Album Reviews

The Spectral Light: 10000 Stars EP

With their latest release, Amanda Votta and Neddal Ayad revel in the dread.

The Spectral Light consists of Amanda Votta (The Floating World) and Neddal Ayad (the does, the goslings, The Desolation Singers).

Trading barbs between Votta’s Michigan base and Ayad’s home in Newfoundland, the pair have spent the last three decades collaborating across various projects. Their last release as The Spectral Light landed in 2014 in the way of Secrets to the Sea – a dream-state affair that posed to drown out the everyday horrors, melding together fractured-folk and off-kilter metal to great effect.

Between Christmas and New Year of 2022, the pair reignited the project with the two-song EP, 10000 Stars. Written in the early parts of last year, these two tracks embody core-shuddering tonality and pastoral psychedelia. Songs overwrought with tension and drama. Effectively, it’s music that captures these times.  

Beginning with the title track, The Spectral Light operate through the eye of the storm, as withering textures and multi-layered drones dominate this journey of 11 minutes and 43 seconds. Votta’s ghost-like whisper delviered from another orbit, while Ayad’s countrified guitar finds space amid the static hisses and deep echoes, bending and morphing like a mist around the riverbank.

Winterwood: Wind Music

Elegy follows, stirring up an emotional unrest that proves as the hallmark card during all good releases. With a cacophony of bruising noise, this is music inspired by slaughterhouse floors. Votta’s voice barely able to penetrate through Ayad’s thick sheets of dissonance. It’s hypnotic heaviness in a different form, showcasing The Spectral Light’s range of sonic torment.  

And that torment is set to continue as 10000 Stars is seemingly a taste for what’s to come, with the band readying a full-length offering later this year via the excellent East Cape Calling label. For now, though, we can be thankful for such introductions, as The Spectral Light create the kind of beauty and brutality that echoes the likes of BIG׀BRAVE trying their hand at slowcore. While perhaps not psychedelic in sound, it most certainly is in feeling. Like being sucked into a whirlpool and spat out with a new sense of life, The Spectral Light really are a must.

10000 Stars is out now via Lost Hiss Recordings. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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