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Lunatic Soul - Walking On A Flashlight Beam CD (album) cover


Lunatic Soul

Crossover Prog

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Second Life Syndrome
5 stars I'll come right out and say that Lunatic Soul's new album "Walking on a Flashlight Beam" was my most anticipated album of 2014. Why? Well, Mariusz Duda (of Riverside fame) has created such a brilliantly natural sound in his side project that it has become one of my favorites, not to mention my family's, as well. We simply can't get enough of the acoustic, airy atmospheres combined with the dark, throbbing feelings that swing between transcendence and despair. Lunatic Soul's first three albums are masterpieces of emotion and epiphany, and so any follow-up would have to be something special. Duda, however, has delivered in the most unexpected, brilliant ways possible.

"Walking on a Flashlight Beam" (WOAFB) is an experience that is as much about lyrics and feelings as it is about music. You need the whole picture in order to understand it truly. Duda has been very forthcoming with theme for this album, as it seems to be rather personal. This album is about those people that prefer to shut themselves in their rooms/homes in order to immerse themselves in the creations of others: films, books, music, games, etc. I think it strays between this setting, however, and the same type of person that shuts themselves up, preferring to create art in private.

Like I said, this theme is important to the music. WOAFB is full of bleak tension, cold sublimation, and beautiful simplicity. Duda was inclined to create this album with a wide variety of ethnic instruments, tones, and sounds; from cold trance beats contrasted against radiant acoustic guitar to world music influences combined with a new addition to the sound palette of Lunatic Soul: a subtle, heavily distorted electric guitar that crafts some charging, tumbling grooves. Duda has really expanded the sound of his pet project, and it impressed me to no end to hear the vast variety of sounds that were able to come together into a unified, cohesive mix. Sometimes it feels like Duda has gone post-rock, such as in the opener "Shutting out the Sun". Sometimes Duda simply sings a beautifully wrought melody, as in the spectacular "Treehouse" or one of my favorites, "Gutter" (the chorus will be in your head for weeks). Yet, sometimes Duda just wants to lay down an incredible bass-driven instrumental section, as in the winding, complex "Pygmalion's Ladder".

Every track really feels just right. "Cold" feels, well, cold. It feels bare and desolate, with a simple melodic line added to enhance the stark feelings present. Duda is so good at expressing emotion in his music. Yet, this album has really impressed upon me how good he is at creating instrumental sections, as this album is full of them. The supremely subtle title track is an amazing example of this, as Duda builds and builds layers and layers of melody, harmony, tone, and effects. In the end, this album is so concentrated and makes so much sense from track to track that I can barely pick a favorite.

This might be my album of the year. Don't be surprised if it is. I know I sound like a Duda fanboy (which I kinda am), but this album reaches the heights of the last three, and then expands on them. Incredibly catchy, wonderfully complex, and darkly eclectic, "Walking on a Flashlight Beam" is a journey into a confined consciousness of creativity, privacy, and enigmatic genius. Duda has once again proven his capabilities.

Report this review (#1290577)
Posted Sunday, October 12, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I was quite surprised at the palpable excitement I felt as I opened this album. I am equally surprised at my dramatic feelings of disappointment as I listened--as each song failed to meet my simple expectations: that Lunatic Soul's fourth album continue to show the signs of growth as the previous three had adequately done. Mariuz Duda's excellent and gifted voice isn't even put to good use until the third song!

1. "Shutting Out The Sun" (8:39) A lot of scratchy old-sounding samples and sounds drawn out offer an overly long development. The final 20 seconds are the best part! (7/10)

2. "Cold" (6:58) again I am disappointed with all of the old samples--including the rhythm box beat. Sounds like an early Kraftwerk song taken over by Alan Parsons Project. (7/10)

3. "Gutter" (8:42) the baseline bass riff is nice though it feels borrowed from a RIVERSIDE song. Awesome work in the fifth minute! And finally we get to hear the full power and talent of Mariuz Duda's voice! And I love the late entry of the keyboard wash at the 7:00 mark. (Why must Mariuz wait to the end of the songs to amp things up?!) (9/10)

4. "Stars Sellotaped" (1:34) is a very cute little spacey "outtake." More of this! (9/10)

