Variety Lights

Variety Lights

Variety Lights

Central Flow

Fire Records

Too, too many years ago, maybe 20 now, a mismatched gaggle of not-so-merry pranksters coalesced together over a love of drugs, found noise, and outsider art as the collective Mercury Rev, thoroughly blowing the minds of the then-nascent “alternative” nation with lysergic playground shoegaze that was hellbent against being boring. Now to stand out in an ensemble that include a flute-playing burnount named Grasshopper, you really have to let your freak flag fly, and no one did that more in Mercury Rev than frontman David Baker. A mess of frizzy hair and Dadaist rhymes, he was the (Beef) heart of Mercury Rev; when he left amid a storm of recrimination and mystery, the band morphed into the Bad Seeds, but…whatever happened to the real crazy in Mercury Rev?

Years of this and that, and now Baker returns with a deliriously fucked up synth project called Variety Lights. And as much fun as it is to imagine Baker giving us his take on Minimal Wave, Variety Lights is a very different beast. Angular, unpredictable, and nonlinear, Variety Lights is perhaps closest to Eno’s nonlinear strategies on Another Green World or White Noise or a Casio remake of maybe Photek, but without sounding anything like either of them. Instead, this is pure audio hallucination from start to finish. Buoyant, disorienting, mantric, and ingenious.

Fire Records: firerecords.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Soul Understated
    Soul Understated

    Soul Understated was a swizzle stick of jazz, funk, pop with a dash of Radiohead in the delightful DC cocktail.

  • Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu
    Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu

    That Trip We Took With Dad is the debut feature by acclaimed Romanian short film director Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu. Generoso Fierro sat down with Lǎzǎrescu during SEEFest to discuss the comedy and drama within the adaptation of her deeply personal family story for the screen.

  • Aware
    Aware

    The Book Of Wind (Glacial Movements). Review by Carl F Gauze.

  • BANG: The Bert Berns Story
    BANG: The Bert Berns Story

    The music biz collides with the mob in this documentary chronicling the fast and dangerous life of legendary ’60s songwriter, producer, record mogul, Bert Berns.

  • The Suicide Commandos
    The Suicide Commandos

    Time Bomb (Twin/Tone). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tricot
    Tricot

    3 (Topshelf Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Bush
    Bush

    One of the most successful rock bands of the ’90s attracted thousands of fans to its recent Orlando concert. Christopher Long was there.

  • New Found Glory
    New Found Glory

    New Found Glory celebrate 20 years of Pop Punk with a string of sold-out intimate dates at The Social. Jen Cray was there for night two.

  • Plasmatics – Live! Rod Swenson’s Lost Tapes 1978-81
    Plasmatics – Live! Rod Swenson’s Lost Tapes 1978-81

    Raw video documentation of the Plasmatics evolution from buzzy punk band at CBGB’s to pyrotechnic madness at Bond’s Casino.

  • Vanessa Collier
    Vanessa Collier

    Meeting My Shadow (Ruf Records). Review by Michelle Wilson.

From the Archives