Failing Lights - Spirit Obscured CD (Chondritic Sound)
Mike Connelly, over the last 20 years, has proven himself to be an enduring figure on the darker side of underground music. As a founding member of Hair Police, he was the front-person for one of the early 2000’s noise scene’s most exciting and beloved groups. Currently a member of Clay Rendering and co-host of the scholarly Noisextra podcast, he records blackened California dream pop for Hospital Productions and helps excavate/explore the deepest reaches of the 20th Century noise underground for discerning listeners. As a member of the community and a collaborative artist, Connelly’s accomplishments are many. But at the core of his creative pursuits is his solo project, Failing Lights, a glowing red ember of tonality and late-night ambience. After an 8-year recorded hiatus, Failing Lights returns to disc with Spirit Obscured for the Chondritic Sound label, a haunted suite of electronics as nostalgia for a moment that never existed.
Recorded with no time constraints, Failing Lights brings a deeper focus and a more stripped down approach to create a tense but hypnotic collection of instrumentals. “I took my time on ‘Spirit Obscured,’ said Connelly. The album morphed and developed over the course of a year. The main issue was stripping layers away to get to the essence. Sometimes you keep adding when that first idea was the right way to go. It’s easy to get lost, when really the answer is there from the beginning. It’s pretty bare, which is a new path for me and one I will continue on.” And while Connelly succeeds at narrowing his approach in playing, his scope in atmosphere is wider. Spirit Obscured is a rich mélange of dark ambience, dungeon synth and noise that recalls disparate acts from Dead Can Dance, Lycia, Lull. Yet, in other spaces he shades in elements along the lines of Mortiis, adding a distinctly different element to music. These influences combine to create a feel that is unique, yet rewardingly familiar to fans of various strains of midnight music and bat cave soundtracks. Created in isolation for uneasy refection, Spirit Obscured is a high point in the artists various recorded catalog. “Failing Lights will continue in this vein,” adds Connelly. “While I would like to play live, I really am enjoying the isolation work. Failing Lights is probably best experienced at home, alone or close to it. The album should set the atmosphere and let the listener do the rest. Don’t fill in the blanks. Let the blanks be the focus.” -- Steve Lowenthal
200 copies, 6-panel digipak CD.