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Lumerians, USA

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Lumerians - s/t (EP). 2008 Subterranean Elephants (LP)
Lumerians - Transmalinnia. 2011 Knitting Factory (CD; LP)
Lumerians - Transmissions From Telos Vol. 4. 2012 Permanent (LP); 2012 Hands in the Dark (France LP)
Lumerians - Horizon Structures (EP). 2012 Knitting Factory (LP) 
Lumerians - The High Frontier. 2013 Partisan (CD; LP)
Lumerians - Transmissions From Telos Vol. III. 2014 Cardinal Fuzz (UK LP)

As I update this post in 2016, I do also own The High Frontier, but did not get notes down. Obviously I've not done a good job of keeping up with this band. They are quite active as I write this.

I have not heard all of their other releases. As you can see, they are following a new trend I've noticed recently; Recording on different formats with different labels. The Lumerians in short order have released an EP, LP, Cassette, and MP3 download. I wish they'd stick with CDs, the proven solid state medium. All the same, I may seek out the LP (which has sold out), though I'm not too keen on modern bands releasing "LP only" items. I suspect - and history bails me out here - that these tracks will show up on CD either as a full album or as bonus tracks to another future album.

----Transmalinnia

Transmalinnia is the debut full length CD debut from The Lumerians, a new-ish group from Oakland, California who recall both the late 60s UK psych scene as well as the Krautrock masters.

The rhythms are pure Krautrock motorik, straight from the Can and Neu! school. The dreamy vocals recall Barrett era Floyd, or perhaps more to the point, the early 90s neo psych of Sun Dial.  But the real highlight is the fuzzy 1960s vintage organ, which has this most wonderful thick and wedgy sound. As the music wears on, the albums goes deeper into the vortex. Pounding drums, celestial voices and the overall air of the original early 70s Kosmiche movement is upon us. The only thing missing is the cosmic blues guitar jamming of a Manuel Gottsching or Ax Genrich. Certainly the closest a modern American band has come to creating the original aura, energy and atmosphere of 1971 Germany. It avoids most of the hipster trappings, though not all of them. It is a bit too self-conscious to be authentic (not sure how one can avoid that 40 years later), but I'm very happy with this sincere effort and look forward to exploring more from the band. If you all are looking for a similar sound, then allow me to recommend Cranium Pie from England, a band that perhaps owes more to '69 Floyd than '67 Floyd meets '72 Can, but you get the idea.

----Transmissions from Telos Vol. 4

My good friend Jeff kindly gave me an LP of Transmissions from Telos Vol. 4 for Christmas. He brought both "versions" over, the French copy on Hands in the Dark, and the US original on Permanent - and asked me to pick one. I chose the US LP, for no particular reason other than I thought the French one might be rarer one day, and I wanted Jeff to keep that one. Being the eternal packaging loons that the Lumerians are, they decided to put a mirror image on the covers, so the bird faces a different way on each. The cover above is the French version, since that's all they have on RYM and I'm way too lazy to look further. Oh, the US version is on white vinyl and the French one is beige. This band loves their packaging details that's for sure.

Putting the baseball card aspect aside for a moment, what about the music? As I'd read prior, this album is indeed more loose in structure. It features 4 long jams, that are untitled. "I mean, that's such a square thing to do man... who names songs anymore? They have no meaning anyway, ya know." Side 1 contains three songs. The first is within their trademark motorik territory, recalling the Can/Neu! sound. Track 2 is really interesting, like a freakbeat 1960's track gone amok. You can just picture the Girl in the Cage dancing her brains out, with the psychedelic liquid light show flashing chaotically behind. Track 3 is the real revelation here. For the first time that I can ever recall, a band has successfully attempted the Middle Eastern psychedelic jamming of Agitation Free's "Malesch". For that alone, the album should be held in high regard. Pounding drums, hand percussion, haunting organ atmospheres, with synthesizer solos laid on top. Breathtaking. What a sublime track! Unfortunately the momentum stops on the side long track for the flip side. I can appreciate a jam with focus, but this one just meanders aimlessly with far too much noise and chaos to have any impact. Such a shame to not capitalize on the fantastic first side. Still a recommended album - just not as much as the potential suggests.

Last update: August 20, 2016

Comments

  1. Excellent album. But "Τransmissions From Telos Vol. 4" is their definite statement Tom.

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    1. Cool - I'll definitely try and seek it out Spyros!

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