The collaborative duo of Erol Alkan and Richard Norris worked together extensively as self-styled "part-folk astronauts, part-electronic neo-romancers" under the moniker of Beyond the Wizards Sleeve. In contrast to their output as individuals, and Richard Norris' work as part of the Grid, Beyond the Wizards Sleeve served as an outlet for their interest in psychedelic rock music. It was initially an anonymous project that could co-exist with their individual careers, but the secret didn't stick and the pair had to come clean.
Formed in 2007 after the pair crossed paths several times on the club circuit, and then finding themselves both as guests on the same radio show, they soon discovered a shared love of psychedelia. Their first EP, Birth, arrived in 2005 and was a collection of cut-ups and re-edits of tracks by the Monkees, Turkish psych-rock group 3 Hürel, and the Hollies. The duo specifically chose to re-work tracks that had a hard left-right stereo pan in order to split the original into bass and drums on one channel, and the guitars and vocals on another, therefore obtaining a relatively clean foundation to rebuild as they wished. Their follow-up EP, 2006's Spring, featured a similar treatment of tracks by the Rolling Stones, Illés, and Rescue Co. No. 1. Two more EPs would follow, George and West, both in 2007, before all four EPs were put together on the 2008 compilation Ark 1. Meanwhile, the pair had been consistently in-demand as remixers for more contemporary artists, and a compilation of these "reanimations," as they described them, surfaced in 2009.
Re-Animations, Vol. 1 featured their take on tracks by the Chemical Brothers, Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp, Midlake, and Simian Mobile Disco, amongst others.
Beyond the Wizards Sleeve weren't only about remixes and re-edits, however. After a brief hiatus, 2012 saw the release of some of their own original music on a vinyl-only single titled Black Noise/Door to Tomorrow. Very well received, the single sold out almost immediately. Their next venture was an ambitious one, choosing to remix the entirety of English psychedelic rock outfit Temples' 2014 debut album Sun Structures. More original music would follow, but not until spring 2016. A full-length album, The Soft Bounce, boasted a healthy dose of guest artists, including Mystery Jets' Blaine Harrison, Euros Childs of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, and Jane Weaver. ~ Simon Spreyer