This intoxicating 75-minute collection of music is the 13th release from the Dutch label, Lullabies For Insomniacs. The Amsterdam based label has fully embraced wild sonic experimentalism at the heart of each release. Ultra-strange atmospherics by László Hortobágyi, twisted mutant electronica by Yasuo Sugibayashi and gorgeously lush psychedelia from Tarotplane being just a few of the gems they’ve unlocked so far.
This new release continues a tradition of strangeness. And The Light Beams Will Guide The Way is a grouping of two related projects. The first 7 tracks are by Unearth Noise while the last 6 tracks are a collaboration between Unearth Noise with the vocalist Myrh under the name of Dreamspeak.
Unearth Noise’s previous release – Prayer and Resonance (2016) and this latest release zone in on and explore further a fertile pocket of transportive electronica, ambience and texture. In the broadest sense, this grows out of Jon Hassell’s idea of ‘Forth World’ – lifting traditional music from around the world and blending it with western forms and modern electronics. The result form a sort of homogenised folk melting pot.
Taken as a whole, this music guides the listener from gentle ambience to fully transformative rhythmic trance. Unearth Noise is the project of Roger Berkowitz and grows out of his ongoing fascination with folk and rock elements. His early passion for Ravi Shankar melted into a hallucinogenic blurring of electronic, Arabic and Asian forms. The first disc slowly plots a heady journey through atmospheric loops and texture.
The Path opens up the whole journey in a lysergic fog of whirring sitars. Inhabitants expands out of what feels like a tiny shard of a vocal sample, softly growing and reverberating into a huge drifting cloud that forms into atoms of buzzing electricity. Offering Bowl creates a twisting, gently flanged, snaking ribbon of sound.
The Inner Truth shuffles through grid after grid of neon tingled percussion. The vocal, little more than a textural element in an unfamiliar language is a shadowy presence buried in the mix. Epiphany floats like a transmission from deep space and Nasha feels like a weird ceremony in a dream.
It’s clear that the cumulative effect here is hugely and pleasantly disorientating. By the time a sonic clarity is introduced with Color Be Bright, the shock of actual words sung in English comes as a tickle to the ear. I was somehow very happy that the voice was bizarrely spotlighting the Cypriot cheese ‘halloumi’ rather than the much more obvious words ‘color be’. This shift towards a slightly more earth-bound trajectory has a strangely mind-warping effect.
The gentle drum and guitar of Open Door almost feels like an early pysch groove by Fleetwood Mac accompanied by tugging abstracted space whispers. The music moves around and plots a path that’s never quite anticipated.
As you’d expect with an album of this scale and ambition, there is a focal point – the summit of the mountain – and as the 3-dimensional crystal percussion tinkles against your brain Turn Around is it. A frankly stunning metronomic groove that feels like a distillation of everything Amon Duul I ever achieved but folded into a space lasting a spectacularly succinct five and a half minutes.
I’ll Be Soon takes things even further as rhythmic elements grow out of an almost gospel tinged grid. The closer, God And Devil offers perhaps the biggest curve ball of all – a melting pot of break beats and loops.
Taken literally, And The Light Beams Will Guide The Way is a journey from pure texture into more closely knitted musical forms. It’s clear that as the sonic material that makes up this album becomes more chopped, and the elements become more clipped, the rhythmic elements become ever more pronounced. This vast collection is a journey towards form, from expansiveness towards density.
And The Light Beams Will Guide The Way effects an amazingly weird trick -simultaneously being a suite of similarity and at the same time, being all over the place. Amazing.
And The Light Beams Will Guide The Way is released on 31st August and is available to pre-order from here