To put it simply, “A World of Masks” is a sonic journey through the metaphysical. The album evokes intimately and wholly the minds of the musicians who created it. There are 11 tracks that act as a window peering out to a shifting, desert landscape envisioned by a psychedelic hive mind. Each musician shapes, molds, and grows this shared ethereal experience and invites the listener along as if you’re all on the same acid trip.
The album opens with “Made of the Sun,” a track that accurately sets the tone for the rest of the listener’s journey down the rabbit hole. The Heliocentrics’ newest addition—vocalist Barbora Patkova—echoes Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick and acts as your trip guide through what will prove to be very recognizable as a Heliocentrics album. The vocals are a welcome addition to the ever-changing family of Afro-funk, jazz, and psych rock musicians, and act as reprieve from some audio imageries that can at times border on eerie and unsettling. Patkova’s voice pulls the listener back to a semblance of reality as it often echoes above a droning, driving, band of middle-eastern infused sound collages.
Tonally, the album seems to create a tide of its own; pushing and pulling your attention back and forth between intense psychedelia and funk-driven drum & bass. Throughout every song, Heliocentrics co-founder and drummer, Malcolm Catto, adds a swagger and style with his drumming that could easily put his name amongst the ranks of some of the most musical drummers of all time. He adds flare and phrasing to standard jazz and funk beats until they eventually evolve into intricate breakbeat rhythms that move the album forward in time and space.
The desire to close your eyes, lie down, and tap your foot simultaneously does not seem far from the intended reaction of a full listen. With “A World of Masks,” The Heliocentrics add a very human groove to what will undoubtedly paint a Salvador Dali dreamscape behind the eyelids.