Neil Lord works many musical angles, finding an emotional and spiritual center in everything he does. Working with the Holodeck Records crew to curate the substantial, eclectic, and excellent roster that the Austin label hosts, as well as working in bands like the dark and electronic-driven Thousand Foot Whale Claw and shoegaze trio Single Lash. His musical knowledge is vast and inspiration limitless. But Neil’s most personal project is the hazy and ambient Future Museums. Lord creates lush and dream-like songs that inspire deeper, meditative listens; songs that reveal more sonic layers with each deep dive into them. This was largely a solo project for years. A musical world where Lord could hang his hat and let the muse take him creatively wherever it wanted him to go. In recent years he’s opened Future Museum’s doors to collaborators(see Heavenish, Now Age Duo)
Lord connects spiritually and musically to the early 70s German music scene in the form of bands like Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh, and Manuel Göttsching solo works. But Neil Lord put his own Lone Star open skies vibe on the meditative German trip. One that mixes elements of Ry Cooder’s widescreen score work and William Tyler’s country-tinged swaths of Americana/Classical. Future Museums is both uniquely a European and American musical trip.
On the latest Future Museums release, the contemplative and vibe-y Transitional Spirit Mirror EP, Lord enlists a few of his musical friends to give us a woozy Krautrock epic and a handful of abstract music pieces. It’s 30 minutes of contemplative works that take us out of the daily barrage of bad and worse news and drop us in a swirl of sonic delights.
Album opener “Transitional Spirit Mirror” is the big show here. It’s over 15 minutes of swirling Krautrock and Berlin School groove. A smooth motorik drum beat glides us through buzzing guitars, ominous swells of noise, and a swirling sonic wall of Komische darkness. Lord is helped out by artists like Justin Sweatt(Xander Harris) and the Single Lash crew. It’s an exquisite shot of old school Berlin School sensibilities and full-on zone out jam.
Elsewhere, Lord is accompanied by Brian Kupillas(of The Wandering Lake). They build mystery and contemplation in tracks like the dark “Shelving The Mist” and the simple and beautiful “Resin Cast”. The latter brings to mind the starkly beautiful work from Future Museum’s exquisite Rosewater Ceremony Part II: Guardian of Solitude from 2018(Göttsching vibes for days.) “Mimicking Print” and “Shallow” feel like abstract paintings. Colors patched together revealing something urgent, timely, and present in abstraction. A calm resolve to give closure.
Neil Lord’s Future Museums work is both timely and timeless. Musical works that give us a place to escape to when we need that escape the most. But also they’re musical pieces in a classic sense; vibes that have emanated for fifty years from stone churches of Berlin and communal jams under German skies. Transitional Spirit Mirror EP is a tiny shelter from the storm. A place to commune in the mind, when we can’t in the flesh.
7.9 out of 10
Transitional Spirit Mirror EP is available now. Listen to and buy it here.