The Myth of Separation and Selfhood

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Sam A. McLoughlin’s found sound project Tongues of Light returns with a work of haunting glossolalic ambiance that is both calmingly hypnotic and spiritually eerie, whilst always demanding attention.

The rear of the album bears the explanation/subtitle “Channelled glossolalic material from various multidimensional entities. All audio found and orchestrated by Sam A. McLoughlin.”. Like its predecessor, Channelled Messages At The End Of History, the album is built from a collection of YouTube vocal samples featuring people speaking in languages both real and imagined. The gently shifting textures of the accompanying music and the lack of recognizable language emphasizes the shear musicality of the human voice when stripped of conscious meaning, allowing the vocals to provide both harmony and percussion.

The vocal samples have been manipulated from their lo-fi YouTube origins to add a rich warmth to the timbre which draws out their musicality. At times the vocals take on the hyperreal saturation of Spawn, the AI baby developed by Holly Herndon for her 2019 album Proto, whilst at others they take on the widescreen scale of desert tribal chants.

The album consists of just two tracks, “Unity” and “Void”, each taking up one full side of the vinyl, although the tracks are structured in such a way as to suggest sections or movements, each made up of different samples and motifs.

From the descriptions above, it may sound like the album is a bit of a challenging listen, but nothing could be further from the truth. Listening to the album has proved ridiculously addictive, revealing more detail and depth with every play-through, its meditative qualities producing an almost dream like state.

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