To Kiss Earth Goodbye

When Teleplasmiste – Mark Pilkington and Michael J York – have something new to offer, it’s worth paying attention. Beginning in 2015, the cosmic electronic duo have built a catalogue of top quality recordings, brimming with transcendent, mind-altered sounds. 2017’s Frequency Is The New Ecstasy was a breakthrough album, full of exceptionally heavy synth sounds. To Kiss Earth Goodbye is an equally epic set but has a different feel, involving less drone and more dream-like instrumentation. The tone is set by the cover image, by spiritualist artist Ethel Le Rossignol, and its drifting sounds conjure astral and psychic travel.

The album’s title is from a book by Ingo Swann who, with Uri Geller, carried out remote viewing experiments for the CIA in the 1970s. He claimed to have left the earth, describing ice crystals in the atmosphere of Jupiter in close-up as he roamed astrally. Teleplasmiste’s cleverly layered soundscapes are deep and immersive. They plunge the listener through a psychic wall into what seems like infinite space. The journey begins with the tinkling of icy bells on ‘Come! Vehicles of Light’, like a door opening to another world. The album is strongly influenced by the landscape of Wiltshire, with its tempting portals to other realms. The bells were recorded in a disused church, built inevitably on a megalithic site, and the music sounds like transmissions from whatever worlds can be accessed via its crypt. Recordings were also made at the springs beneath Glastonbury Tor, and in West Kennet Long Barrow.

The tracks seem to trace a journey, from the more earth-bound ‘A Goodly Company’, with its gentle throb and shifting repetitions, to the thoroughly trippy ‘Possessors Of The Orb’, which is propelled by oscillations and soundwaves. A particular highlight is ‘An Unexpected Visit’, which uses the only vocals on the album – a sample from ‘The King Of Witches’, Alex Sanders, and his partner Derek Taylor conducting a ritual in Bexhill during the 1980s. The combination of the ordinary and the strange is at the heart of the record that takes us up and away, whatever our starting point, and reveals the ultra-earthly presences in our familiar world. On the title track the drone finally kicks in, with a rumbling deep frequency echo that Pilkington and York somehow coax from their machines. Over the top, an off-kilter, off-beat synth line expresses the upending of realities. This is the album’s soaring climax, music that leaves this world behind for an unknown destination and unending possibilities.

This album is an entrancing, enveloping experience. Pilkington (previous form including Raagnagrok, Urthona and The Asterism) and York (from Coil to Shirley Collins via The Utopia Strong) seem to have been heading for this point for a long time, and the music they are now making sounds as though it was meant to be. To Kiss Earth Goodbye is guaranteed to satisfy anyone who needs to be taken away from themselves, and off to a better place. And right now, that includes all of us.

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