Peaking Lights : 936
From where I stand, psychedelic music is rampant at the moment. Electronic dance music is, as always, a bastion of trips, whether we are talking about house, techno, electro, bass music, or often more interestingly, that space between them being conjured; the underground, tape circulating, synthesizer enamored, drone-summoning, smoked-out space-out contingent is bubbling through the surface all over the place; a lot of hip hop beats seem aimed squarely at paranoid mind-warp or ecstatic star-splattered rush; and heavy, improvisational rock narcosis channeling the other side has spilt more than a dram of shadowy dreamlands out into the world in the past few years. And that is hardly a comprehensive account.
Without doubt there is something enticingly druggy about the music released on Not Not Fun and, more recently, on its dance offshoot, 100% Silk. Druggy not in the sense that you need drugs to appreciate it (though it surely won’t hurt), but because it makes you feel altered, off, wonderful, askew, heavy, light, untimely, or maybe even a king of infinite space. And king (or queen) among the records the Los Angeles imprint has sent out into the world so far is Peaking Lights‘ 936, a psychedelic transmission of intuitively spliced musical DNA.
The temptation may be then to try to parse out all the strands of influence weaving and unweaving themselves together and apart throughout the record. And the married duo of Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis no doubt have some pretty interesting influences, as anyone who has listened to one or many of the mixes they have pieced together in the past year will have noticed: dub, Ethio pop, soul, disco, exotic psychedelic and pop, pop and psychedelic exotica. The dub influence is the hardest to miss, given the heavily hypnotic, distorted and very low bass-lines that assume pride of position in “Tiger Eyes (Laid Back),” “All the Sun that Shines,” or “Birds of Paradise Dub Version,” and the swirling, only slightly hinged effects that make each track a depth in which to misplace oneself.
But in the end the personal stamp of this record is too idiosyncratic and absorbing to really give you much of a desire to describe it by way of the past without which it would not exist. Listening is too much of a pleasure, bodily and aural, to want to go too far in diluting it by explaining it. It is much better to simply perform a becoming-woman via Audrey-Horne-slow-motion-dancing in private or public or wherever you are fortunate enough to hear 936.
Dunkelziffer – Dunkelziffer III
Mariah – Utakata No Hibi
The Raincoats – Odyshape
Stream: Peaking Lights – “All The Sun That Shines”