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)

Credits

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

Read Reviews

  • 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

  • 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.
    Boomkat

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