Lifeblood of Light and Rapture, 2021

— Album

On Lifeblood Of Light And Rapture, Los Angeles artist Yann Novak contours a phosphorescent listening experience that shimmers with a hazy glow; like neon in fog. Each piece bares his trademarked sense of patience and unerring harmony, but more so than any previous editions Novak opens up the presence of these elements to create a more absorbing sensibility. A Biochemical Cascade captures the experience in a snapshot, as gentle eruptions of harmony fold and melt over the top of one another, each eruption seemingly more luminous than the wave before it. The result is a wholly consuming sense of tidal ecstasy.

Notes on Lifeblood of Light and Rapture from Yann Novak…

When I began working on Lifeblood of Light and Rapture I was thinking a lot about both my personal and society’s tendencies towards nihilism. When I was in grade school, I was taught that 2020 would be the turning point in our collective fight against climate change—that if we did not change by then, there would be no turning back. After learning this at a young age, I watched helplessly as little was done to save the planet. It made me certain that I would not live to see past 2020. It was this moment in my childhood, along with so many other experiences in the 80s and 90s, that led me to a hedonistic coming of age. I pursued anything that would transport me away from the darkness in the world and its inevitable doom. 

Now that 2020 has come and gone, I have the luxury of hindsight. I can look back and see that so many of my decisions were made not to destroy myself, but in order to self-medicate. In my teens and twenties, the world was a difficult place to inhabit, but I could use chemicals and other distractions to cope. Similarly, as it turns out, this is also the story of the industrial, technological, and digital revolutions. Even though the intention of these eras was to make the world an easier place to live in, most of the progress attributed to them over the last two centuries has directly contributed to the climate crisis. On Lifeblood of Light and Rapture, I wanted to explore this parallel—that so many of the things we do to try and make this world livable also contribute to its destruction.  

Formally, this album follows the path I set out on with Slowly Dismantling. I sought to express myself in a more immediate and honest way through the use of digital and analog synthesis. With Lifeblood of Light and Rapture, I built upon this same path; but I also tried to imagine the listening experience over the process of making it, focusing solely on the pure pleasure of listening. I hope this record breaks that cycle, that it can achieve its intended purpose of bringing light into the world without causing any damage.

Track Listing

  1. Dark, Perplexing, Ruptures of Plane
  2. A Biochemical Cascade
  3. The Ecstasy of Annihilation
  4. Silence Will Hang in the Air (When We Are Gone)


Composed by Yann Novak December 2020.
Mastered by Lawrence English at Negative Space.

Read Reviews

  • Headphone Commute’s Best of 2021: Music For Bending Light And Stopping Time

  • 2021 in Review: Ambient & Drone
    Lifeblood of Light and Rapture is an eminently listenable sonic journey that demonstrates Yann Novak’s masterful command of texture, harmony, and atmospheric sound design, but it is also a profound meditation on what the artist sees as his own and society’s tendencies toward nihilism. While this accounts for the brooding nature of the drones that rumble in the albums deeper strata, ultimately it is translucent and ethereal nature of its upper layers that allows it to elude its ballast and stretch toward the light.
    Stationary Travels

  • Serial ambient producer Yann Novak’s music is a cathartic exercise for him. Slowly Dismantling, his previous album for Room40, dealt with impermanence and identity; this collection of compositions is meant to overcome a twisted sort of fatalism. Ironically, the actions we take to escape the destructive tendencies of our own species often lead to the destruction of our own minds and bodies. Novak sees the hedonistic escape of his past reflected in humanity’s reliance on technology and its various distractions today. It’s a very salient viewpoint, especially considering that certain social media channels have recently come under fire for poisoning our youth in the name of profit. Sonically, the four extended pieces that Novak offers are far more hopeful. He synthesizes organ-like chords that waft in bright, colorful patterns. This isn’t necessarily cheerful music, but it is the almost sanguine antidote to the gloominess of Ravedeath, 1972-era Tim Hecker. With Lifeblood of Light and Rapture, Novak intended to shine a little light in a time of almost insurmountable negativity, and he has succeeded.
    — Bryon Hayes, Dusted Magazine Vol. 10, No. 7

  • With synthesized tones acting as long, expressive brush strokes, artist Yann Novak crafts a vivid image of sound in motion with Lifeblood of Light and Rapture. Often times like skyscrapers peaking through the fog, his latest plays like a slowly unfolding storm just distant enough to give the listener an illusion of safety, but close enough that one feels that being swept off one’s feet is inevitable. A great mix of dense and open, Lifeblood pays off the patient listener.

