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Vinyl Williams Lemniscate Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

Surrender to this album’s charms and it will soothe and transfix.

James Skinner 2012

Click onto Vinyl Williams’ website and you’ll immediately be presented with examples of the young Los Angeles-based artist’s acclaimed collages. Digital shards and classical elements combined, riots of colour and surrealism, they make for an ideal entry-point to his world.

As far as Vinyl (or Lionel, to use his birth name) is concerned, his penchant for creativity is not something easily understood, least of all by himself. Nearly a year ago, on the This Is Fake DIY website, he pondered the lack of distinction between his art and his music as follows: “I let it flow out, I improvise, then toy at the improvisation until it emanates some kind of bliss.”

The grandson of famed cinematic composer John Williams, he is not averse to setting lofty goals for himself. And this debut album certainly goes a long way towards capturing the “other worlds” he strives to generate, pulsing, surging and meandering along its own path as it pleases.

Single Higher Worlds best exemplifies its woozy sonic approach, as well as boasting a bright and intuitive grasp of melody that crops up intermittently over the remaining. Pattered floor-toms and an addictive funk bassline gradually embellished by Williams’ almost offhand vocals, shuddering electric guitar and spectral hints of synth, the song soon breaks into a sweet, cloud-parting chorus.

It is a lovely, gentle sound that the record offers, even as it teeters towards the discordant; analogue and digital elements coalesce and morph over its nine songs and have clearly been assembled with care and precision, but they feel wonderfully loose and unrestrictive. “Sonic matrices” is how Williams refers to them, and his stated evocation of transcendence – of bliss – is their aim.

Yet Lemniscate doesn’t actively vie for your attention. It is breezy to the point of being languorous; unhurried enough as to come off sedate. Like any painting, sculpture, installation or collage, it requires contemplation, a second glance.

Surrender yourself to its charms, though – ideally in a pair of high-end headphones with a glass of your preferred tipple to hand – and it will soothe and transfix, ebbing and surging its way into your consciousness with style and grace to spare.

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