5. "The Fear Within" (7:10) is an instrumental based on a simple and repetitive weave of a variety of tuned percussives--glockenspiel, wind chimes, Blue Man Group PVC tubes, to name a few. The stringed instrument that enters at the beginning of the third minute and, a little later, the "distant" industrial synth kind of disrupt the initial feel and mood bringing in an unsettling feel--which may be appropriate considering the song's title. The final two minutes follow the now-established "distant" industrial synth as an picked acoustic guitar plays over the top and, gradually, takes over--until the song's final minute, in which some very eerie synth washes, warbles, wooshes and whispers fill the void. (7/10)

6. "Treehouse" (5:31) begins with an electric piano's very simple chord progression. Mariuz' treated voice begins singing what feels like a fairly straightforward pop song. Straight time rock drum and bass beat joins in. The song often feels like it's beginning to unravel but then it seems to come back together again. Nothing very exciting or ear-catching happens for the first 3:10. Then a quite space with simple acoustic guitar strummed chord progression backs Mariuz dreamy voice--until the rock format returns at the four minute mark. (7/10)

7. "Pygmalion's Ladder" (12:02) opes with an ominous (promising!) guitar arpeggio progression--which is all too soon ruined by some cheap Middle Eastern "horn" (or fuzzed guitar) sound. By 1:30 the backbeat has become more like a classic Tangerine Dream keyboard-led sequence. Were the intermittent appearance by the annoying "horn" sound and it's equally grating melody removed from this song it might be pretty decent! In the fourth minute the foundation falls back to bass and arpeggiated guitar as a good (if typical) Mariuz vocal enters. The "chorus" at the 4:45 mark is a bit of a step down and then it's followed by an odd bridge of alternating synth (choral) chords and a disappointing fuzz guitar solo. Another shift at 6:18 while the Mike Oldfield-like muted fuzz guitar continues to solo. The eight minute shifts again into even more Oldfield-sounding territory. The section beginning around 8:14 is heavier and packs the kind of power and drama that one expects (and wants) from a Duda project. A beautiful little interlude of delicate sounds (arpeggiated acoustic guitar and kalimba) sets up a crashing entry into the near-end crescendo. Though this song is in constant forward development with very little thematic recapitulation, it just fails to ever really "get there." (8/10)

8. "Sky Drawn in Crayon" (4:59) is a ethereal vocal sung over finger-picked acoustic guitar and some various and sundry incidentals--playground children noises, midi-keyboard melodies, cyber-computer click/pop noises. This one never really gets anywhere. (7/10)

9. "Walking on a Flashlight Beam" (8:11) is a(nother) dull song until the Robert Smith/Cure guitar riffs of the last two and a half minutes. (8/10)

The antiquated sound samples used here feel so out-dated and simple and could have been so much more sophisticated. Plus, Mariuz' Lunatic Soul project seems hello-bent on taking the ANATHEMA Post Rock approach: taking simple melodies and rhythms for foundations and then slowly--sometimes painstakingly slowly--building over and around them. Unlike Anathema, however, Lunatic Soul's songs never seem to get anywhere--each song ends with me asking, "What was the point? What was the message? What was the intention?" As much as I like music like this that develops slowly, using space and time to convey a message with delicate timing, I'm beginning to think that Lunatic Soul lacks the vision to make lasting statements with their songs. Maybe they're tired. I cannot remember the last time I was so disappointed with an album I so highly anticipated.

2.5 stars. Definitely an album I feel deserves the "for collectors only" label.

Report this review (#1292824)
Posted Friday, October 17, 2014 | Review Permalink
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars Lunatic Soul could be consider the soft side of Riverside with his ex-member. The pace is slower, the keyboards are upfront and the guitars not as dominant. The music is very atmospheric with some exotic sounds. We heard in previous albums tribal drums and others instruments of ancient world. The world's music passages has been a trademark of Lunatic Soul in the past, but it's less obvious in this latest release. The singing is often use as a chant or a incantation that brings the melody to a high level of emotion. It's easy to drift away with this music, like some kind of trance. The quality is the same as Riverside, the voice and the song structures have strong similarities, despite the light side of the sound and the slow tempo. There is some more disturbing atmosphere mixed with some serene passages. Some will have trouble enjoying some of the keyboards and samples effects display here, but as long as the compositions have quality, that what's matter. Welcome to the solitude journey and imaginary world of Mariuzsz Duda.
Report this review (#1299797)
Posted Sunday, November 2, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have a long love story with Lunatic Soul. Being a huge fan of Riverside, i can easily say i love LS even more - for it being the most tender, touching, honest and personal recordings of Mariusz that i've ever heard. I've been following LS story for five years now and i still can't decide what is my favorite album, this seems to be impossible as all of them are so beautifully composed and made with such enormous love.

