The Telescopes — As Light Return
(Tapete TR351, 2017, CD / LP)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2017-08-25
Since 1987, Stephen Lawrie and a variety of different musicians have been performing live and recording under the name of The Telescopes. As Light Return is their ninth album, their second on Tapete Records. This changing band makeup has become part of Lawrie’s concept, varying from concert to concert and release to release. My only other exposure to The Telescopes is their 2012 7-inch Black Eyed Dog on defunct Irish indie label Trensmat Records. That EP featured a cover of Nick Drake’s song and is vastly different from the wall of noise and distortion on As Light Return. Belying the uplifting title of As Light Return, the five instrumental tracks are a dark and blistering sonic assault, just like Acid Mothers Temple at their most abstract. Lawrie has over-processed his electric guitar to produce screeching feedback and layers of distortion with interacting overtones that sound like a spongey wall of sound, which is also conveyed by the cover art. Sometimes there is a detectable rhythm and percussion track buried under the noisy sludge like on “You Can’t Reach What You Hunger” or “Something in My Brain.” On the other tracks it is as if time stands still and all you experience is an endless, merciless sonic attack. If you listen carefully, you may detect the sibilant sounds of subliminal vocals. Only on “Something in My Brain” can you actually distinguish a voice and some of the words, which I guess is the something in Lawrie’s brain. Overall the music reminds me of Canadian Aidan Baker’s project Nadja. And I guess As Light Return answers the question of what do you get when you over-process the guitar? A “Hand Full of Ashes” or a “Handful of Ashes,” tracks 3 and 5. While not an engaging disc, this music requires a discerning palate to fully appreciate.
Related artist(s): The Telescopes
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more