track to someone who is new to your project?
Hi there and thank you!! “Suddenly You’re In The Sahara” is the first of the instrumentals, which aims to continue the dreamlike musical landscape projected throughout the series. Two different sides to one story in a sense, both whimsical and on edge, not knowing how, why or where; the idea encapsulated in a title conjured up by Rachel Kenedy who’s playing the bass. Also if you want to hear great clarinet playing from my long term compadre Alex Ward from a band called Dead Days Beyond Help, this is a track to do so with.
What were the motivations behind the track, if any?
The ebb and flow and sequencing of an album is always an important element and even though I’m releasing this album as a sort of serialisation (one track at a time monthly), it is still an album and so this is one part of the journey, puzzle or whole.
We noticed a fair share of early 70s psychedelia with a hint of trance music. Are there any particular artists whose work influenced this process?
Over the time I’ve been playing and listening to music, there will be loads of influences for sure, too many to mention but given his input to the whole album and the fact I have played in his band The Oscillation for approximately 4 years previous to lockdown, Dem Castellanos who mixed it all and who I co-produced the whole thing with is definitely up there and recently relevant!
Five singles now to your name, all released very subsequently just this year. Is this a hint at a possible EP or a full-length album?
Yep! I guess I gave the game away with my previous answers! It’ll be 12 tunes in total with the last song released at the end of March 2022 (all last Fridays). I aim to make a vinyl to coincide with that date, or close to that date. It may have to shrink in size and scope in that it might have to become a single album but the process is an open one, ideas keep revealing themselves so I guess we’ll see how it pans out.
Have you noticed a sense of decadence in the genre of music that you make? Noticeably, the sound died down around the turn of the eighties but sprouted up here and there. How do you think this soundscape fits in with today’s crowd?
In some ways psychedelia is the epitome of decadence, maybe we’ve hit a new 1920s, maybe not, certainly people are predicting a new version of that post-covid. Although the pragmatism of punk almost deleted and ridiculed the psychedelia of the 70s, I guess as you say, things die hard and especially a genre that had good elements to it. Once the newness of the new also dies down, things connect and/or collide to create new news with all those elements readily influencing. As for fitting into today’s crowd, digital culture/capitalism has atomised people’s listening habits so hopefully it will find its place within this .