catalog number: AE1
title: Baby Labyrinthian
status: out of print
The first enigmatic release by Lucid. It begins with "A Question" and continues with answers (like
"Entrust Not In The Illusory" and "Open Your Eyes, Now Open The Door") that lead to even more
questions. Lucid's music can be described as a unique dream-like blend of genteel musique
concrete-oriented songs and instrumentals. The instrumentation ranges from traditonal
instruments to toy instruments, found objects, and discovered sounds.
THE WIRE (DECEMBER 1994)
Lucid was presented to me as 'ambient from Seattle' (frightening enough). It contains 31 pieces of
engaging, poignant musing. I guess if you took L7 or Nirvana and forced them to play underwater at
the threshold of audibility, it could sound like this. Lots of somnambulistic guitar and tentative
vocalizing in a bath of wooly lo-tech recorded sounds. If a luddite fetish with analogue sound and
low resolution vinyl is part of the zeitgeist, then Baby Labyrinthian could be the millenial album!
There are some quirkiness - but Lucid lacks the generous humour and ebullience of Faust. I like
this album a lot, though it does exude a kind of viscous lethargy which, after 75 minutes, has
sucked you into near immobility. (Paul Schutze)
THE BIG TAKEOVER Issue 38 (1995)
Airy and haunting, Seattle's Lucid combine tape loops with sparse instrumentation and vaporous
voices. Each remarkable track is built from a sonic element such as birdsong, hushed prayer, or
amorphous mumbling, around which the band spins it's fragile spell. The closest comparison
might be a dreamy fusion of Loveliescrushing, His Name Is Alive, and Pram. But Lucid is in a class
of it's own. Sometimes so quiet that they melt gracefully into the background; these ghostly strains
would be an ideal soundtrack for the Brothers Quay or Jan Svankmajer. There is an enchanted
atmosphere to this album, as if to speak would be to break the band's mesmerizing hex.
Unfortunately, Lucid threatens these charms by offering a delicate, but more conventional song on
the last track. It's a strangely common ending for such an uncommon album. (Gil Gershman)
PANDEMONIUM (JUNE 1995)
Made up of seven people who play everything from guitar and bass to zither, they concoct an
extremely varied and interesting batch of sounds. Their debut, Baby Labyrinthian, has 31 cuts on it -
and it's a single disc. The tracks are pretty short, unlike your typical ambient release, so they're
great for those with small attention spans or little time. But Lucid's best asset is it's collective
mentality. The project was completed over a year's time, with various members apparently coming
and going at will. It may sound like blibberblubber to you, but believe me, it's way more engrossing
than a lot of things I've heard lately, and that's why I'm telling you about it here, even though it's been
out for close to a year. (Marshall Gooch)
ALTERNATIVE PRESS (MARCH 1996)
Lucid ignore most of rock's conventions, drfting into a hazy area between dream pop and
isolationism. Baby Labyrinthian is a retreat into a private netherworld as mysterious as the dark
side of Pluto. Muted instruments and voices swirl, burble, and murmer in gray and umber tones.
Lucid sound at once ancient and fresh. I think I've heard the future of music...or did I dream it?
OPUS ZINE (DECEMBER 2000)
Although I’ve known about this album for a long time, it’s only been recently that I was able to
acquire it. And I’ve found this to be one of the more compelling releases that I’ve recently
purchased. What Lucid is able to do in the 75 minutes of this CD is create some of most
interesting experimental ambience I’ve ever heard. Distant radio transmissions combine with the
creakings and groanings of old ships, spacey strings and bells compete with baby-like voices, and
ghostly rhythms provide an undercurrent for a very spooky, yet comforting collection of songs.
