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LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock • New Zealand


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Lamp Of The Universe biography
New Zealand "raga" / spacey rock hybrid

Lamp Of the Universe is the solo project from Datura Bassist and vocalist Craig Williamson. It is a formidable modern mix of pysch "raga" folk with spacey rock elements. In its great variety the music offers astonishing acoustic guitar parts, exotic sitar "raga" scales, "tabla" percussions and "acid" heavy, bluesy rock guitars. Minimal "drone" bass lines alternate with fuzzy, sometimes aggressive psychedelic waves. This rather "cosmic" musical ensemble is without moderation a nice discover. It is a must for fans of Amon Duul II, Pink Floyd and classical raga style. The combination between the genres is well defined, providing a freak out journey throw eastern vibes. Many albums have been recorded under this name, notably the highly recommended "Echo in Light" (an insistent and beautiful marriage between exotic, celestial harmonies and deep psych rock sounds), "The Cosmic Union" ("trippy" sounding heavy rock jams) and "Heru" (meditative sitar "drone" effects). All these albums have been released around 2001/05, notably published by "Cranium Music".


Discography:
Earth, Spirit & Sky (2005)
Heru (2005)
Echo in Light (2002)
The Cosmic Union (2001)

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LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
The Cosmic Union
2001
3.67 | 2 ratings
Echo In Light
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
Heru
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Earth, Spirit and Sky
2005
3.50 | 2 ratings
Earth, Spirit & Sky CD
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
From The Mystic Rays Of Astrological Light
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Arc Of Ascent
2007
3.67 | 3 ratings
Acid Mantra
2009
2.00 | 1 ratings
Transcendence
2013

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LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Transcendence by LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Transcendence
Lamp Of The Universe Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by twseel

— First review of this album —
2 stars Lamp of the Universe is a project from New Zealand led by musical pioneer Craig Williamson, who creates psychedelic, raga-influenced music under this moniker. He has been making albums all by himself since the start of the millennium, with a sound ranging from acoustic dreampop to lengthy raga drones to spacey psych rock. 'Transcendence' is his 8th full-length production and it shows the decrease in quality that has been going on over his last few albums being set through, with six uninspired, quite uninteresting songs not really going anywhere. The style employed here is also not too interesting, a pretty basic psych rock/raga crossover.

'Pantheist' opens the album. It's made up of a classic psychedelic sound mixed with some unconventional instruments and a warm wall of sound. On itself it's not at all a bad piece, not very interesting either but still a worthy song.

Then comes the second track, 'Creation of Light', and what do we find here? This song sounds exactly the same as the first one. The same instruments sound the same(except for the addition of the recorder and synthesizer), the singing goes on with the same monotonous voice and the wall of sound keeps up with almost no variation. It's like listening to a seven minute mediocre song twice in a row.

The third song, 'Transcendence', again comes in with a similar slow, thick vibe, although it does have more prominent drumming that carries the song a bit better. On itself it's one of the better pieces on the album, just because the melodies are lighter and catchier, but it doesn't add much to the album as a whole as it basically just continues with the same sound that is used throughout the rest of it.

'The Sign of Love' is another slowly dragging composition with some interesting spacey effects, some nice acoustic parts and dark synthesizer lines, but for the rest of it it's just another continuation of the boring theme.

Luckily, there is 'Samsara Born'. In this song Craig only uses his voice and acoustic guitar and some sound effects to create a soft, minimal atmosphere. It's a necessary break from the constant wall of sound of the first few songs and has a positive effect on the album. It is, however not very good.

'Beyond The Material World' brings back the wall of sound and makes it thicker than ever before so that it makes for an epic conclusion. It's quite a pleasant song, has more power than the others and could therefore be considered one of the highlights.

Overall, Lamp of the Universe delivers a mediocre, boring release. If you are interested in this artist, I recommend you start with the earlier albums like 'Echo in Light' or 'Heru'. This album is only recommended for you if you are already a fan or desperately need some psych rock. Two stars.

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 From The Mystic Rays Of Astrological Light by LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.00 | 1 ratings

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From The Mystic Rays Of Astrological Light
Lamp Of The Universe Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by ferenc11

— First review of this album —
4 stars I made a review but it has disappeared. Again: although I listened to Amandanaya only, as I don't have the whole album, I can state that this music is ethereal, It reminds me of literary works and worlds of Van Vogt and/or Arthur C. Clarke. The colour of the sound, the effects create the atmosphere of outer space, the Universe. Of course, we must know that in space there is no sound as there is no air to vibrate. Still the illusion is almost overwhelming, at least while listening to this particular sound. Thanks the Lamp of the Universe for this excellent and innovative music. Ferenc, an old Hungarian music lover

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 Echo In Light by LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.67 | 2 ratings

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Echo In Light
Lamp Of The Universe Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The purpose and directionality might already have suited the union of outlooks on music on Lamp Of The Universe enough as a result. All elements the music character that the expression and he with all musical instruments that Craig Williamson does cultivated and to absorb to the expression of the outlook on music and the sound in which the one space is created are blocked.

Lamp Of The Universe and Craig Williamson are consubstantialities. Craig Williamson that started the activity in 1999 takes charge of all musical instruments to introduce the name of "Lamp Of The Universe" into the album as an incarnation. The necessity might have accompanied the expression and the music character as a guess. Role of existence and Craig Williamson of "Datura" to type out directionality of Downer/Stoner Rock in New Zealand. And, it exists about some musicians who have enumerated it as a musician from whom Craig Williamson was influenced. Flavor of Raga Rock that is reminiscent of "Magic Carpet" that joins part of psychedelic and Acid music and "Oriental Sunshine". Or, the music of the same Cranium label as the work group of "Saturnia" known as a band in Portugal is united and the sent music character. It is possible to listen to these elements enough of course also in this album.

