Exposé Online banner

The Telescopes — As Light Return
(Tapete TR351, 2017, CD / LP)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2017-08-25

As Light Return Cover art

Since 1987, Stephen Lawrie and a variety of different musicians have been performing live and recording under the name of The Telescopes. As Light Return is their ninth album, their second on Tapete Records. This changing band makeup has become part of Lawrie’s concept, varying from concert to concert and release to release. My only other exposure to The Telescopes is their 2012 7-inch Black Eyed Dog on defunct Irish indie label Trensmat Records. That EP featured a cover of Nick Drake’s song and is vastly different from the wall of noise and distortion on As Light Return. Belying the uplifting title of As Light Return, the five instrumental tracks are a dark and blistering sonic assault, just like Acid Mothers Temple at their most abstract. Lawrie has over-processed his electric guitar to produce screeching feedback and layers of distortion with interacting overtones that sound like a spongey wall of sound, which is also conveyed by the cover art. Sometimes there is a detectable rhythm and percussion track buried under the noisy sludge like on “You Can’t Reach What You Hunger” or “Something in My Brain.” On the other tracks it is as if time stands still and all you experience is an endless, merciless sonic attack. If you listen carefully, you may detect the sibilant sounds of subliminal vocals. Only on “Something in My Brain” can you actually distinguish a voice and some of the words, which I guess is the something in Lawrie’s brain. Overall the music reminds me of Canadian Aidan Baker’s project Nadja. And I guess As Light Return answers the question of what do you get when you over-process the guitar? A “Hand Full of Ashes” or a “Handful of Ashes,” tracks 3 and 5. While not an engaging disc, this music requires a discerning palate to fully appreciate.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): The Telescopes

Latest news

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Frogg Café - The Safenzee Diaries – First things first. This is one of the absolute best sounding live albums this writer has heard, made even more surprising because nearly every track across the 2CD set was recorded at a different...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues