"As Light Return" is The Telescopes' second album for Hamburg label Tapete Records following the release of "Hidden Fields" in 2015 and the ninth in total.
Oscillations of guitar feedback and thick layers of distortion with buried vocals. All in all it might make for a difficult listen but that is not the case at all, although it does make reviewing it slightly more tricky.
Once you have adjusted your ears and settled in to listen properly (a must do for this record), it soon becomes a thing of beauty. There is so much noise it is a job to know where to put your ears but eventually you do notice subtle changes and are able to pick out seemingly infinite different sounds. Shapes and textures might be a better way of putting it.
Stephen Lawrie himself describes it as "a listening experience reaching beyond the realm of natural vision". Like its predecessor, the album sets a course between song based noise structures and freeform impressionism. Not unlike "Hidden Fields", SL says that The Telescopes house has many rooms and this album takes a peek inside everyone. The subject matter is perhaps a little darker on this one and song titles such as "Hand Full Of Ashes" would seem to confirm that.
Also, the album does seem to get deeper and darker as it progresses. Each track (more or less) getting progressively longer, culminating in the 14 minute closer "Handful Of Ashes". It is relentless and yet soothing at the same time. There are clear similarities between The Telescopes and Loop, not least because they are essentially the work of one man utilising a revolving cast of musicians.
Opener "You Can't Reach What You Hunger" falls into the song category. Imagine a world in which all singles sounded like this! "Down On Me" floats free, untethered by drums and by "Hand Full Of Ashes" and "Something In My Brain" we are pushing the eight minute mark and completely luxuriating in this cavernous sound. The later of these two is extremely heavy and moon howlingly good.
Which just leaves "Handful Of Ashes" and I simply don't have the words or energy left to describe its immensity. This album makes the perfect companion piece to "Hidden Fields" and if you haven't already, I suggest you get both and hunker down.