Review: Old Million Eye ‘The Air’s Chrysalis Chime’

If you are not familiar with Old Million Eye, aka Brian Lucas (also of Dire Wolves fame), it would be realistic to say your first listen will be pretty enigmatic. This is a highly creative album and harks back to a statement by legendary composer Brian Eno: ‘I wanted to hear music that had not yet happened, by putting together things that suggested a new thing which did not yet exist.’

Old Million Eye 'The Air's Chrysalis Chime'

This is effectively what Lucas has done here: create the album he wanted to hear. So, following that, if you were curious about One Million Eye, you’re in for a treat and The Air’s Chrysalis Chime is definitely a good place to start.

Lucas’s work is a drowsy blend of psychedelic sounds that would fit into the Amon Düül/Cluster schools of thought with sunny San Francisco folk, all underpinned with organic sounding electronics. At a glance, this album feels like a selection of long dreamy breakdowns, but there is much more going on beneath the surface.

Thematically, this is a complex piece of work. It would be too easy – or even just plain wrong – to peg this record as the soundtrack to a quietly trippy dream. Lucas is an accomplished visual artist and author, so any story being told, or questions provoked, will have been considered deeply. I would hazard a guess that as Amon Düül once became obsessed with space and ’space-rock’, Old Million Eye’s presentation and sounds hint at an ecological/environmental concern.

a drowsy blend of psychedelic sounds that would fit into the Amon Düül/Cluster schools of thought with sunny San Francisco folk…

The track titles could tell a story: The Right Climate, Tales From Copperopolis, White Toads, Ruby River all have a distinctly natural feel to them (OK, yeah, obviously the first one). Another way in would be to look at this album’s cover. Are we being reminded of cells in the body? Is it showing us the relief on a map of a landscape? Truthfully, you can make your own mind up and who is to say apart from Lucas. But one thing we can agree on I think is: it’s colourful, complex and abstract.

For such a mild sounding album, there is a lot going on in this record. It’s produced beautifully so you can hear every last detail in every single one of the seven densely arranged tracks. Throughout each harmonics twinkle and chime, paired with fuzzy guitar feedback loops and noodles with light pattering tom drum hits in the background. The wind instruments, bass and vocal melodies just rove around, rising and falling freely. There isn’t necessarily a clear structure to the tracks, but that obviously was never the plan. And the result is a very impressive body of sounds.

Visual artist Roy Ascott suggested artwork – that we’ll stretch to include music here – should be a trigger for a new experience. Old Million Eye has pushed that envelope pretty hard here.

The Air’s Chrysalis Chime is out on the excellent Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube Records now. The digital album is $107 – no, that’s not a typo – on Old Million Eye’s Bandcamp, so I think they want you to get a physical copy.

Label: Cardinal Fuzz Records | Feeding Tube Records
Band Links: Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: James Bullock