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Album: A Lighthouse for the Sun (2007)

Artist: Solarminds

Label: Mind Altering Records

Where available/price: Lou’s Records in Encinitas ($10.99), Cow Records in Ocean Beach ($8.98), Mojo Sounds/Thrift Trader ($8.99), Taang! Records ($9.99), M-Theory in Mission Hills ($9.99), Thirsty Moon ($9.99), Off the Record in North Park ($11.99), and Spin Records ($11.99). Online at mindalteringrecords.com for $12.

Songs: 1) My Salvation (Drifting) 2) My Salvation (a Way) 3) My Salvation (Saved) 4) My Salvation (with Sound) 5) My Salvation (and Prayers) 6) The Worshiping Sun (Soul) 7) Then Came the Night 8) Vision 9) Hallucination 10) The Worshiping Sun (Mind) 11) The Dawn Will Always Come

Band: Chris “Solarone” (guitars, keyboards, percussion, ambient sounds, vocals), Starry Wizdom (keyboards, harp, vocals), Doug “Umbra” (bass, vocals), Paul Gil (drums), Jaime Lyerly (vocals)

My first impression of this CD was “Great, just what I need: a Dark Side of the Moon knockoff.” Solarminds’ pace is a slow, determined one, and they incorporate an electronic filter or effect for every instrument and vocal. All of them. The combination results in wiggy atmospheric lounge music with haunting, far-off voices that seem to be shouted up from the bottom of a well.

There are no clear delineations between songs; through slight alterations in the beat or variations in the chords, a new song is created from the foundation laid by the track before it. The lyrics are heady and repetitive, associated with shadows, rain, the sun, and the mind…as well as torture and life. It’s conceptual audio art, and it’s not for everyone. By track four, I’m impressed. No instrument misses a chord or beat. Even though it’s oddball stuff, it’s well played, relaxing, and forces contemplation, which seems to be Solarminds’ intended goal.

While I would not want to sit in a bar while the band reverbed their instruments and whined through megaphones, I wouldn’t mind having the album lying around in case a buddy of mine scored some mushrooms and my Netflix movies included the entire run of that goofball TV show from the ’70s, Land of the Lost. Just for the weirdness of it.

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