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From a chance meeting (and unhealthy fill of beer) at Paul Lloyd’s RPM club night in Crystal Palace last year with the band’s motorik drummer Matt Donovan, the Monolith has followed the Eat Lights Become Lights neo-Krautrock troupe very closely. Whilst we were quite late to the party, we wasted no time and effort in both reviewing their third LP, Modular Living – going as far as to place it in our ‘choice’ LPs of 2013 – and subsequent Dead Formats EP. In celebration of yet another album (their fourth in as many years), we have collected together those reviews, as we investigate their latest grande cosmic opus.

Eat Lights Become Lights  ‘Into Forever’  (Rocket Girl)  5th May 2014

How very apt that Eat Lights Become Lights are represented by the Rocket Girl label, as their latest furore into neo-krautrock begins with thrusters fully ignited, the opening ‘velocet vir nest’ lifting off, motorik booster style into the outer limits of space. Sizzling with Neu! style intent, they echo their last cosmic outing, Modular Living, by starting out with a burst of interstellar transcendence but then following with a tubular chiming, diaphanous metallic waterfall come down (in this case ‘bounce synth’).  Apart from a few rhythmic driven piques Into Forever absorbs and bathes in the glow of mother nature attentively and organically – well as possible as it can be for electronic synthesised music to sound organic.

Informed by a litany of the great and good from the Krautrock cannon, the album’s Teutonic indulgences still sound intrinsically fresh and inventive. Those cerebral nuanced patterns both reliving but also searching for new harmonically interesting relationships. ‘time enough’ however not only evokes Tangerine Dream, but also has a touch of the trance-y Seefeel about it. The meditative skydiving ‘vapour trails’ is back on even more familiar ground, pitching the hallowed choral mystique of Popol Vuh and Ash Ra Temple atop of a misty veiled Machu Picchu. A caustic magnetic field pulsates and bounces to the tune of Zuckerzeit era Cluster on ‘you are disko’ and early shades of Kraftwerk and Klaus Schulze inform the light particle downpour eponymous title track.

A far moodier set of atmospheres and scenic investigations await, in place of the hypnotic gilded beauty of such tracks as ‘Habitat ’67’ from Modular Living, though we’re hardly talking about anything as dramatic as a monumental sea-change in direction, remaining as it does congruous and linear, Into Forever marks a subtle and pleasing shift.

Further Reading…

Eat Lights Become Lights ‘Modular Living’ (Rocket Girl) – Available Now

There’s fierce, confrontational, abrasive and even ugly Krautrock, and then there’s the more refined, melodic and dreamy gazing form of Krautrock, of which London’s Eat Lights Become Lights are very much enamoured.

A band of two halves so to speak, the recorded version almost totally helmed and written by the group’s Neil Rudd, and the live version which swells to a concomitant quartet (that greedily includes two drummers), follow the investigative footsteps of those that precede them; riffing and then locking down into the pulsing rhythm of an idealised Dusseldorf, Berlin and Cologne landscape of the early to late 70s. Though many thousands have trodden this pathway already, the Lights manage to navigate a subtler passage of veneration for the likes of Klaus Dinger, Michael Rothar and Roedelius; honing the halcyon dappled structures and beatific synth-textured symphonies of Cluster, Harmonia and Kraftwerk to produce something quite majestic.

From the title track in we’re propelled ever forward on a sophisticated road trip across the nebula. Occasional stopovers slow the tempo down on the eastern tinged Eno lies back in contemplation on a drifting raft ‘Rowley Way Overlook’, and heavenly piano chorded Popol Vuh-esque ‘Los Feliz To Griffith’, as the Lights invite us to breathe in the view.

Finishing on perhaps the album’s most ethereal high note, ‘Habitat ’67’ could be either a glorious fashioned paean to the stylish furniture makers or an illusion to some utopian environment and time. Whatever the inspiration, it sounds like an afflatus mix of swelling classicism and futuristic bliss.

Eat Lights Become Lights ‘Dead Formats EP’ – Available via Bandcamp now

Vapourously drifting over glacier plains, the latest EP to drop from the self-proclaimed ‘neo-krautrock’ outfit, takes the trans-alpine express across a stirring, nee celestial, landscape. Split into two eponymous train rides of discovery, and a bonus track, entitled I believe after the Austrian town of Selesen, Dead Format pays homage to Cluster, Eno, Rothar and co. again.

‘Dead Format’ chimes, stirs and slowly surveys the lie of the land, building towards and opening out with a tightened Dinger style drum roll and flailing guitar noise. ‘Dead Format 2 (Live)’ is a more transcendent vibe, recalling the Tangerine Dream and palatial, church like soundtracks of Popol Vuh – a deft, haunting but ethereal piano is struck in the background as sighing synths gently caress an ambient melody.

Bonus, ‘Selesen 11’, is an expansive shivering tribal space vista that moves like liquid in its search beyond the summits of Earth.

Hardly a giant leap into the unknown or untethered from the ELBL moorings, this diaphanous, and unheralded, released on the sly, EP does take the group’s sound into more ambient territory; relying more upon synth textures and nuanced changes, and cutting back on the guitar and drums.


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