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Halo reach

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Not
the Sunday kind of church, but crowds can expect to be baptized in
thick waves of distorted guitar chords and hazy keyboard notes, while
rejoicing in the ever-present spirit of Jim Morrison in the room. It’s
an experience as powerful as any sermon.

“For
us, we try to make it a spiritual experience for ourselves,”
multi-instrumentalist Kyle Hunt said. “Every time we get out there, it’s
this moving, spiritual thing ... like a psychedelic church other people
can attend. We just try to move ourselves onstage, and sometimes that
moves other people.”

The
Austin, Texas-based Angels formed in 2004, but began to ignite the
resurgence of 13th Floor Elevators-style psychedelic music in 2006, when
they released their debut record, “Passover.” It came along the same
time as fellow psych revivalists Black Mountain and The Brian Jonestown
Massacre; a movement was formed.

“I
think we helped make that push, but there are a lot of really good
psychedelic bands,” Hunt said. “The whole thing was kind of happening
already, but we might have been a bit of a spark.”

Since then, the five-piece has seen the genre expand even greater, and is doing its best to keep up.

“There’s
the surf-psych sound, and the slower, minimalist stuff. Then cool,
psych-garage sound and the really throbbing stuff ... so many different
genres,” Hunt said. “Then there are those bands that try to encompass
all those sounds. We try to pull from it all.”

The Black Angels saw this international resurgence demanding an event dedicated to it, and eventually decided it was up to them.

“No one else was doing it, so we stepped in and did it ourselves,” Hunt said.

The
group held its first Austin Psych Fest in 2008, and recently held a
fourth with acts like Crocodiles, Roky Erickson and Black Moth Super
Rainbow. The band headlined the event in support of its latest effort,
2010’s “Phosphene Dream.”

“We
were able to make the songs a little more dynamic. We spent more time
really hashing through all the song ideas we had, trying to make the
best ones we could,” Hunt said. “The other records were a little crude,
written while we are out on the road and traveling. This was really the
best we could have done.”

As
proud as they are of the record, they struggle with the question of
whether the music works better via album or a live setting. Playing
Friday at ACM@ UCO Performance Lab, Oklahomans have a chance to decide
for themselves.

“I
don’t know that it works better either way. Sometimes it comes better
live, experiencing those sounds ripping right into your face, or that
crazy drumbeat going into your chest like a heartbeat. It feels great
feeling that live,” Hunt said. “Then there are things you can do on
record that you, or at least we, can’t always re-create live. There is
something a little magic about seeing psychedelic bands live, though.”

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