Ly Tumnus - Tales of Space and ClaustrophobiaTales of Space and Claustrophobia is a short run tape of drone infused electronics with beats and guitars from Fraser Rowan and it's wonderfully inventive stuff. Ly Tumnus is the latest musical project of Fraser Rowan, formerly of post-rock experimentalists The Lava Experiments. It's a project he shelved when he realised the music he was making wasn't what he was interested in listening to himself. Thankfully he's returned as Ly Tumnus and the 10 tracks feature dark and moody drones and atmospheres clearly inspired by film soundtracks.
Tales of Space and Claustrophobia is awash with experimental electronics and rhythms. Synths sweep over drones and downtempo electronic rhythms on the opener, while on 'III' oscillating tones and circular synth riffing are cast over windswept atmospheres pushed onwards by a rolling snare drum rhythm. Everything is unhurried and the rhythms relatively simple but the emphasis seems to be on creating textures - track titles are even reduced to Roman numerals - and Ly Tumnus do this particularly well. Elsewhere drones seep into the bleeping electronics of 'VII' while fog-horn electronics jostle between murky dirge like electronics and processed rhythms on 'IX'. Each track is quite distinct ensuring they never really settle into anything approaching wilful abstraction. One tracks even wafts a pastoral flute like sound over reverberating and pulsing John Carpenter-esque electronic sequences, swathed in free-falling analogue shudders.
There's a sense of melody and complexity to Ly Tumnus's languid experimental electronics. On 'II' Eastern hand drums evolve into something more jazzy, as it enters a sci-fi interzone with glistening spacey synth washes, as sounds phase in and out of focus. That sci-fi comparison is furthered on the Krautrock electronics of 'VI' where slow undulating chiming synths are set to a motorik beat.
But it is the moments of darkness that edge into cinematic terrain that makes Tales of Space and Claustrophobia so appealing. 'IV' snags rubbery electronics and niggling melodic tones that slips into pastoral realms, coalescing these almost disparate elements with acoustic guitar as it eases into cinematic terrain. 'V' furthers the cinematic essence, with spacious guitar twang over dredging electronics and jittery hi-hat rhythms. Imagine a frosted glacial rendering of the Paris Texas soundtrack and you might get a picture of Ly Tumnus's drifting sounds here. It's one of many great tracks on Tales of Space and Claustrophobia. The final track unfolds like a starker more skeletal Portishead sucked into the realms of dark ambient; its late night spacious downbeat rhythms couched in layers of windswept atmospherics and dark widescreen cinematic tones and textures.
Aesthetically Ly Tumnus have their roots in drone and experimental electronics but Tales of Space and Claustrophobia could be characterised as a kind of cinematic drone infused blackened electronics. Tales of Space and Claustrophobia is released on cassette in a criminally limited run of 100 copies. It really deserves a much wider audience, and you might kick yourself in years to come for not picking this up now. For more information go to Ly Tumnus's page at Bandcamp