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Lumen



Lumen is a new Bay Area quartet featuring members of local notables Tarentel and A Minor Forest. Those familiar with the aforementioned groups can expect to hear some familiar sounds in Lumen's wandering, amorphous instrumentals -- a bit of A Minor Forest's harsh math rock edginess and a bit of Tarentel's drifting, atmospheric epic sensibility.

There's other stuff here, too. A wildly intricate acoustic guitar recalls John Fahey's folk-inspired experimental work, giving the music a strange, exotic flavor. That's enhanced by the occasional appearance of a poignantly mournful accordion. Lumen also lays down some very strange and complicated rhythms, using a standup bass and polyrhythmic, proggy percussion.

Sometimes sparse, sometimes stunningly complex for a quartet, Lumen's unbounded instrumentals make for a powerful, challenging listen. The group released its first album, the man felt an iron hand (that's the abbreviated title; it's actually the man felt an iron hand grasp him by the hair, at the nape, not one hand, a hundred hands seized him, each by the hair, and tore him head to foot, the way you tear up a sheet of paper, into hundreds of little pieces), in early 2001. The songs on the record have no titles as they disappear into one another, but presented here are the album's first and third cuts.