Lo Recordings pick up where their near-devotional “deep listening” compilation, Spaciousness 2, left off, with a trio of tape releases, tied together under the moniker of New Maps Of Inner Space. Three volumes intended to soundtrack your “happy place”. Sublime, serene scores for yoga matts, salt-water flotation tanks, and imagined idyllic islands, deserted dream shores. While recorded with sincerity, and executed superbly, there are also hints at a much needed sense of humour, with the press one-sheet quoting both the ancient Tantric Siddha, Tilopa, and `50s “celebrity” alleged alien abductee and proto-new-ager, Dana “She Came From Venus” Howard.
Volume One, Voice Of Space, is a collaboration between label founder, Jon “Ocean Moon” Tye, and Telepalmiste`s Mark O Pilkington. Split into two side-long voyages, the first begins with a crash of cosmic surf. Wave after wave, like a storm at sea, this tempest slowly subsiding into synthesized calm – signifying perhaps the tune tearing free of Earth’s gravity, the pull and the roar. Floating, flying, weightless. Healing harmonies imparting an intense inner glow, while fierce phasing summons the song of something celestial / extra-terrestrial – like giggle guru Iasos attempting to recreate that final flight toward the great white light. Providing comfort on a deep dive within. Exploring an internal Eden, it`s effect akin to electronic ecstasy, musical MDMA. Like the drug, making you feel good about yourself, and consequently, making you feel good about others. Voyage Two is also showered in sonic spray, although the ambience is initially unnerving, edgy. Sine waves bend slightly sinister. Bells and gongs toll. Denoting drama, rather than a signal to relax. Not dark exactly, but foreboding for sure. Their chiming increasing until they resemble a collection of clocks at midnight. There’s a subliminal scurrying backwards, and then time seems to stand still. The familiar is stretched, strange, into the not so. Like a “Drink Me” drop down Alice’s rabbit hole, or a moment of confusion, confounded in a hall of microdot mirrors. This lysergic fever, however, breaking before peaking, and returning once again to paradise greens, chattering fauna, and fresh flowing streams, the air of safe, enchanted environs*. Aurally leading listeners through anxiety, and out the other side. Spiritual`s not the right word – well not unless you actually worship synths – but it certainly supplies room to breath. Clearing to a temple-like tranquility, once the worry, and threatening clouds, evaporate.
Volume Two, Journey To Onarimon, is a joint effort between Jon and Californian Sam Grawe – aka Hatchback. It might sound like an interstellar warp-drive jaunt, out past Arcturus, but the composition / improvisation takes its title from a district in Tokyo, located around The Imperial Palace (the kanji literally mean “the shogun / emperor / king`s arrival gate”). While “engaged” though you’d be forgiven for thinking that the metropolis was a mysterious galaxy far far away. This opus opens with woodwinds and gently shaken percussion, woven around droning kosmische contortions. Tye and Grawe translating the twisting ohms into an epic electronic OM. Buzzing like a field, alive in high summer – the poetry of pollen-gatherers – painting a hymn-like haven with its organic pulse. Harnessing the hum of the Earth’s intrinsic energy. Converting the listener into a conductor, conduit, between it and the Sun. Simple guitar treatments, meditations on the million microtonal variations that surround a single note, give glimpses of gardens bordered, guarded, only by the great horizon. Plugging into the eternal infinite, and feelings, sensations, of peace. Wind chimes rattle, amongst arcs of recharging resonance. Flickering, stroboscope, and triggering memories – magic lantern illuminations, illusions, of old faces, and friends – like a dusty Super 8 home-movie played in reverse.
Greek glam / psyche rocker, Jonathan James Mark “Pop” Levi produces Volume Three, which arrives as cassette-ready edits of four originally hour-long pieces, and its certainly a huge departure from his better known work. Feet Of The Goddess is a sustained, ringing, shimmer. Where fanfare-like winds blow amidst fluttering folk melodies and ethereal eruptions of distant, disembodied, voices. The surging sequences of Invisible Playground are squeezed into reed-like runs, while muted tones bump like busy molecules in the background. The track`s sizable sonorous baffled bass explosions countered by their Brownian rushing. These synergistic vibrations expanding into a wild, wired “wow” of wonder, in tune with Edgar Froese & Co.`s Zeit, and The Universe. Rapt, in awe of its power, understanding aware of each entity, each element`s importance in the larger whole – including its own. Potentially curing the curse of a mind that separates. The All-Loving Touch Machine is a rhythmic river of overlapping beatless repeats. A symphony of the spheres, and super-restrained circuitry. Fizzing, frayed, gated frequencies fill Interskin Exquisite. It`s interrupted organ drones forming a processed and filtered psychedelic reel. Changing your chakra channels to different dimensions. Punching your trip ticket.
These “long-form” listens could all be classified as “minimal recordings”, since not much, minute by minute, appears to happen, but a deeper dedication to them reveals ever-evolving beautiful beasts**. Music that also has the ability to evolve, alter, resolve troubled states of mind. Effectively damn useful distraction diffusers, disinformation disrupters, allowing those imbibing, digesting, to dump and delete that potentially damaging, often disingenuous day-to-day data that we all accumulate. Musically, momentarily, cleaning, cleansing, the slate***.
*I can hear echoes of Mystic Institute`s classic Ob-Selon Mi-Nos – as repainted By Global Communication – in the bottom end.
**I`m saying “deep listening” because that’s what’s required to pen a review, but I’m pretty sure that these New Maps Of Inner Space would work equally well as “proper, true, ambient” BGM.
***Be warned, clarity of thought doesn’t always bring feelings of universal peace and love.