The quest towards the end of the creative process can be submerged by artists in their actual work the journey buried away amidst a tangential collection of sounds and shapes; not for Eat Lights Become Lights’ Neil Rudd though. The Londoner formed Eat Lights Become Lights as a solo studio venture in 2007 with debut single ‘They Transmit’ following in 2008 and remix work by electronic pioneers Silver Apples adding credence to his ascent. Now, following on from the release of 2011’s debut album ‘Autopia’ - a critical success in its own right – ‘Heavy Electrics’ is an LP underpinned by a sense of movement, of purposeful direction. At times, such as on the more ponderous ‘Syd Mead Cityscape’ and ‘Terminus IV’, they’ll divert from the accelerated highway that Rudd drives down, to expand, explore and evoke worlds of great dystopia and expanse; but these are tracks inspired by the driving motorik of krautrock, and the subsequent sense of urgency therein.
“It’s as though I was creating a soundtrack for an imaginary film” explains Neil Rudd, “I was trying for a journey through a space, a city, country whatever and the different locations and themes that would occur during this journey, at rest, adventure, solitude, excitement etc.” It’s not hard to see why Rudd had envisaged a soundtrack concept, ‘Heavy Electrics’ is littered with film references, including the aforementioned tip of the cap to legendary set designer and artist Syd Mead - mastermind behind films including ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Aliens’ and ‘Tron’ - whilst also paying homage to director John Houston and his 1975 adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ in the title ‘Sunrise At Marwar Junction’. Unsurprisingly Rudd also lists film score composers such as Ennio Morricone and John Williams as influences alongside more psychedelic-leaning kosmiche touchstones.
Recording itself was done out in the heart of the US film industry, Los Angeles, with Rudd explaining “My favourite film of all time is Blade Runner and that’s what finally made me come here, just to take a look at some of the locations where it was filmed, the Bradbury Building, the Ennis House etc.” He’s never deviated in the studio from creating in solo isolation, only bringing the band in on live shows. It’s perhaps this that gives the record a feel of someone wandering lonely but inquisitive among a vast cosmos, allowing its synthetic ebbs and flows to transport him from terrain to terrain, at times caught irresistibly amid some heavy bass groove, on others exploring the space between textures and making as much of the silence as he is the sound.
Pondering his own processes, Rudd admits “the way I approach Eat Lights Become Lights would probably drive any potential collaborators over edge.” Explaining further that he’s an obsessive when recording, he says “an album takes a long time for me. I like to live with the music for a while and will happily pull the whole thing apart if one element, no matter how small isn't working, it’s never particularly spontaneous, but kind grows and evolves at its own rate.”
Growth and evolution, two things that take place within the album itself, right up until ‘Runners’ final burst of energy that hurtles ever quicker towards a supernova explosion. In many ways Rudd’s use of analogue and vintage synths, coupled with the propulsive rhythms of Kraftwerk, Neu! and their ilk is a hark back towards the times of the first true electronic innovation in the mainstream, and yet ‘Heavy Electrics’ too feels like it’s moving forward, possessing a contemporary aesthetic beyond mere retro-futurism. He’ll be evolving again later in the year, when his live band return to join him presenting these new tracks on stage, first though this, the glorious soundtrack of a mind obsessed with endless possibilities.
01 Bound For Magic Mountain 4:45
02 Heavy Electrics 6:36
03 Syd Mead Cityscape 9:30
04 Terminus IV 10:10
05 Sunrise at Marwar Junction 8:43
06 La Kraut III 6:50
07 Runners 9:00
08 Carousel 6:33