I was first lured into the world of Millimetre by the promise of the softer edges of Bark Psychosis and the harder edges of Cocteau Twins. The album which made the claim, 2007’s ‘Obsidian’, certainly didn’t disappoint and proved to be one of the year’s most compelling and enigmatic pieces of work. ‘Discreet Cathexis’ is the only other album I’ve heard by Terence McGaughey’s project and although it retains the “compelling and enigmatic” qualities, it’s a completely different record to ‘Obsidian’, with the material drawing from the urban experience this time around.
On seeing the title ‘Way Before Caffeine’, one could expect the sound of waking up too early and it’s the aural equivalent of venturing into dense woodland, populated by ghosts, small creatures and fairy lights. Or maybe this writer just needs to drink more coffee. ‘Lux Parabola’ takes us on a warped journey through tribal drums and bird calls whilst ‘Derrida Shuts Up’ mashes up Eastern rhythms into a psychedelic stew. It’s an arresting yet somewhat confusing beginning. Further adventures follow into peaceful ambience (‘Deep End’) and then the downright eerie (the nocturnal claustrophobia of ‘Crepuscular Sweet Talk’). ‘Phantom Intercourse’ is a key track as the faded vocal samples and troubled funk create a truly hypnotic moment and the gentler, beat-driven ‘Dysarthria Chant’ and ‘Summer Fumes’ continue the mesmeric flow.
It’s possibly no coincidence that the seemingly less complex, challenging tracks (or at least those with the most consistent momentum) are the ones which linger longest in the memory. There’s no denying ‘Discreet Cathexis’ is a strange record but one which might well suck you in after the obligatory repeated plays. Then it’s more feasible to buy into McGaughey’s unique and ultimately rewarding vision.