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Vinyl Williams - Brunei


Aug 26th, 2016

Vinyl Williams’ Brunei expresses an otherworldly vision of the land of the same name. As a child, Lionel Williams (a.k.a. Vinyl Williams) was fascinated by the appearance of the Brunei dollar. The translucent, rainbow, and prismatic piece of currency looks the way Lionel’s music sounds. This piece of polymer sparked a curiosity in Lionel, which inspired the development of a mysterious civilization centered around pure harmony. Years later, with this record, Lionel explores the idea alongside a new knowledge of Brunei, “The Abode Of Peace.” This album uses lush, Islam-influenced pop music to spread harmonious qualities with the world, to ultimately benefit the human psyche & physiology.

“This album is an impression of Brunei at an immaculate state of being,” Lionel says. Despite its quality of life being ranked highly among Islamic nations, horrific laws exist to severely punish non-heteronormative behavior. “For a place that masquerades as ‘heaven on Earth,’ we must expose such ugly hegemony, through the latent reflection of their most ultimate civilized potential.” Lyrically, the album is written mainly from the perspective of an incorporeal being from Xol, the gravity cluster orbiting the star Alnilam (the center of the Orion constellation), which represents purely harmonious patterns.

Brunei opens as if at the birth of a new galaxy with the cosmically tranquil “Ion,” which seamlessly transitions to the insistent krautrock of “Riddles Of The Sphinx.” That track’s refrain, “try to understand,” marks a universal struggle. Across the album, the songs use a process of Arabic quarter-tone vocal techniques, layered on top of stretched-out jazz chords and quick-driving beats. The center of Brunei is a treasure of aural delights. “Celestial Gold’s” full-bodied world flies around with a pillow of synthesizer sounds that move like clouds in the wind. Company Records label head and Toro Y Moi/Les Sins mastermind Chaz Bundick recorded “Evol” at his Berkeley studio with Lionel and guitarist Ian Gibbs. “I think we played every synthesizer that Chaz owns on that one song,” Lionel says, laughing. “Voidless,” a Hawkwind-like improvisational track, was elevated with the help of Medicine’s Brad Laner. The shoegaze icon added four-part vocal harmonies and a fuzzy synth part to complete the song.

Lionel wrote and recorded the entire album in one month. To compose, “I get into a state of mind that is beyond control or knowing, and I let myself be free,” Lionel says. “On this new album, I tried to take as many risks as possible to represent my mental architectural spaces that are inconceivably vast and ever-changing.” Undoubtedly, the tones of Brunei will continue to reverberate far beyond our hearing, traveling light years into the future—perhaps even arriving at Xol.

1) Ion
2) Riddles Of The Sphinx
3) Feedback Delicates
4) L’Quasar
5) Celestial Gold
6) Evol
7) Voidless
8) Mercurial Vestiges
9) The Presence Of Absence
10) Emerald Isle
11) Aboroun


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• Publicity by SweissPR
• College radio promotion by Terrorbird
• Opening for Temples this fall
• Recently collaborated with The Flaming Lips, Ke$ha, Eryka Badu and Ariel Pink on HOTT MT / Vinyl Williams EP
• Drummer in Morgan Delt’s (Sub Pop) band
• Deluxe LP pressed on turquoise vinyl
• Vinyl includes free digital download

Vinyl Williams Website
Vinyl Williams Facebook
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Deluxe LP: 677517300444
Regular LP: 677517300413
Cassette: 677517300437
Digital: 677517300451

LA-based Lionel Williams is an internationally exhibited visual artist and musician who’s been releasing music under his Vinyl Williams alias since 2010. As a result of experiencing religious and cultural dissonance growing up in the state of Utah, Williams reacts by creating dream worlds of religious and cultural harmony. It’s through his art—both musical, visual, and the music videos he’s directed for bands like Tears for Fears and Unknown Mortal Orchestra—that Williams projects himself well beyond the stasis of his youth, his metaphysical dream worlds in constant forward motion, with ancient mystical symbols, utopian architecture and exotic locales all enveloped in a rippling, VHS haze of psychedelia. These worlds are uniquely William’s own.

For his third full-length album, Williams explores a world both real and imaginary. Brunei, his second LP for Company Records, follows the flight of an incorporeal being from Xol, the gravity cluster orbiting the star Alnilam, the center of the Orion constellation. The record explores the ideals of peace and harmony with maximal pop tones, shoegaze textures, and krautrock rhythms. The album features collaborations with Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bundick and Medicine’s Brad Laner.

Vinyl Williams began releasing music in 2010 and following a handful of well-received EPs and singles, his debut album, Lemniscate, appeared in late 2012. Following a South Korean tour with Toro Y Moi, Williams and Bundick collaborated on the Trance Zen Dental Spa EP. Released in late 2014 via BitTorrent (to date it has been downloaded more than one million times), Williams and Bundick weaved sound and visuals together into a highly psychedelic, interactive music experience. In 2015, Vinyl Williams’ second full-length, Into, saw his dreamy avant-pop become something more lucid, with his deliberately smeared musical brushstrokes utilizing far more vivid colors.

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