Lamp of the Universe - "Echo in Light"
(Cranium Music 2002, CRM008)
From Aural Innovations #20 (July 2002)
Last year's Lamp of the Universe album, Cosmic Union was certainly one of the highlights of 2001's releases, and Echo in Light is easily shaping up to check in very high on my top 10 list of 2002. Craig Williamson, the bassist for New Zealand's Datura, plays the kind of music you might imagine hearing while laying on your back in some far away garden, surrounded by exotic birds and flowers, as you gaze up at the celestial skies.
Each song has it's own distinct, trippy vibe, but they all flow together with amazing ease. Freedom to Godliness is a lovely acoustic raga, featuring a strong melody sung in Williamson's typically blissed out, smiling voice. The Eastern inspired Resonance is literally drenched in sitars. Our Celestial Flow features some of the deepest wah-wahed guitar I've ever heard, coupled with waves of trippy organ and a graceful, fluid rhythm pounded out on the skins for over 10 minutes; definitely the best track on the album! I also enjoyed the pretty, medieval sounding Love, with it's deeply reverbed vocals and high, haunting flute-like accompaniment. Pyramids of Sun returns to the Eastern vibe of Resonance, but combines it with swirling, bubbling liquid synth effects and tambourine rhythms. Totally cosmic!
I remember thinking when I heard Cosmic Union, that, as great an album as it is, it would have been nice to hear at least one instrumental track on it. Well, Williamson not only gives us that instrumental track on Echo in Light, he gives us 17 blissful minutes of it! Psychedelic, bluesy guitar swirls around mystical piano, trancey drumming, and spacey effects in a dazzling, cosmically mellow jam that will have you floating away on gentle waves into the starry night.
Burn some patchouli incense, lay back, and let your mind and soul wander.
Williamson has his own Lamp of the Universe web page at: http://www.geocities.com/lotusof1000petals/lampoftheuniverse.html.
Echo in Light is distributed by Cranium Music. You can visit their web site at: http://www.cranium.co.nz.
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald