The Telescopes are back with their ninth album, As Light Return. Founded by Stephen Lawrie in 1987, the band has been through various phases and a long list of different members and associates. This time he is joined once again by members of the band St Deluxe, tracking the album at the esteemed Riverside Music Complex in Glasgow. The only constant member of The Telescopes, however, is Lawrie himself. The variable constellation has become part of the concept. As Light Return is The Telescopes' second album for the Hamburg label Tapete Records, following the release of Hidden Fields in 2015.
The new album maintains the balance of its predecessor, setting a parallel course between song-based noise structures and freeform impressionism, while containing some of The Telescopes' most crucial listening so far. "Every record I make is different from any others I have made so there is no control to measure against except to say that The Telescopes house has many rooms and, like the previous album, this album takes a peek inside every room rather than remaining in one," Lawrie explains. "Yet despite having an uplifting album title, the subject matter on these recordings is a lot darker than on Hidden Fields."
Tracks like "You Can't Reach What You Hunger," "Hand Full Of Ashes" as well as the album's similarly titled 14-minute closer "Handful Of Ashes" seem to contain an innate wisdom for the listener to decipher. After 30 years of pursuing his singular artistic vision, Stephen Lawrie is more focused than ever. These songs pay no heed to conventionalities. This music has an implicit power. The listener is free to enter a vast sonic universe and determine a personal set of coordinates.