Neil Lord up to this point has used the moniker Future Museums as a way to open up and get deep with the world around him. The albums he creates as Future Museums feel like hallowed halls echoing with the hum of the universe, a music born out of deep meditation and tuning to the hum that emanates between the earth and sky.
The last two Future Museums albums, Rosewater Ceremony Parts I and II came out last year and were high water marks for Lord’s one man project. Crystalline guitars and transcendant waves of synths, those two albums felt like a stopping point for a phase of Future Museums. A musical story told and complete, and a new story in the wings waiting to be told.
That new story starts now.
Neil Lord is back with Future Museums, this time assembled as a full band. This new Future Museums collective includes Maxwell Parrot on bass and electribe, Scott Squires on Rhodes piano and Neil Lord, Nicolas Nadeau, and Ryan Garl on guitar. The album is called Heavenish and it consists of four songs laid out like old school Komische and Berlin School affairs. Like-minded musicians coming together to create music as one. In tune with themselves and the world around them, Future Museums creates a warm and inviting world with Heavenish, one where you never know where it starts or ends. You just want to stay in it for as long as you can.
With Future Museums now as a collective I get a Popol Vuh vibe listening to them. Or the vibe of Froese and Tangerine Dream setting up an arsenal of synthesizers and tape machines in an old abandoned Berlin church and zoning out in front of crowds of dazed onlookers. Opening track “Gnawed On” has the vibe of some communal mind melt. Delicate electronics tick and click on as reverberated guitar plays a distinct melody in the distance. It’s a slow burn; smoke from a distant fire that takes its time getting to you. “The Magic of Turning” sounds like transmissions from another time and place. Future Museums seems to have elevated the organic, nearly ambient vibe to something more spectral here. “The Magic of Turning” is that evolution of sound. The electronics are sharper and more prevalent as a five-piece, but they don’t lose the intimate spiritualism of Future Museums’ original organic sound.
“Infinity Pools” has voice samples from Caity Schaffer and keys courtesy of Justin Sweatt. There’s a transcendant quality to the song, as if breaking oneself down to their very essence and beginning again. “Lithograph” is a cavernous and meditative cascade of noise. The three-guitar lineup shines here, taking an almost Eno approach to noise-building.
As a one-man project, Neil Lord built Future Museums into a deep dive of experimentalism and meditative contemplation thru ambient and new age textures. Now, as a 5-piece music collective Future Museums expands the deep dive into more far-reaching platitudes. Heavenish is an outstanding reinvention of Future Museums.
7.8 out of 10
Digital and cassette versions available thru Aural Canyon. Grab a copy here.