FOR MED IN 2009, FINLAND’S Permanent Clear Light actually sets its musical sights four decades backwards, to the sonic and conceptual madness that was the psychedelic era. Staying true to the technology of the time, the band recently released a 7" colored vinyl single, “Higher Than the Sun” b/w “Afterwards” (a cover of a Van Der Graaf Generator song from 1969’s The AerosolGrey Machine) on Fruits de Mer Records.
“I first became interested in psychedelia when I heard the Beatles’ Revolver in 1966,” explains PCL guitarist Markku Helin. “In particular, the tracks ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ showed me that something strange and very interesting was happening in music. But my all-time favorite track to this day remains Pink Floyd’s ‘See Emily Play.’ I think ‘Emily’ was—together with ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’—the culmination of psychedelia.”
To craft his psychedelic guitar vistas on “Higher Than the Sun,” Helin employed a Squier Stratocaster, a PRS SE EG, and a Boss ME-50 multieffects pedal plugged straight into a Boss BR-600 digital multitrack recorder. Co-guitarist Arto Kakko used a 1966 Hofner semi-acoustic (armed with a Kent Armstrong Burns Tri-Sonic pickup in the neck position and a Gretsch Filter’Tron in the bridge), a Bugera V5 amp, and a Boss FBM-1 Fender ’59 Bassman pedal. For the slide parts, Kakko put on a Diamond Bottlenecks Redhouse.
“All three members of PCL live in different cities, so we only can arrange rehearsal and recording sessions once a year in my parents’ country house,” says Helin. “The rest of the year, we work in our home studios. My only interest is to make psychedelic music, and I’m very particular about what each of our tracks sound like. Arto and I spend hours on the phone discussing the mixes, the tones of each instrument, how the vocals should sound, which effects we should use, and so on. Usually, each song sort of makes itself, but we always discuss the final atmosphere very carefully so that it fits in with the lyrics. We usually want our tracks to sound otherworldly.”