However, Walking On A Flashlight Beam differs from what Mariusz done in Lunatic Soul before. This album is heavier, darker and if his previous works made you feel like they were written some time in the middle of the night by a man saddened by his life and fighting with insomnia (although that wasn't the case, i still feel this is a very "night" music), this one is clearly a work of a man determined to record an awesome album, and not just writing music because his soul calls for it and then suddenly discovering he has a full album on his hands. LS1, LS2 and Impressions felt like a stream of musical consciousness, beautifully natural and spontaneous, but this is a work of aspiring mature professional that does not linger waiting for the inspiration, but does something that he is best at. And the result is mindblowing.

You can as well tell that this album is somehow autobiographical. It is built around a concept of loners, "hikikomori" - people that prefer solitude to the noisy companies, people whose life is filled with books and stories, films, favorite music and videogames. For those who feel much better being left alone and are perfectly fine entertaining themselves. The album, however, is very sad. It does not make an impression of an album written by someone perfectly happy with his life - more like being a treatment for an aching soul. It will keep you a great company this autumn and winter.

In terms of composing this work is also more sophisticated than the previous ones that were so beautifully minimalistic in their acoustic sound. You can hear proggish drums and electric guitar plus some synths that make LS sound shift to progressive rock direction even more. Beautiful harmonic changes and amazing instrumental parts. Amazing vocals harmonizing, that you can not that often hear in Riverside but that is present in LS1-2 and make you fall in love with his voice even more.

The only thing that makes me a bit sad about LS in that this project is fully made for the studio and won't be performed live any time soon (or ever?). I hope that this will change over time as this will be a very powerful experience for everyone.

All in all, i've been waiting for this album for a year (we opened for Riverside in Oclober'13 and Mariusz told me he was about to start working on the new LS) and i do not regret a bit. It all was so worth waiting.

Favorite song: Treehouse, Walking on a flashlight beam, Gutter

Report this review (#1300223)
Posted Monday, November 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5/5

In a year where very little of the new music has grabbed my attention, the new Lunatic Soul has roared in like a bullet train; "a breath of fresh air" hardly does it justice. This album is huge. Yes, I know that very often that initial rush of lust does not last. We fall prey to hope and hype, the album gets played exhaustively?and then months later we realize how much we were oversold.

Not this time. I got the files for LS IV early in October for another review, and it has not been out of daily rotation since. It is going to join the other three LS albums as some of the most important music of my life. There is no little niggling doubt, my gut feels just as happy as the rest of me.

The album we have is not exactly the album that had been planned; Mariusz Duda has been quite open about his difficulties with making this record. I think there are also clues in the very first teaser released early on: the images and the colours do not correspond with the album that eventually materialized. Walking on a Flashlight Beam was inspired by deliberate disconnection from society, seclusion, chosen solitude, the artist Zdzisław Beksińsky and his son Tomasz, the Japanese hikikomori phenomenon, and his own brief retreat from the world--an album about self-imposed isolation, loneliness, longing and fear--dark in theme, dark blue in colour scheme, and the most entirely individual statement Duda has yet made in his music. This is a true solo album, unlike any of the others, with all instruments and vocals his own, only the drums left to the inspired and underrated genius of former Indukti member Wawrzyniec Dramowicz. It was clearly the album he needed to make, and the results are stunning.

Intricate and cinematic, it is an album of deep emotional resonance. It is structured in three distinct parts over 9 songs: the first three tracks are dark, intense, electronically-driven, building a mood of foreboding, despair, desperate yearning. The standout song here, and arguably on the entire album, is "Gutter", an absolutely monstrous track of charging, relentless, downright sexy oriental rhythms and a massive bassline...and the singing. Oh my god, the singing!

The middle section is mostly instrumental, ambient and textural: "The Fear Within" all anxiety-inducing jagged intersecting rhythms and themes. After that "Treehouse" comes as a bit of a shock, with its conventional song-structure and poppy upbeat feel, it almost seems out of place, but not quite.

