San Francisco rockers create music fit for a lost world.
From a distant civilization comes the self-titled EP by Lumerians. Referencing the people of Atlantis-contemporary, highly advanced, and lost society Lemuria (also spelled Lumeria), the band's name began with one spelling ("Lemurians") and came to accept the frequent misspelling ("Lumerians") as their own. "Lumeria" also references light ("lumen"), as the band's live show involves a fairly intense light show. The clear vinyl edition of the release delivers clear and crisp sound, maximizing the effects of the textured meditative rock.
As the legend of Lemuria is fantastic, so is the music of Lumerians. Other-worldly synthesizers layer amidst ambient post-rock stretches. A futuristic tribal potion is spread over the course of five tracks, totaling just under thirty minutes. "Corkscrew Trepanation" begins the record, building heavy-hitting drums, tambourines, and bells by Chris Musgrave into a solid layered foundation. Marc Melzer enters, playing bass and oozing slow and seductive vocals. His slightly-nasal and reverberating voice feels like a mantra spoken over the drone of the vacillating synth (by Tyler Green). The synthesizer's siren-like nature slowly shifts from one note to another before reaching sky-high at the pinnacle of the selection. Pretty soon this whole concoction breaks free of any restraints into what sounds like an angry tribal frenzy. The natives are restless. The drums' polyrhythm gains greater speed and volume as Jason Miller pounds the organ into submission. Eventually the noise slows to a crawl before fizzling out.
Atmospheres continue to build in the next song, "Turquoise Towers". A weirder, mystical environment is sculpted against layers of drones and intermittent vibraphone note clusters ringing at the same time. Occasionally the groups spread out very slightly, reminiscent of the early days (1990s) of an incoming AOL instant message. On and on the world is formed, as rays of synth seem to correspond with mutating amoebas and the genesis of new species.
Turning the record over, the first few bass notes warm up the soundscape of "Orgon Grinder" with a slow, churning rhythm. Whimsical faerie-like vocals by Lovage Sharrock meditate overtop the layers of electronic grime accruing. The dirge-like cadence of the song feels like marching through fields of misbehaving sound waves. The fuzzy psychedelia is less ambient than it is slowly building and creating. Electronic sirens enter the realm as the mixture gets more and more complicated. Rather than repetitive, the drones and polyrhythm feel ritualistic.
"Olive Alley" begins with Musgrave tweaking a low-end, frog-like Vietnamese mouth harp over the ringing of the synth and organ and pounding of the drums. What sounds like chanting echoes over the thunderous sounds as Musgrave conjures Gregorian monks with layers of his vocals moaning in succession or as a round. Perhaps this is what a deeply religious experience (e.g., one that takes a person out of himself) is like.
The entirety of this record involves slow-building moments into extremes and then vice versa. Although some tracks may seem to take their time getting somewhere, it's the slight and ever-occurring changes that make this record stand out. With the Lumerians EP, the destination is not nearly as important as the subtle changes taking the listener to another time and place.