Limbs of the Stars
An extended electric guitar and cello piece originally composed as part of an immersive exhibit featuring photos of British Columbia’s West Coast by Wallace Barber, Somewhere, BC is a place of mist-cloaked, muted magic.
Originally composed as part of an immersive exhibit featuring photos by Wallace Barber of British Columbia’s West Coast, Somewhere, BC is a place of mist-cloaked, muted magic.
Performed on electric guitar and cello, the long form piece was written as Lyons filled his studio with projections of Barber’s photos and worked towards an understated vocabulary of sounds and subsumed, greyscale motifs to complement the tone of the photographic works.
Slow-paced and gently shifting, the piece is propulsive at the same time. Cello rolls through like deep fog, while a range of guitar techniques (percussion, metallic bowing, etc) create an absorbing 43+ minute soundscape.
Stephen Lyons - guitar Shanto Acharia - cello
Photos by Wallace Barber https://www.instagram.com/barberw13/
"Somewhere, BC" was composed, produced, and engineered by Stephen Lyons. Additional engineering for cello, mixing and mastering by Rob Malowany.
© 2018 Offseason Arts / Stephen Lyons
LIMBS OF THE STARS – SELECTED PRESS QUOTES
“Limbs Of The Stars are probably one of the most talented groups of musicians currently residing in Western Canada, let alone Vancouver…the level of virtuosity exuding from Stephen Lyons and Skye Brooks (guitar and drums, respectively) alone was palpable to anyone who had ever sat down with an instrument before. Borrowing members from Fond of Tigers, the foursome eke out a sound one part experimental freestyle jazz and two parts pure fun, and their set earned most of its enjoyment from seeing the intensity and joy with which the musicians plied their equipment for sound, with particular props to Lyons’ ridiculously masterful whole-body guitar solos. Something about seeing musicians of this magnitude jam right in front of you is pretty damn awe-inspiring.” – Discorder, December 2012
“While FoT’s ’70s prog-jazz-meets-avant-rock template is still roughly in place, there’s more romanticism evident here, including a folky/alt-country element, courtesy of Lyons’s plaintive, introspective vocals. See “no more sinners” and “us vs. them” especially: most of the album is instrumental, but there are a couple honest-to-God songs here. Lyons’s guitar doesn’t so much defy genre as employ it at will, making artful, evocative journeys of each track.” – Georgia Straight
“Headed by jazz-rock crossover mastermind Stephen Lyons, Limbs of the Stars arranged themselves in a horseshoe so they could not only look up and feed off of each other, as many improv players do, but it also allowed Lyons to conduct the quartet from behind his guitar and mess of pedals. Diving right into a mix of jazz, folk, and turn-of-the-century indie rock accented with flourishes of New Weird America, the humble ensemble played slow building jams, such as “Film Song,” that gave way to indulgent soloing while keeping the audience engaged. As the set drew on, Lyons feverishly instructed the remaining trio between guitar caterwauls and delay loops on the rollicking “Us Vs Them.” While the six-song set seemed condensed, nearly an hour had passed before the band thanked the crowd who awoke from their trance, mingled awhile, and proceeded into the night.” – Discorder, September 2014
“The first thing you notice is that the chaos is far more controlled in this act. This doesn’t mean that the music is any less intense…Another excellent album from a very talented bunch.” – The Province
“Heartwarmongering’s strength is its pensive moments (No Reward, Falling For Falling’s Sake, No More Sinners), which let the mind wander along to Lyons’ vulnerable voice and lyrics. The album ends on a propulsive note, the moody Us vs. Them turning into Cosby, a gloriously raucous combo finale in the vein of post-rock favourites like Slint and Mogwai.” – Vancouver Sun
“Songs like the eight-minute instrumental ambush of “Cosby,” Limbs of the Stars don’t seem so much interested in creating a template for hypnotic space rock, as much as carving their own cranny in these frequented, yet fantastical, shores. There are some haunting and high-flown flashes throughout Heartwarmongering, an album title that is both cheeky and cryptic. Vocalist Stephen Lyons has a volatile mien, but he doesn’t dominate anywhere, and seems happy to be buried in the haze a lot of the time. In “Film Song,” for instance, his vocal-delivery is malleable and quietly sinister, allowing the cinematic quality of the track to kindle casually. In “Heartwarmongering No. 1,” Shanto Acharia’s cello acts as a sort of phantasmal force and Skye Brooks’ drums fill in pale and prolonged spaces, as if to score a taut and terrifying giallo picture like a delicate Dario Argento (if there is such a thing). It’s challenging music for some, perhaps, as it sprawls in many mannered directions, but for the adventurous, Heartwarmongering offers up some shadow-shrouded riches.” – Discorder, January 2013
“Stephen Lyons is the mastermind behind many of Vancouver’s most compelling music projects, and often some of the most strange and beautiful as well. Limbs of the Stars are all these things.” – Vancouver Fringe Festival, 2016
“Stephen Lyons, who has contributed to other local experimental outfits like Fond of Tigers and Cloudsplitter, leads this thought-inducing, post-rock project. The band’s sound is both dark and gritty, with spiraling musical progressions that make for a strange yet exciting entity to experience.” – Beatroute Magazine “Must-See Shows”, 2016
Somewhere, BC 43:220:00/43:22