The last third of the album is the climax both musically and lyrically. "Pygmalion's Ladder" is the long piece, very prog-like in its intricacy and expert shifts in mood over its 12 minutes, with echoes of "Gutter" in its strong rhythms, eastern themes, and fine singing. After the poignant "Sky Drawn in Crayon" the album ends with a sense of resolution in the majestic title track--this is an immense song, and to my mind represents maybe the finest (or so close to it as to make little difference) piece of music that Mariusz Duda has ever written. Soaring, orchestral, with staggeringly beautiful melody and vocal moments, it would be perfect if it didn't take a bar or two too long to end.

WoaFB is unmistakably Lunatic Soul, but it does have a different feel from the other three albums. It is darker and denser in texture, heavily dependent on electronics and effects, but all the key elements are present: no electric guitar, lively with percussion, and despite the sometimes ambient feel it is very melody-driven. The real revelation for me though is the jaw-dropping singing from Duda. He is known for his beautiful voice, but on this album he pulls out all the stops: subtle, nuanced, heartbreakingly delicate, an unsuspectedly wide range and control, this man has some serious vocal chops.

The more I hear this album, the more I want to hear it. Maybe I'm biased, but to hell with it. It is what it is. It hits an emotional chord in me that pretty much nothing else has come close to even finding. Not only is it orders of magnitude better than the vast majority of music I have heard this year, it tops most things from the past half-decade at least. I always suspected that Mariusz Duda deserves way more notice for his pure songwriting skills and musical vision, and this album demonstrates why.

Report this review (#1326888)
Posted Sunday, December 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Walking On A Flashlight Beam Is The Emotional Equivalent To Taking A Leap Of Faith For A Person To Examine Oneself On A More Deeper And Personal Level.

As a music listener, one of the most treasured feelings and goals is to seek and gain an emotional attachment or understanding in the sonic atmosphere to which you, the listener, are giving your ears time and attention towards.

It is without question or any doubt in my mind that, Mariusz Duda has created a massive landscape of personal and emotional sounds/messages in his latest Lunatic Soul offering, Walking On A Flashlight Beam. Even the title of the album alone implies so much for the listener to try and wrap his or her head around. Firstly, I am or would call myself a serious music-head, so going beneath the surface to try and understand what it is I am hearing/listening to, both instrumentally and emotionally, is something I relish and enjoy doing. Music in general is a gift and a creative/therapeutic gateway for me personally. Music also breeds stimulation of the imaginative/creative thought process for me as well, so through the experience of sonic template that is uniquely God given created by others is something that I know I am deeply depended on, which is why "Walking On A Flashlight Beam" has cut me pretty deep upon closely attaching and examining myself emotionally to this record, but in a very good way. Here is why.