The point that should make a special mention as a single unit of this Craig Williamson might be in the point that his outlook on music is obediently expressed. Or, the point that Craig Williamson privately takes charge of all musical instruments to introduce into the recording might be splendid. Introduction of element of electronic sound without staying in simple psychedelic and Raga Rock. Or, the flavor of Acid Folk is introduced. The expression of the song that expands those width might be splendid.

A good guitar in close relation to the flavor of Acid Folk and the repetition of the rhythm will affect "Freedom To Godliness" agreeable. The music character of Craig Williamson is demonstrated enough as for the repetition of the melody in close relation to the union of psychedelic Downer and the Folk music.

As for "Resonance", Raga Rock that takes the element of complete Drone is emphasized. Sitar that repeats a melody of an enchantment song and a heavy melody expresses a good blissout. Ensemble to introduce a guitar that gives an effective sound and an electronic sound effect creates one space.

"Our Celestial Flow" might be a tune established as complete Stoner Rock. Flow of single sound of continuing organ. Or, the Chord progress of the guitar that effectively uses the Wow pedal gives the flavor of complete psychedelic and Downer. When six minutes are passed, the tune constructs the enchantment world further accompanied by the chorus though solo of the guitar continues. There might be a part where the element of Krautrock in the 60's is recollected overall as an impression, too.

"Love" is a tune from which the atmosphere of good Acid Folk is emphasized. A pastoral sound caused by the synthesizer gives a good, transparent feeling. It has the impression that the rhythm of the arpeggio with an acoustic guitar and repeated Conga also gives the relief.

"Pyramids Of Sun" is a tune that Acid Folk and Raga Rock fuse completely. The melody with minor Chord gives the flow of good lyrical. Part of base noise effectively used. Flow that continues pastoral atmosphere while effectively using sound with diversity. Composition of melody that Sitar is good. The gaga part has gone out of the tune strongly as much as possible.

"Dream Sequence" expresses a very modern sound well. Establishment of Oriental melody. Or, an effective sound is processed with the keyboard and the guitar. The blissout continues. When ten minutes are passed, the tune rushes into the chaotic world. Music where without boldly changing the composition with a purpose never continues. I can feel one space even by this tune.

The part where the idea that Craig Williamson cultivated is always expressed attended with the necessity might go out of the music character of "Lamp Of The Universe" strongly.

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 Echo In Light by LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.67 | 2 ratings

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Echo In Light
Lamp Of The Universe Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by danriske

5 stars This is a great sign that true acid rock spacey bands are still in existence. This album certainly takes you to another plane just as krautrock bands have done so well over 30 years before. If only more bands like this were popular today the world might be a better place! Dream Sequence, Freedom to Godliness, Resonance, and Our Celestial Flow are highly reminiscent of such legends as Amon Duul and Popol Vuh. If you enjoy these bands this is a must listen.

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 The Cosmic Union by LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.00 | 2 ratings

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The Cosmic Union
Lamp Of The Universe Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by oliverstoned
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars 3,5 stars

"Lamp of the universe" is a current psychedelic folk/raga rock one-man band. It's one of the very rare current bands which succeed to really sound 70's-like. Most of the time, it's pure psychedelic folk, and at times the guitar evokes Conny Veit's sound from Popol vuh on this first album. Like on the "Earth, spirit & sky" latter album, there's one piece which clearly emerges from the whole ("Freedom in Your Mind"). Leaded by a fabulous psychedelic guitar, this slightly heavy piece is very hendrixian in nature and makes the whole album worth. Without knowing, impossible to tell that this piece is from a current band. Impressive!

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 Earth, Spirit & Sky CD by LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.50 | 2 ratings

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Earth, Spirit & Sky CD
Lamp Of The Universe Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by oliverstoned
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars 3,5 stars

Very good current psyche-folk with acoustic guitar, sitar, tabla and (average) vocals. The « Earth, Spirit, and Sky » eponym piece is an absolute masterpiece featuring fantastic wah wah guitar, completly out of time and able to compete with the best 70's psychedelic progressive. The rest of the album is more homogeneous, leaded by flute and sitar, supported by a repetitive rhythm on acoustic guitar. An great current band !

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 Earth, Spirit & Sky CD by LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.50 | 2 ratings

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Earth, Spirit & Sky CD
Lamp Of The Universe Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A ravishing album by this little New Zealand musical formation. Fans of dreamy "acid folk" mixed with eastern raga instrumentation this album is definitely for you. The music is much more acoustic and ethereal than the previous spacey rock offerings. The music is dominated by introspective and calm acoustic guitars, plaintive harmony vocals and tribal percussions. The floating & bucolic electric guitar solos remind me Popol Vuh (at their most progressive rock hours). The music is very relaxing, delivering a kind of exotic psycho- atmospheric "trip", without becoming ambient and new age. Some tracks deliver continuums, minimalist, repetitive tones and motifs, giving a sacred, spiritual dimension to the ensemble. I've rarely listened to so much beauty and melancholy in recent progressive releases. Highly recommended for those who like sincerity, beauty in music and the perfect combination between East/West harmonies.

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Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition. and to Tuzvihar for the last updates

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