Beaming its sleepwalking sound from a bedroom in Brooklyn, The Tower of Light deals in the marriage of polarities on his self-titled debut album. At once delicate and severe, ecstatic then pensive, both sparse and lush, it follows a road that was paved by the early days of 4AD and its strange, beautiful diversity, while making unexpected stylistic detours as it winds its way through the ether.
Though the general mood is hypnotic and arresting in equal measure and the sonic details reveal no allegiance to any genre in particular, one consistent thread is the pairing of thoughtful melodic/harmonic counterpoints against tense, elaborate atmospherics. Imagine a catchy pop song being hijacked, slowed to a narcotic pitch, its words turned to surrealist poetry, then all of it wrapped in a warm blanket of drone. It’s these juxtapositions that consistently reveal the project’s center of gravity. “Carrier” begins as a bittersweet lament; harmonies compound until a small chorus is pining an unnamed loss, when suddenly things turn eerie; booming drums, lilting swells of unrecognizable instrumentation, panicked breaths and an atonal breakdown later, the mood is very different- more sensual, definitely more ominous- what was lost now seems buried on purpose.
Relentlessly unpredictable and effortlessly genre-defying, The Tower of Light can be difficult to pin down. And while some may read the aesthetics as more black-hole than shining sun, this is music that feels very aware that both are just different states in the same life cycle.
1. Cap Grass
2. New God
4. Glass Body
5. Honey Resist
7. The Visitor