There are certain tracks, which I will highlight that have bonded to me on a deeper level. First off, 'Shutting Out The Sun' deeply connects with me. This is a hard hitting musical piece that represents introversion and raveling yourself up in the creativity and works of others. Selecting a dark atmosphere like a room with all the shutters closed and plugging into another world/reality sonically is what Duda's expression is shown forth and represented so chillingly well in this sonic endeavor. There is no question that I, personally, connect with this song to a very high degree. As I have gotten older I have become more introverted and have felt less of a need to initiate things socially, mainly with other people, and to just immerse myself in the world of music and shut everyone and anything out. "Shutting out the sun" has a sonic template that definitely represents a huge facet of my personally in my life currently. The song's dark, brooding synthesizers and bass lines from Duda really represent and invoke a scary nature by how we can get so caught up in our own indulgences and cut everyone and everything off at the same time with not one care in the world. "Shutting out the Sun" will go down as one of the most personal songs I have ever listen to. It is beautiful, dark and a bit scary all in one. It's a hard reality check for myself indeed. "A prison of our own Making." Next is the track "Cold" and it is actually the second song on the album. It again represents a strong introverted nature like "shutting Out The Sun" only this time, thematically, "Cold" characterizes a person really struggling or wanting to come out of a certain hard, isolated atmosphere, but there is a glimmer of hope or as represented "light" at the end of the tunnel if you will. Certainly the lyric " there is something beyond that draws me in" shows a need for an individual to abandon his or her dark fortress and start pressing towards a brighter path or a better quality of life. Also, sonically "Cold" is absolutely blissful. I adore the bass line by Duda in this song. It is such a driving force of low end and it represents the songs message and character so well. A major toe tapper for sure. Highly recommended for extreme bass aficionados. Another highlight for me on this album is the track, "Treehouse." Now I didn't have a deep connection with this song lyrically, but sonically I sure as heck did. "Treehouse" is the track on the album that solidifies my interpretation as Mariusz Duda being the Polish Steven Wilson if you will in the progressive music world. Duda's ability to create such a melodic and beautiful ballad comes full circle with "Treehouse." I love it's acoustic nature and rhythmic drumming by, Wawrzyniec Dramowicz. It's just so perfect and Dramowicz's drumming may be somewhat of an underrated force on the album, but certainly not me...not one bit. "Treehouse" overall, gets the nod for being the most uplifting sounding song on the album. Lyrically though, not so much. However, the lyrical passage "can you hear-its all quiet-it feels alright- I guess I feel into your heaven" can characterize a happy spiritual outlook through dreams vs reality. Very interesting and beautiful all together. The next driving force is the epic, Pygmalion's Ladder. This 12min track is a piece of music that I fell in love with instantly. It is so creative and represents the art of Crescendo so tactfully well. "Pygmalion's Ladder" starts off with a light kind of middle eastern vibe with the use of keyboard soundscapes and acoustic guitar, then the track starts to mobilize into something far more ominous and that is largely due to the help of Dramowicz's drumming and of course Duda's eerie soundscapes that are more of an industrial sounding flavor that kind of showcase a machine growing closer and more powerful to its pray. The song is so clever and is the most multi instrumental track on the album. "Pygmalion's ladder" also has some of the best bass lines I've ever heard. A thumping joy indeed. It pounds the imagination if you will. Overall I feel Pygmalion's Ladder song structure wise, has one of the best crescendos in progressive rock right now. Lyrically, you couldn't ask for more deep, introspective themes/passages. The song is pure art and I am deeply raveled with in it, so "Maybe I am damaged beyond Repair."

The last track and fitting enough to be my final highlight and reflection on the album is the self-titled, gorgeously haunting Walking On A Flashlight Beam. This is the song that spurred me to write a more personal review and reflection on WOAFB in general. Sometimes when we listen to a piece of music that really connects with us it inspires or unleashes some new feelings with in us that we so desperately have to share with one another. WOAFB has definitely awoken some personal feelings with in me because of its deep sonic connections it has with my psyche. To continue, I absolutely adore the WOAFB track. Everything down to its theme of what it represents, which is actually inspired by a Batman comic issue entitled "The Killing Joke." If one decides to pick up the deluxe edition that contains the DVD you will be blessed to know all the inside information on how "Duda" was inspired to create this song in general. I think you will be quite surprised and there is some great dark humor represented as well for Duda's motives to creating such an unbelievable song. Moving on though, WOAFB like Pygmalion's Ladder has again one of the most incredible build ups offered in progressive rock I feel. This time around it feels like the most unique kind of musical therapy I think I've ever experienced with regards to how WOAFB is constructed. It starts off very slow going and whimsical in nature with its poignant and almost 80's sounding synthesizers. However, as the track represents an 8 minute and 10 second journey you get a huge diverse adventure sonically speaking. This is a track that makes you think about a lot of things weather it be of that of the great unknown or some way to triumph over doubt and skepticism in ones life and bust through those dark and awful prisons we create for ourselves. I had all these feelings/thoughts when listening to WOAFB, especially during the last 2min of the song. You wanna talk about a crescendo that will move you to the point where you experience tears of joy like in say, Genesis's "Entangled" you've hit the jackpot for sure. Walking on a flashlight Beam has Gigantic pounding drums and ethereal guitar work that is repetitious to the point where its so clever, that the sounds just get beaten into your head beautifully. WOAFB definitely goes down as my favourite track of 2014. It is pure and utter sonic joy.

One other note I'd like to touch upon briefly is the album's sound quality and production. Quite simply, it is that of a top notch nature. The sonic power couple, Magda and Robert Srzedniccy have done a gorgeous job with album's mix and overall production. It is borderline perfection to my ears. I do not have the slightest complaint with WOAFB's sound engineering, which is entirely rare for me these days. This album is a match made in heaven through a nice, warm Analog signal with a killer pair of headphones.

