With krautrock and avant garde psychedelia having become fashionable all of a sudden, it's left to one of the new breed's elder statesmen to deliver an album which captures the genre's basic origins. While not exactly veterans either - Eat Lights Become Lights only put their first record out five years ago - they've firmly established themselves over that period to become arguably the UK's leading exponents of experimental, motorik-themed psych rock.
The band is the brainchild of songwriter-cum-producer and arranger Neil Rudd, who created the project partly in homage to experimental artists such as Spiritualized, Can and Kraftwerk, while ultimately developing a progressive sound of his own making in the process. Having played as Damo Suzuki's live backing band and created their own themed night Klub Motorik, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out where Rudd and Eat Lights Become Lights are coming from. However, don't be misled into thinking Eat Lights Become Lights are just a carefully ordained pastiche of what's gone before. Both Modular Living's predecessors Autopia and Heavy Electrics demonstrated the band's heavier side, mixing layered beats and loops with occasional dalliances into post-punk landscapes. It's also worth mentioning the band's incredible live shows, which at times can take on a whole new improvised life of their own, but we'll leave that for another day.
With Modular Living, his third album in three years, Rudd has continued the journey into pastures new, almost taking Eat Lights Become Lights full circle on his latest voyage of discovery. While less emphasis may have been placed on guitar riffs and sonic density in favour of more ambient song structures, there's an unparalleled level ofintensity running throughout Modular Living. Rather than focus on individual pieces or tracks, it's a record that demands to be heard in one continuous full swoop rather than dissected into parts.
From the analogue synthesized introduction of the title track - which could best be described as Kraftwerk being chased around Dusseldorf by a group of extraterrestrial beings - to the Eno-esque sonic flotation tank of closer 'Habitat '67', Modular Living represents a visionary and varied sonic palette befitting of its influences.
7Dom Gourlay's Score