Explorers Bermuda Telepaths

[Not Not Fun; 2009]

Styles: ambient, drone, hypnagogic pop
Others: Matrix Metals, Yoga, James Ferraro

“In deep descending rivers of light-
The dancing vision from a purple scream
Propells the journey of inner lifes
Born of the jungle of dreams.
Two suns squeeze forth a fermenting mouth
Who spit’s the death of its past
Back to the temple of child
Channeled through the mind’s monster splash”

- Leviticus 3:18

It’s quite amazing that, amidst a book of judgment and consequence, Leviticus affords us this particularly beautiful passage. It’s even more amazing that it’s interpreted years later to describe the holy sounds of a certain brand of drone music. Though, it’s certainly fitting: found on a photocopied insert inside the case of Explorers’ Bermuda Telepaths, the Biblical passage perfectly encapsulates the album’s mood and sound. This is an album that succinctly serves its transcendental purposes, challenging the listener to easily explain the music in simple genre names and terminology. It is an album that also transcends the need to quantify, meaning that the rating seen at the top of the page does little to explain anything about the brilliant, bright merits of this highly spiritual album. Indeed, listening to Bermuda Telepaths — like hearing Alice Coltrane or Ash Ra Temple for the first time — is listening to the creation of something both otherworldly and sincere, making the use of theory, shop terminology, and Western music ideas seem worthless.

Sam Meringue is the mind behind Explorers, and like with his work in the realms of Matrix Metals, Yoga, and others, he makes use of a few different elements, namely drawn-out repetition over an interminable scope, splicing and cutting of various musical phrases at seemingly arbitrary places (oftentimes mid-sentence), repeatedly playing a passage followed by the same one rendered a half-step down or up in pitch, and a very worn and piss-poor quality of sound to achieve a specific idea or feeling. This isn’t particularly new. On Matrix Metals’ Flamingo Breeze cassette, the weathered quality of tone was used to achieve antique and nostalgia, and with Yoga’s Megafauna, he injected elements of unease and discomfort over ominous synthetic wails and hisses. But with Explorers, the faraway and dated sonics add warm, borderline-religious elements. Interestingly, the album sides aren’t cut into various tracks, but rather contain within each side repetitive drone passages of synths quivering within the nearest half-step of tonality, with the only rhythmic elements being the warped sound of bubbles popping and forming under the ocean, waves whipping by and water rushing on either side of the ears. On occasion, an entire passage will continue after more pitch-shifting, the result being an almost alien transcription of the music you’ve already heard.

But the most beautiful moments are found in the last seven minutes of the second side, where the sounds of the ocean are transported from underwater to on the shore. The sound of gulls honking and chirping are juxtaposed against the waves rushing from the outside and inside under the floating, sitar-like synth-line, traveling both upward and downward in tone without ever breaking into the next note. The entire line slurs, hitting all the notes in between, like an old Indian string recording, distorting in the speakers once it crescendos to a specific volume. Then all is background noise, the sound of suspended synthetic tones, the sound of waves crashing, the sound of birds chirping.

Bermuda Telepaths often speaks in terms of mauve and teal and seafoam, and the orb of energy floating in between the man’s hands on the cover perfectly instills in someone the feeling of bliss associated with the listening of it. One can only completely divine what it is to experience this album through actually holding the black slab of vinyl, placing it on the record player, moving the needle over its grooves, and immersing oneself in its sonics. This album is easy on the ears, enriching with each listen while refusing to be pandered to with jaded analysis.

Links: Not Not Fun

Most Read