Listen to the LA-based mystic's debut album in full and read his take on the thought and technique behind it.
Vinyl Williams, composer, collage artist and performer, is readying the release of his first album ‘Lemniscate’ next week on the 13th of November, after a string of singles and EPs that have drawn comparisons with popular touchstones like Ariel Pink and Oneohtrix Point Never. The 22 year old’s music ranges from blurred cosmic rumblings to light-flecked pop, and is backed by a broader artistic philosophy taking in Egyptian architecture, spontaneous composition and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
If you, like us, have to look up the word “lemniscate”, we’ve got the story from the horse’s mouth alongside the album stream below.
Hi, Vinyl Williams! For those who don’t know you, could you introduce yourself?
I’m Lionel Everett Williams attorney at law.
When and how did you start making music?
It began when I had something to live for. When I was 8 a Mormon child jumped on my head. My first day of school in Utah. Afterwards the thought of religious dissonance marinated in my mind for about 2 years. At around age 10 I discovered drums, leaving the paired down piano regurgitation of Titanic’s “My Heart Will Go On” behind. I could hit things – as things have hit me, inanimate and animate things alike.
How would you describe your sound?
Worldly things heard by unworldly ears, the instinctual harmony driving the palm tree proto-engine of a space rocket, shaped similar to a haunted mansion, space cruisin’ towards sacred isles in outer space in order to open your mind to the inner kingdom of teal and gold. Celestial grassy hills watch you closely in extra-sensory dreams while you mirror dance within a dominion over an ignorant multitude. You may appear as kings, gods, to a gaze of a vision restored to its simplest form.
Could you talk us through the themes behind ‘Lemniscate’?
I’m not too sure how the themes ended up, how they arrived. Lemniscate is heavily inspired by Lucretius’ ‘On The Nature Of Things’, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ‘Nature’ and Alan Watts’ ‘Wisdom of Insecurity’. These books contain spacey explanations of what’s here in front of our eyes, which happens to be quite narrow. We see within one octave of the visual, red does not repeat to infrared within our sight, unlike sound which has nine to ten octaves within our perception. I was interested in creating synesthetic environments that transfer between visual and sound, that provide personal insights into what’s beyond our spectrum of perception. When the senses become interrelated, a person can become closer to understanding their unique version of the inexplicable forms of the unknown.
How would you describe the relationship between your visual art and your music?
They’re the same planet, the same essential expression. They’re vital to each other.
Is there a distinction between what you feel you can express as an artist and as a composer? Do you think of the two as separate or overlapping?
My collages and videos are compositions just as my songs are artworks. I go about both in a somewhat non-performative way, I try and let the medium carry its own performance rather than adding too much “human” in the mixture. I’d rather create worlds, similar to our own, but through the scope of something like an extra-terrestrial. Spontaneity is a main aspect in both artworks and sounds… I regularly find myself improvising on top of previous improvisations, which creates the result of a song. Collages come into being without any pre-supposed compositional idea. The compositional variables, such as blissfulness, come naturally through this highly irrational approach, through my essence, less tainted and filtered. In this way there’s not much of a definitive message I’m deliberately stating, only my fundamental self in its raw form.
What was the process of writing the album like for you?
At the time I was dungeoneering at 8,000ft elevation in a Swiss-Mormon village in Utah. I would sit in my dark smoke-filled studio space, jetting out improvisations and loose forms until, after a while, strange pop songs emerged. Certain songs developed over the course of a couple years, and others were made in a night. The majority of writing began in the summer of 2011. I became a little annoyed with latter-day art, being so much less glorious, intense, and rich – it is not without the compensation of truth. I was more interested in discovering inexplicable in-between sounds which are far from truths.
What’s next for you?
Vinyl Williams is a kind of therapy, for me and hopefully for others. I wrote an article for Kinki Mag in Switzerland about Egyptian Biogeometry, a newly re-invented science of ancient Egyptian healing architecture, symbols, and vibrations. I’m most interested in getting away from subjective art-world grotesqueness and entering into a functional pragmatic form of artwork, which would affect others in a beneficial way. What’s next is to study Biogeometry at the Vesica Institute in North Carolina in order to learn more about the vibrational engineering of ancient Egypt and how it could apply to artworks of any form, in order to uplift society, on an individual and collective level.