Psychedelic Ship Album Art
The psychedelic is a concept the name of which is derived from the Ancient Greek words psychē (ψυχή, “soul”) and dēloun (δηλοῦν, “to make visible, to reveal”), translating to “mind-revealing”.
Related phenomena include:
- Psychedelic drug (also known as a psychedelic substance or simply a psychedelic), a psychoactive drug whose primary action is to alter cognition and perception; well known psychedelics include LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline and DMT, while drugs such as cannabis and MDMA are also sometimes considered psychedelics
- Psychedelic experience, a temporary altered state of consciousness induced by the consumption of psychedelic drugs
- Psychedelic art, art inspired by the psychedelic experience
- Psychedelia, a subculture surrounding the psychedelic experience, based on appreciation of psychedelic art and the use of psychedelic drugs
- Psychedelic music, popular music influenced by psychedelia, aiming to replicate or enhance the psychedelic experience
- Psychedelic rock, originating in the mid-1960s
- Psychedelic pop, originating in the mid-1960s
- Psychedelic soul, originating in the late 1960s
- Psychedelic funk, originating in the late 1960s
- Psychedelic folk, originating in the late 1960s and early 1970s
- Psychedelic trance (also known as psytrance or simply psy), originating in the late 1990s
- Psychedelic era, a time of social, musical and artistic change related to psychedelia (from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s)
- Psychedelic literature, literature related to psychedelic drugs and the psychedelic experience
- Psychedelic film, a film genre influenced by psychedelia and the psychedelic experience
- Psychedelic therapy, therapeutic practices involving the use of psychedelic drugs, primarily to assist psychotherapy
“Psychedelic” as an adjective is often misused, with many so-called acts playing in a variety of styles. Acknowledging this, author Michael Hicks explains:
To understand what makes music stylistically “psychedelic,” one should consider three fundamental effects of LSD: dechronicization, depersonalization, and dynamization. Dechronicization permits the drug user to move outside of conventional perceptions of time. Depersonalization allows the user to lose the self and gain an “awareness of undifferentiated unity.” Dynamization, as [Timothy] Leary wrote, makes everything from floors to lamps seem to bends, as “familiar forms dissolve into moving, dancing structures” … Music that is truly “psychedelic” mimics these three effects.A number of features are quintessential to psychedelic music. Exotic instrumentation, with a particular fondness for Indian classical instruments such as the sitar and tabla, are common, as well as unique sounds and rhythms from Eastern music, specifically Indian music and Middle-Eastern music, as well as free-form jazz and surf music. Songs often have more disjunctive song structures, keyand time signature changes, modal melodies, and drones than contemporary pop music. Surreal, whimsical, esoterically or literary-inspired, lyrics are often used. There is often a strong emphasis on extended instrumental segments or jams. There is a strong keyboard presence, in the 1960s especially, using electronic organs, harpsichords, or the Mellotron, an early tape-driven ‘sampler’ keyboard.
Elaborate studio effects are often used, such as backwards tapes, panning the music from one side to another of the stereo track, using the “swooshing” sound of electronic phasing, long delay loops, and extreme reverb. In the 1960s there was a use of electronic instruments such as early synthesizers and the theremin. Later forms of electronic psychedelia also employed repetitive computer-generated beats.