    Somewhere in between ambient and film score, Yann Novak’s Lifeblood of Light and Rapture brings the listener on a sonic journey – slowly and assuredly. Composed of four long-form tracks, this album makes the most of its time and space, with interlocking and interplaying layers rising and falling like timelapsed clouds in a cityscape. Using nebulous tones, Novak is able to roll out base layers that can move at different speeds – some glacial, some quick – causing the auditory illusion of added motion and movement. Oscillations work in tandem to create rolling peaks and valleys which accentuate the higher, brighter layers, which work as a lead instrument. On the whole, each piece works with the other three to build a complete movement, all the while keeping its own identity. Similarities exist, yes, but the highlights are formed with different structures, colors, and hues, giving the overall product a vibrant dimension. Often, being in nature can feel like a religious experience, and there is a connection between that and certain soundscapes as well. The meditative, reflective nature allows the listener to go to places traditional music won’t allow, and the end result is far greater than just a listening experience. The fourth song, “Silence Will Hang in the Air (When We Are Gone),” plays off of this (albeit coincidentally) and the organ-like notes bring about the feeling of sitting in a cathedral during a high mass. Cinematic at times, Lifeblood constructs a lot without using too much, and evokes myriad feelings with its sweeping highs and slowly ambulating lows.

    With its genesis in the mix of machines and the climate crisis, it’s no wonder Lifeblood feels like a combination of man-made structures juxtaposing rolling clouds and air. What was designed to help has in turn started to hurt. Novak’s latest is an intriguing listen that unfolds further and further with each listen.
    —Paul Casey, Music Machine Magazine

  • In the middle of the night, that’s when it hits hardest. The embrace of emptiness; the cold internal monologues that can’t be easily switched off; divergent paths, all leading to the same fate. When these thoughts pervade and overwhelm, the journey back toward the light is long, difficult. Yann Novak’s Lifeblood of Light and Rapture captures this moment of clarity where we push back and attempt to traverse the razor-sharp tightrope.

    Novak’s sound design is always first-rate. The tones across Lifeblood of Light and Rapture are glassine yet warm. “The Ecstasy of Annihilation” shimmers like light refracting over water, gently hovering in wide-open spaces, the synthetic chords in constant slow-motion. Obscured, distorted layers rise and fill in the blanks, never burying the crystalized sonics, but finding alluring ways to exist in harmony. Held close, “The Ecstacy of Annihilation” breaks down the last walls holding us back.

    Coalescing toward the final passage before dawn returns, “Silence Will Hang in the Air (When We Are Gone)” is a welcoming sonic hug. Novak stretches the palette into viscous aural fluctuations that, again, bring these two complementary components into something bigger, something brighter. Centered amongst the floating reverie are feelings of hope and relief; an acknowledgment of the long, inhospitable journey to find a soft place in the sun.

    Destructive forces are constantly at work, looking for holes in our resolve, but Novak’s music echoes a determination to persevere. Lifeblood of Light and Rapture is all about equilibrium, whether it’s the sonic elements he so beautifully balances or the holistic darkness that exists and will always be part of us, staying in check so that a brighter tomorrow can eventually rise from the mountain of ash we’ve created.
    — Brad Rose, Foxy Digitalis

  • The music of LA based queer interdisciplinary artist and composer Yann Novak is really quite difficult to pin down with its deep rumblings, periodic musical tones and gorgeous warm drones.

    He speaks of this album being an exploration of the irony “that so many of the things we do to try and make this world liveable also contribute to its destruction.” Yet despite a certain sense of melancholy this is not an album without hope, it’s gentle, ambient, with many of its ingredients ill defined and coming out as different pitched oscillating drones. It’s not clear what the sounds are or where they came from, but it feels like manipulation has occurred, that sounds have been slowed or pitched down and carefully EQ’d. There’s the appearance of movement, yet he may be using loops, so in a sense it feels like it’s constantly moving but perhaps not really going anywhere. This is very much music about immersion. All the pieces are at over 7 minutes giving the listener plenty of time to inhabit them.

    In terms of instrumentation, timbre and compositional decisions, everything feels marvellously ill defined. It seems to hint at so much yet never really comes into the light. Often much of the music feels like a faded memory from another room, yet then some of the higher frequencies come in, such as on the album showstopper ‘The Ecstasy of Annihilation’, and it feels like we’re in almost post rock territory – with a strong detour in sound design. Is spiritual sound art a thing? It’s easy to link a track like this back to his central premise, because there’s something so seductive, so satisfying about the piece’s trajectory, the endorphin rush of the steady ecstatic and possibly destructive noise – regardless of the fact that it threatens to obscure the other elements of the piece, or possibly destroy the piece altogether. It seems to say enjoy the here and now and to hell with the consequences.

    This is not what you would call pure ambient music, this is not designed to colour a room, rather its music designed for immersion and your full attention. It’s actually quite provocative, complex and even contradictory at times – which is incredible given its limited ingredients and use of slow oscillating drones. It’s also incredibly beautiful, incredibly controlled and incredibly compelling. A remarkable work.
    — Bob Baker Fish, Cyclic Defrost

  • Geduld ist eine wichtige Tugend, auch beim Genuss der Musik von Yann Novak. Mit seinen Kompositionen und Alben erörtert der Künstler aus Los Angeles immer wieder die grosse Ruhe, die langsamen Verschiebungen und bedrohlichen Drones. „Lifeblood of Light and Rapture“ hantiert mit diesen Zutaten und untersucht die nihilistischen Tendenzen, welche vermehrt in unseren Gesellschaften auftauchen. Die Sounds bleiben formal in der Nähe zum Album „Slowly Dismantling“ und bieten persönliche Einblicke.

