"Imaginary Life " (DVD, 2006)
If ever a band deserved success based upon sheer, relentless commitment and effort, then Canadian-born Darrin Huss' Psyche project would be up there. Imaginary Life is an extraordinary compilation of videos and live performances spanning the era 1983 to 2005. There are 21 main clips, a couple of bonus tracks and one 'hidden' one that's not mentioned (for obvious 'legal' reasons once you've found it) anywhere on the package, bringing the total running time to some 148 minutes. There's even a audio commentary track featuring Darrin and brother Stephen (with who he formed the band) for every song! For fans of the band this is an absolute must-buy.
This definitive collection spans "...harsh industrial, through warm synthpop, dancefloor minimal, darkwave and beyond..." providing the perfect document of more than twenty years of evolution and experimentation. There's a versatile songwriting ability, some glorious sounding analogue synths and Darrin's voice which, as fans will know, is distinctly Marc Almond at times. For me, some of the most interesting stuff comes early on with the homemade arthouse and 'horror' videos to tracks like genuine curiousity I'm A Gentleman. This is followed immediately by the video for Unveiling The Secret, funded by French label New Rose and shot on location in Normandy; probably still the band's most professional-looking video, despite it being 20 years old! More recent tracks like Looking Glass and the band's cover of Q Lazzarus' Goodbye Horses also make an impression.
The picture (and sometimes sound) quality reflects the zero budget/homebrew nature of much of the content. However, that is hardly going to matter to anyone who has followed Darrin Huss over the last two decades. For them, this will undoubtedly be Psyche nirvana. For those less familiar, yours truly included, this still provides a fascinating overview of a career that has taken in as many electronic music sub-genres as most bands release albums. 7/10
Rob Dyer (September, 2006)
Official Psyche website: http://www.psyche-hq.de