In conclusion, Walking On A Flashlight Beam for the most part has connected with me both sonically and lyrically on very deep level; however, I did not receive the same feelings or givings with every single track on the entire album. Songs like "Gutter","the Fear Within" and "Sky Drawn in Crayon" didn't really grab me as much and I found myself drifting and thinking of the other tracks on the album that I am such a fan of instead while even listening to those songs! Don't get me wrong, I feel every single track on WOAFB is highly listenable, but the songs that I highlighted really outweigh and set the bar pretty high compared to the rest that weren't mentioned. All in all, I realize this is simply a matter of sonic taste and I can certainly understand how many in the progressive rock community would merit WOAFB a masterpiece, but I feel otherwise. Although, this album is an essential listen nonetheless.

4 stars Sellotaped.

* this review is dedicated to the many I have interacted with here on Prog Archives and have the same personal feelings towards music in one form or another just as I do. You are all great and it has been a pleasure discussing all things sonically beautiful. May you all Walk On A Flashlight Beam with ease.

Prog on.

Report this review (#1442574)
Posted Sunday, July 19, 2015 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars This is the fourth album from Poland's LUNATIC SOUL, the project of RIVERSIDE bassist and singer Mariusz Duda. As with the previous three albums we get the drummer from INDUKTI Wawrzyniec Dramowicz who happens to be the only other musician on this release. This recording is not connected to the previous three as far as the concept goes as this one is inspired by the life of an artist who escapes reality and chooses seclusion in order to create. This album has far more vocals in it when compared to the previous three which I like considering Duda is one of my favourite male singers. In fact this is easily my favourite LUNATIC SOUL album so far. I was reminded somewhat of the early melancholic and psychedelic period of PORCUPINE TREE and even Wilson's project with Akerfeldt(OPETH) called STORM CORROSION. This is headphone music just like the previous three records by LUNATIC SOUL.

"Shutting Out The Sun" is such an interesting listen early on with that dark atmosphere as various sounds come and go. This is dark and experimental and it's starting to build as a beat arrives along with some beautiful acoustic guitar. Gorgeous electric guitar follows after 5 minutes followed by reserved vocals a minute later. The vocals stop then it kicks into gear 7 1/2 minutes in to the end. Love the spacey synths too. "Cold" opens with atmosphere and static and it's dark. Percussion comes in then acoustic guitar and drums as it builds. Spacey vocals join in as well. Normal vocals and an urgent rhythm follow. A calm arrives before 3 1/2 minutes and again I love the spacey synths then it kicks back in. This is so good as themes are repeated. "Gutter" again features a lot of melancholy and atmosphere as vocals, a beat and guitar lead the way. The vocals are more passionate on the chorus reminding me of RIVERSIDE. I like the vocal melodies in this one before 3 1/2 minutes and check out the huge bass before 6 minutes! Nice. "Stars Sellotaped" is a short piece as we get the sound of a door closing and being locked a spacey synths take over. Mellotron-like sounds end it.

"The Fear Within" has these spooky sounds that come and go. Percussion-like sounds build as a guitar melody joins in and it also builds. Spacey synths join in and this has such a cool sound to it. A change 4 1/2 minutes in as it brightens with beautiful sounds. Another change 6 minutes in as it turns haunting and spacey. "Treehouse" is led by piano and vocals as drums join in then synths. This is down-right catchy, very enjoyable. It turns haunting with a minute to go though. "Pygmalion's Ladder" has a dark rhythm and it's very RIVERSIDE- like as an Eastern sounding guitar joins in. Laid back vocals after 3 minutes. A change after 5 minutes as the vocals stop and the sound becomes more urgent including mellotron-like sounds. The guitar is back then the vocals after 6 1/2 minutes as it settles back. Catchy stuff. A calm before 10 1/2 minutes. Beautiful. "Sky Drawn In Crayon" features acoustic guitar, atmosphere and warm vocals. A lighter sound with children's laughter takes over then back to the dark sound after 3 minutes and vocals follow. "Walking On A Flashlight Beam" has a beat, synths and more as vocals arrive after a minute. Man he can sing.

And man I adore the mood and sound of this album. Another brilliant release for 2014, a year which may be my favourite as far as music goes since the seventies.