    „A Biochemical Cascade“ oder „The Ecstasy of Annihilation“ lassen als Tracktitel die Intentionen erahnen, die Ambient-Musik bleibt düster und langsam. Ohne die Platte in lautem Getöse auseinanderbrechen zu lassen, zeigt Yann Novak Sorgen und bedenkenerregende Tendenzen auf. Sich selbst konnte der Musiker in den schwierigen Zeiten zwar auf die richtigen Bahnen lenken, global gesehen wurde es keinen Deut besser. Laut gewisse Passagen auf „Lifeblood of Light and Rapture“, als angebrachte Aufrüttelung.

    Mit dem vierten und letzten Stück „Silence Will Hang in the Air (When We Are Gone)“ tritt die fatalistische Gewissheit ins Zentrum, ein Beweis dafür, dass die Klänge von Yann Novak ohne Menschen am besten funktionieren. Man streift damit durch leere Gebiete, unverdorbene Konstrukte und aufkeimende Hoffnungen. Dann nämlich wird der vorangegangene Lärm logisch, als Läuterung, als Reinigung.
    — Michael Bohli, ARTNOIR

  • Yann Novak è musicista assai prolifico, dismessa da qualche anno la sua Dragon’s Eye Recordings, ha inciso in seguito per svariate etichette. Questo se non erro è il suo secondo titolo su Room 40, l’etichetta di Lawrence English, dopo “Slowly Dismantling” del 2019. “Lifeblood of Light and Rapture” vive così secondo le sue intenzioni in quella linea parallela per cui le cose che proviamo a fare per rendere questo mondo vivibile, allo stesso tempo contribuiscono alla sua distruzione. Ed è così che in quattro lunghe tracce di ambient espansa egli prova ad immaginare l’esperienza dell’ascolto al di là del processo di crearlo, concentrandosi sul puro piacere dell’ascolto. A Biochemical Cascade e The Ecstasy of Annihilation sembrano dargli ragione di questo intento che è anche nobile sentimento. Tra le lontane derive di Dunwich Beach di Brian Eno e i dronescapes di Abul Mogard ci può stare anche un Yann Novak, con le dovute distanze.
    — Gino Dal Soler, Blow Up Magazine

  • LA’s arch ambient producer Yann Novak supplies a solemn and immersively diaphanous elegy for environmental collapse upon return to Room 40.

    The usually prolific artist appears to have slowed the release schedule and gotten deeper into his sound in recent years, with ‘Lifeblood of Light and Rapture’ marking a new high water mark of his catalogue. Inspired by the formative teaching that 2020 would be a point of no return for the environment, Novak models his thoughts in noctilucent clouds of textured harmonies and glistening filaments, keeping everything just outta reach but with a deeply brooding presence.

  • Artiste interdisciplinaire et compositeur installé à Los Angeles, Yann Novak produit des albums numériques assez courts. Comme j’avais manqué l’un des précédents, il sera abordé à la suite de Reflections of a Gathering Storm qui vient de sortir.  Pour ce dernier, Yann Novak précise qu’il souhaitait explorer le sentiment nébuleux d’instabilité et d’insécurité qui semble imprégner actuellement nos vies. Aussi a-t-il cherché à se rendre vulnérable sur cet enregistrement. Il a associé des sons synthétisés à des enregistrements de sa propre voix, essayant de chanter. Les morceaux tentent de faire écho à cette délicate précarité, comme si nous étions au bord de l’effondrement. Les titres des trois titres renvoient à cette expérience particulière : un tremblement de lumière / la partie d’elle qui pouvait ressentir avait disparu / le frisson de la destruction imminente.

    C’est une musique électronique ambiante mouvante, grondante, comme une nébuleuse (en effet) en voyage, avec des attaques particulaires vibrantes, chargées de drones. Le monde vacille sur sa base, la lumière tremble (titre 1). Un chant, à peine un chant dans le lointain des nuages de drones dans lesquels tournent des spirales noires. Un orgue ne parvient plus à diffuser ses nappes, déchirées et froissées, hachées, il n’en reste que des bribes menacées, cernées (titre 2). Quel frisson monte ? Quelque chose d’énorme est sur le point d’éclore, de tout recouvrir. Angoisse somptueuse… et soudain une poussée formidable de lumière trouble, la venue du cataclysme, sur les bords du ravage, comme un bateau au sommet de l’entonnoir du maëlstrom. On ne peut que se laisser glisser, happer par l’envoûtante douceur mortelle.

    Beauté noire de ces joyaux ambiants!
    Inactuelles, musiques singulières