Lumerians announced the news a little while back that they will release their new album titled The High Frontier on June 10 through Partisan Records. The name for the album comes from a term coined by Gerard K. O’Neil in his illustrated 1976 book depicting human colonisation of space. The High Frontier contains Krautrock inspired exploration, Afrobeat’s ritualistic rhythms, post-punk guitar noise and cracked-glacé synth lines culled from perverse 1970′s sci-fi soundtracks.
It’s a cacophony of sound in which Lumerians acknowledge the role noise and rhythm has always played in transcendent and ecstatic rituals the world over, from the repetitious drums of tribal animists to the penetrating electronic pulses of neon dance clubs.
The six tracks and 33 minutes that make up The High Frontier were recorded and produced in Lumerians’ self-built studio/brewery: a room housed in a converted store-front church in a neighbourhood affectionately referred to as the “Murder Dubbs”.
The High Frontier brings back the sound of prog rock that was so familiar in the 70s. Uncut described the album as: “a fruitful collision between Boredoms, Neu! and the Grateful Dead” and they are spot on.
The High Frontier artwork
Track one Dogon Genesis could easily fit itself into the 70s with no questions asked. Dogon Genesis is a fantastic first track that prepares the listener for the rest of the album. Dogon Genesis could refer to the Dogon tribe of Mali which gives a good indication of how bonkers the record is.
Title track The High Frontier has a completely different sound to that of Dogon Genesis. It’s a slower tempo with more deep, bass tones coming through. The drum beat produces a mesmerising rhythm alongside the swooping synth sounds.
Previously disclosed track, The Bloom follows the same theme as The High Frontier. It’s strange and eery. It is probably the most experimental song on the record which introduces lots of sounds and plays with the concepts of prog rock to create a brilliantly atmospheric track. The synth sounds heard at the beginning almost sound like sirens, building a sense of tension and fear into the listener.
Koman Tong breaks the album away from eery and unnerving and plunges it into summer happiness. Koman Tong is still very experimental but it starts to introduce the idea of world influences into Lumerians’ music, the guitar is distorted leading it to sound faintly like a sitar in parts while gongs and bells can be heard in the background. It’s the best track on the record by far. There is just so much to catch and involve yourself in that you will instantly become lost in the music – cliched as it may sound.
Smokies Tangle turns the album back to its 70s prog rock style while the last track, Life Without Skin again oozes world influences, foreign vocals and jazz inspired drum beats to create a superb end track. It has a fantastic rhythm and melody and can easily be placed as one of the best songs on The High Frontier. It’s also one of the only tracks on the album that uses influences from Lounge – think Bonobo vs prog rock and you’re almost there.
The High Frontier is a mesmerising account of weirdness and oddity that will leave you wanting to hear more. Each track has so many layers to it that you really will become immersed in this record. It’s 33 minutes of experiments, fusion of genres and rule-breaking in the music world. A triumph.
Lumerians is Tyler Green, Chris Musgrave, Jason Miller and Marc Melzer. Formed in early 2006 while most of the members were working at an experimental music label in San Francisco, their shared affinity for Krautrock and esoteric occult mythologies resulted in after-work jam sessions and recording.
After self-releasing their debut EP in 2008, they signed to Knitting Factory Records in 2011 for their debut LP release Transmalinnia – a record which, during the two years it took to record, was almost entirely scrapped and re-recorded several times. In 2012 supplementary small-pressing instrumental records Transmissions from Telos Vol. IV and The Weaning and the Dreaming quickly sold out in the hands of collectors.