Drugs can help you find a world beyond the futile economic, social and petty political battles of daily life – or they can fuck you up good and proper, depending on your natural state of being – but music can also help you discover cognitive spaces you would not otherwise ordinarily patronise. And so it is with Trappist Afterland’s Burrowing to Light in the Land of Nod.
This is a record steeped in ethereal psychedelia, a psychological state of being replete with soft light, deep tones and endless possibility. Burrowing to Light introduces the collage of eastern tones, chants and extended moments of spiritual contemplation that characterises the record; it’s the Velvet Underground without the pop art, it’s Marianne Faithful at the end of the 1970s stumbling through a haze of her own creation, following a distant light that will guide her back to earth. On Father=sun itself Trappist Afterland find the state of being Jim Morrison yearned for, if only he could have ditched the booze and anger.
Patron Saint of Gypsies takes us on a journey to cultural pastures barely understood; the intense raga of The Crystal Wood/I’m Not an Owl, I’m A Man is just heavy, man. The communal chanting of Spirit’s Tongues gives way to a pop track of sorts, where Rowland S Howard meets hippie sensibility and finds a better way. My Own Light Divine is Neil Young on a Cat Stevens trip; Leaving the Land of Nod is John Cale taking us down the long musical narrative to The End, and it’s feeling pretty good.
The tragic reality of the alternative communities of the 1970s was an existence plagued by addiction, ego and dysfunctional sexual and social relationships – while the music of the time lived on. Trappist Afterland might not solve all your problems, but it’ll take you to the right place.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Best Track: Burrowing to Light
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Velvet Underground, Marianne Faithful, The Black Angels.
In A Word: Ethereal.