Lumerians - Transmalinnia
By: Rob Gannon
Even though it’s taken three years since their debut EP, California-based stoners Lumerians have timed its long-playing follow-up Transmalinnia just right.
The stock of psychonaut pioneers Wooden Shjips has never been higher – their equally beguiling spin-off Moon Duo now also rightly find themselves caught in the flow too. And, with Zeroes QC, Suuns, albeit only in places, have recently reignited interest in the sort of rattling, oddball motorik that Clinic once put to such good use (if, that is, it indeed every faded from certain segments of the public conscious).
Lumerians finds their niche between these themes, very much making the space their own however thanks to industrial overtones, vintage organ abuse and downright danceable grooves. A case in point, the strong opener “Burning Mirror” runs with kraut-rock repeats, spinning them out with organ drone and androgynous vocals. Urgent, funky, and always capable and willing to ramp it all up a gear, it should come as surprise to no one that a band that takes its album name and artwork from the notorious outsider artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein also peddle in psych-disco.
The same, fuzzy beat and organ then prop up “Black Tusk” introducing them during its course to tribal percussion, as well as frayed keyboard and synth lines. Latterly, between the vocals, it all descends into eerie, carnival-esque swirls that segue nicely into the instrumental “XuluX”. With a more industrial, yet clean bent, it’s comprised in turn of unpredictable, echoing keys that decay into moribund electronics, slow-pace, low-volume psyche bedding and a hypnotic, high-pitch synth-line.
Gently drifting like a timeworn Silver Apples cut, “Atlanta Brook” partners the calm lapping of “Melting Space” well. With something of the interlude to it, it’s essentially lounge/elevator, mood muzak for those, as its title suggests, with melted minds. The subsequent “Calalini Rises” is borne of a similar idea, differentiating itself with buzzing echoes, distant shrieking and a more pronounced drum rig that all contribute to a building in concept and atmosphere that eventually envelop the listener with uncomfortable density and menace.
Acting as a shadow to Transmalinnia‘s more straightforward openers, “Hashshashin” isn’t just about killer weed and speech impediments. Deliciously dark, it becomes almost joyous out of nowhere as a wildcard synth-line breaks free, running amok towards its climax. With an industrial footprint, “Longwave” plods through fuzzy low-notes for its first two minutes as the feel goes a little Spaceman 3. Prevented from flying away on total fantasy by rocks in its pockets, the tracks sinks into some blackened, river-bottom ooze as it then devolves into a shuffling seven-minute outro filled with rattling chains, wind-chimes and straight-up drone.
Like surfacing out of hypnosis, “Gaussian Castles” finally lifts Transmalinnia from its deep meditation, closing the album with a more linear exercise in vocal-led dreamscaping.
It’s been a long-time coming, but Transmalinnia never feels rushed as a result. It’s patient psyche that runs the genre’s entire gamut with ease. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes bleak, it has poise and intrigue, depth and breadth. It’s time, it would appear, to welcome these outsiders in.
Advised downloads: “Burning Mirror” and “Black Tusk”.
Transmalinnia is out now on Knitting Factory.