Lionel (Vinyl) Williams is only 22 years old and he’s already well on his way to becoming a successful multi-disciplinary artist. Lemniscate is the first full length album that he has produced but he’s already developed a underground cult following in not only his music but his collage art as well, all of this and he hasn’t even graduated from Art School yet.Lemniscate is a psychedelic, space pop album that seems to be the grandchild of John Maus. In real life he’s actually the grandchild of composer John Williams, and comes from a long line of musicians in his family that also includes his uncle Joseph Williams, the lead singer of Toto. Lemniscate is also a algebraic geometric term that describes figure 8 curves, but also could be the young artier Williams contributing a take on his musical family contributing in varying capacities into a symmetrical musical shape.
The first track “Tokyo à Sumatra” will immediately recount memories of mature Ariel Pink track, but as the album slips into “Higher Worlds” we see that ethereal sound evolve more coherently into a sound more akin to Radiohead. “Stellarscope” continues with warm bass riffs creating the backdrop to a very light sounding space scape that seems to be evoking images of spirituality. “Who Are You” delights with a neat opening sample of a xylophone before slipping into more mellower rhythms that continues right on into “Grassy” which really turns the far away vocals to the forefront with the slower beat. Williams is drawing from a few different sources of inspiration here but he’s clearly got a vision and seems to be executing it well as “Object of the Source” brings another riff into play. 7 songs in, “Inner Space” doesn’t sound like it’s too off the beaten path Williams has laid, but now the listener is treated to a culmination of all the foundations he has laid out so far, it even hints at things getting a little heavier at the end. “Open Your Mind” is the most basic sounding track of the album, but gives the album some negative space to digest everything. “Follow In Your Dreams” wraps it all up with the longest track at 7 minutes, but also one that brings the beat to a sunnier upbeat tone, before it switches halfway through as it builds to a heavy climax. It’s an exciting end to an album that feels simple, but varied and full and bright which of course is embodied by the album cover art that he no doubt designed.
Lemniscate is an album born out of a new young generation that have decades of musical history to work from, so what used to be avant-garde and experimental is now becoming a very accepted form of new musical expression. Williams clearly has the musical genes, but if it sounds like he’s gone further off the standard musical path his family has laid, you can hear through this album a young artist that is just beginning to embark on his journey. Where that journey will take him is open to many paths at this point with his hand in several bags, but if it’s the auditory he’s after, he’s off to a good start.
– Michael Unger