Of everything I own, I could most easily compare this to His Name Is Alive’s “Home Is In Your
Head.” However, Lucid completely latches onto the experimental side of HNIA’s interesting blend of
experimental noise and pop music. At times, I hear Lovesliescrushing at their mellowest and most
distant times, or Flying Saucer Attacks less noisy meanderings. However, Lucid really has a sound
all their own, and they use everything, including the kitchen sink and the dirty dishes inside, for their
compositions. There’s a minimalist ethic here, but one that’s weaved so deftly that it’s hardly
noticeable; in other words, a lot happens within the music here, but it’s so quiet and understated
that if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss it. It’s not uncommon to hear samples of songbirds
and what sounds like pedestrians and passing traffic mixed in with soft acoustic guitars,
electronics, and sparse drumbeats. There are so many sounds present on this recording, and
many that I can’t even begin to identify. And everything is covered in echo and reverb and other
effects to give it a very distant, intangible, and spectral sense.
Above it all glides the voices. Two female vocalists are credited, Rebecca Bird and Melody
Rockwell. Their vocals are delivered in soft, haunting whispers that are echoed and fuzzed out until
they sound like distant A.M. radio transmissions coming in at 2:30 in the morning. Or maybe like
the ghosts in your house trying to communicate with you through an ancient victrola. The effect is
often quite unsettling, like on “Doomedah,” where the vocalist softly repeats that word over
songbirds and distant churchbells. But I don’t find it displeasing at all. In fact, it also sounds quite
This album hints at the point where you lie between sleeping and waking, where you can just start
to sense the real world, but where you’re still aware of the subconscious goings-on of your mind.
Lucid’s music doesn’t seem to paint any pictures of the real world, but rather pictures of that world
while your still half-asleep and of your dreams as they slowly fade away in the minutes after waking
up. Song titles like “Of The Miniscule Incubus,” “Mine On I And Mirror The Of Side Your On You,”
“Bend And Wither Like A Flame,” and “Entrust Not In The Illusory” just add to this flavor.
At 31 tracks and almost 75 minutes of material, there’s bound to be some less than stellar
material that bogs one down, but the interest I had in this album far outweighs any downside. With
each track clocking in under 4 minutes, the album seems composed of fragments, mere pieces of
songs, often too short for you to latch onto. Sometimes the songs cut short too suddenly, it seems.
Other times, they seem to drag on forever. If you don’t like experimental music or music that shuns
your regular pop music mindsets, stay faraway from this album. “Baby Labyrinthian” is an
incredible example of using environmental recordings, traditional instruments, electronics, and the
human voice to create illusory and dreamy recordings. This is an album that I expect I’ll be
scrutinizing for some time to come. (Jason Morehead)
ALL MUSIC GUIDE (2000)
The first release on the mysterious and well-worthy AE label from the Seattle area, Lucid's debut
album, Baby Labyrinthian, captures the hushed, dark power that the company became known for
over it's short striking history. With plenty of overlap between the musicians here and those in After
The Flood --- one somehow appears to be a spin-off project of the other --- the two acts share a
similar aesthetic of fragmented, minimal pop/ambient explorations. While the relative accessibility
can inform similar acts like early His Name Is Alive or Black Tape For A Blue Girl, there's little in the
way of direct melodic hooks and much more mood-setting and careful arranging of low-key
elements throughout. Echoing creaks and mechanic clanks, slowly phased loops of sound behind
slightly distorted vocals, deep, low rumbling drum sounds, and more, help to make up this lengthy
album --- 31 songs over 74 minutes. Dale Lloyd, the more or less prime mover in After The Flood,
also plays a large range of instruments here, but again the exact creative role of anyone in the
collective --- seven performers total are credited --- is obscured in favor of the overall presentation.
There are some slightly more straightforward parts --- the guitar/vocal interplay of "Forgive If I
Forget", although kept low in the mix, or the more upfront but still incredibly delicate "I Overheard".
While the whole album is arguably of a piece, there are a number of individual moments worth
considering --- the cryptic moan/howl on "Ignite The Foresight" followed by the ebb and flow of
shivering, nervous sound on "Of The Miniscule Incubus", the creeped-out wail and church organ
collage of "But I Never Wept", the murky wash of "Know How It Had Come To Be Born".
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