the telescopes

Imminent via Yard Press of Italy, new happenings from the Telescopes in the shape of ‘stone tape’. The set, described by the press folk, as a concept album inspired by Thomas Charles Lethbridge’s ‘Stone Tape Theory’ – in short, the ability of an inanimate object to draw and retain extreme emotional residue – see Nigel Kneale’s ‘Quatermass’ and ‘the Stone Tape’. Comprised of six subtronic suites, ‘Stone Tape’ finds the Telescopes at their most vulnerable, most tender and most reflective. Strangely enough, whilst ever cautious to acknowledge their lengthening influence upon the spheres of drone, freeform deconstruction, space and psych, ‘Stone Tape’ viewed overall, sits on a sonic axis somewhere between fellow acolytes Flying Saucer Attack and Hood. The sounds within both insular and opaque are dulled in a bruising ache, as much as Mr Lawrie tries hard to, by and large, bury the musicality in a hanging dense dronal fog, the sounds wallow with a parched and skeletal nomadic vibe whose accent is concentrated by a primitively toned psych folk blues tongue. From the moment opener ‘become the sun’ flickers from out of the shadow light, you’re immediately aware that something moored upon the magical and majestic is afoot, a snaking mistral under whose glowering cloak an age-old mystery hides. Obscured by the swirling mosaics of archaic tablas and a tribal toning buried deep in our collective ancestry, the haunting ‘the speaking tongue’ emerges through the prehistoric fog with a curtsy nod to both Preterite and Alphane Moon and sharply contrasts with the slow prowling shimmer of ‘the desert in your heart’ whose softly mesmeric minimalism is teasingly touched with a hollowed Velveteen stateliness. At eight minutes in duration, ‘everything must be’ serves as the sets centrepiece, a linking pin to the Telescopes sound of yesterday, today and tomorrow, its fragile framing ghosted and soured by a thickening sepia haze that’s tormented in a slo mo neo classical incline whose ache crystallises with each curvature and gradual arc trembled in the haunt of memory, truly a thing of emotional unravelling that makes Cheval Sombre sound in comparison, like an upbeat speed freak. ‘silent water’ finds a lighter toning, murmured and mellowed in a softly dreamy sigh while the ominously titled ‘dead inside’ leads matters to the end groove and with that ushers all out with what sounds like a harmonium soaked earthy primitive seafaring hymnal momentarily fragmented, unhinged and gouged by the appearance of groaning sonic skronk impacts. And while it might be right to consider recent Tapete set ‘as light return’ a rediscovery of a more rudimentary notion of song structuring, ‘stone tape’ provides Lawrie and Co with their most accessible and hitherto most immersive and rewarding outing to date.

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