Oakland outfit Lumerians are a prodigious force in the extra-terrestrial realms of experimental rock music. Since forming in San Francisco back in 2006, the band have traversed their way through multiple different genres – offering mind-bending adventures into everything from space-rock, kraut and noise to zamrock, free jazz, drone and dub. Drawing from a range of influences, both familiar and esoteric, past and present, Lumerians conjure up sounds from far into the future.
In their twelve years as a band they’ve toured extensively and have put out a number of critically-acclaimed releases including two ‘official’ albums and two collections of improvised compositions called Transmission from Tellos III & IV. After a quiet few years, last week they released Call of the Void on London’s Fuzz Club. The LP is dedicated to the memory of Barrett Clark, the band’s long-time friend, sound engineer and collaborator who passed away in the tragic Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland 2016.
It may have taken the band four long years to put their latest album together but it was definitely worth the wait – their exploratory soundscapes sounding better than ever and offering further proof, if you needed it at this point, that Lumerians are a singular force in contemporary psychedelia. Talking about how the new album fits into their discography, vocalist Jason Miller explains: “If ‘Transmalinnia’ represented the exploration of an alien world and ‘The High Frontier’ a voyage through space, ‘Call of the Void’ is a penetrative exploration of Earth through an alien gaze gone native – the weight of gravity, the build-up of pollution and sediment, experiences of ecstatic revelry and tragedy.”
In their twelve years as a band the core founding members of Lumerians, Chris Musgrave (Drums/Percussion), Jason Miller (Vocals, Synth, Organ, Guitar), Marc Melzer (Vocals, Bass, Synth), and Tyler Green (Guitar, Synth, Keys) have remained a uniquely collaborative team of sonic explorers. Over the years, additional collaborators have included Luis Vasquez (The Soft Moon) and Tony Peluso.
Opening we have the provocatively named ‘Fuck All Y’All’, a seven-minute instrumental number that builds as it repeats, altering layers with each revolution and changing slightly constantly. From there we move into lead track ‘Silver Trash’, a monster space rock number that continues the theme started by its predecessor but adds complex, effected guitar riffs and delayed vocals which reverberate hauntingly. ‘Space Curse’ doesn’t leave much to the imagination with a title like that, it does however fully oblige, with trippy synth melodies, an other-worldly vocal style all underlaid by a foot-tappingly catchy beat whilst ‘Signal’ feels very much like their message to anyone else who may be listening in the vastness of space…
‘Fictional’ is somewhat different, with a more harmonious feel from the offset, with added ethereal female vocals and atonal synth noise that keeps things firmly amongst the space rock category. Half way through we move into the realms of what could be carnival sounds, experimenting with noises whilst the motorik beat drives the track throughout. ‘Masters’ features a different vocal style which harps back to previous album The High Frontier, it forms a nice link between old and new whilst being significantly different enough. ‘Ghost’ lives up to its name with a haunting synth pattern that’s reputation is more than a little unsettling. The musical complexitity is at such a level that it sounds simple, but when you isolate the sounds there is clearly a lot more than meets the eye going on. Concluding ‘Clock Spell’ continues with the eerie countenance created whilst adding lashings of fuzz, a good dose of delay and a smattering of kosmiche noise.
Call of the Void unashamedly takes the listener on a journey through time and space, pushing the boundaries and experimentally questioning parameters. The only question that remains is has the listener come out the same at the other end..?