Report this review (#1472109)
Posted Friday, October 2, 2015 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars It's hard to dispute the winning streak that Mariusz Duda has helped accomplish with Riverside, a band which has become sort of a big deal around here. That makes picking up this album from Duda's side project pretty much a no- brainer, especially for fans of Riverside. Walking on a Flashlight Beam fits right in to Riverside's style, at least tonally. It's dark, mysterious, emotional, full of self-loathing lyrics... all the fun stuff we've come to expect from Riverside, but here Duda keeps the vibes slinky, torpid, and threatening. The intensity is scaled back, taking out almost all of the heavy chugging and hard guitar work Riverside fans may expect. Instead, Duda focuses on a slow-burn of electronic keyboard effects, acoustic guitar work, and general sense of mania that rises and falls like ocean swells.

It's classy and sophisticated and highly nuanced, and also immensely bleak. The songs feel thoughtfully crafted with dense layers of keyboard and laid-back rock instrumentation, but you'll probably have a difficult time walking away with anything tangible to remember. Walking on a Flashlight Beam is an album of tones and expression. I can't really knock anything about its production, or in Duda's talent, but listeners who aren't already deep in to Riverside vibe may be left behind; there just isn't enough being brought to the table here, and Duda plays it safe more often than not.

Perhaps its not coincidental then that this album is best when it deviates from the Riverside formula, favoring the ambient and electronic over the Porcupine Tree/Riverside formula of light/heavy/light-repeat. Check this out if you can't get enough Riverside, or are in the mood for some quite good dark ambiance to groove to, but not if you're hoping to find the next essential modern art-rock masterstroke. Recommended with a few caveats.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Report this review (#1580480)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mariusz Duda has a gifted voice for sure, and if that is your only reason for listening, then you will be missing out on some excellent compositions. I just started listening to Lunatic Soul, so I am new to this side project from the Riverside front man. The vocals on Shutting out the Sun & Cold for example are used like an instrument, and may at times be soft like a whisper. Perhaps some people will be looking for another Riverside album here, but the compositions are what make Walking On A Flashlight Beam the best Lunatic Soul album to date. Anyone that has ever listened to Love, Fear and the Time Machine from Riverside will get this album right away. The third track, Gutter, sounds most like a Riverside song if you crave that, but my favorite track on the album is Sky Drawn in Crayon due to some of the unique sounds in the composition. Sometimes less is more, and driving rhythms and layers of sublime sonic atmospheres will fill your speakers or headphones with subtle progressions. There are no bad tracks, and this album absolutely flows from beginning to end. I have been on a break from electronic sounding stuff for the past couple of years, but Lunatic Soul has an addictive sound to hook me back in. This is a stellar release!
Report this review (#1743782)
Posted Saturday, July 15, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Lunatic Soul is a famous band of Polish band Riverside band, by its bassist Mariusz DUDA and keyboardist Michał ŁAPAJ composition, but Michał ŁAPAJ just to help DUDA made the first album, behind the album most of the keyboard are maciej szelenbaum , Plus drummer wawrzyniec dramowicz. So the band's dominance is DUDA, they have just released the fifth album, DUDA is swept all the music except drums creation.

20 years released "Lunatic Soul II", 11 years released pure instrumental works "Impressions", 14 years released "Walking On A Flashlight Beam", published in 17 years, the release of the first album "Lunatic Soul" "Fractured".

DUDA under the Lunatic Soul's music style is significantly different from the Riverside, first of all can not be counted as avant-garde metal, electric guitar is clearly less than the proportion of music, more dependent on bass and keyboard drive, and some of the world music features, integration East and West art, they are more like the psychedelic period of PF and early PT, the recent few are integrated into the electronic elements, can be counted as a compromise before the shake or cross before the shake.

"Walking On A Flashlight Beam" is a concept album, some people think that is to say a escape from the reality of the art of creators, their attention will be completely concentrated in the inner world, choose seclusion and loneliness. In short, it is the object of "loner" - stinging family (to describe those from the community, some autistic young people), compared to the hustle and bustle of society, they prefer to be alone, stay in music, books and heart In the world. But I think there may be in the description of "autism" or "autism" in the world, there are many descriptions and autism is too close. Music sad, gloomy, full of topics such as the general sense of loneliness.

The band has just released a new album "Fractured", is also quite good, personally think that LS's five albums are to listen to.

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Posted Thursday, October 5, 2017 | Review Permalink

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