Is it impossible to capture the sound of light in music? In fact, that phrase, “the sound of light,” seems oxymoronic. If one could do so though, what would it sound like? Maybe the rattling of a million crystals. It might be sporadic, titillating, and expansive. It might sound exactly like the five-piece electronic collective Vessels teaming up with the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne for “Deflect The Light,” the lead single off their upcoming album The Great Distraction. As the track builds and bursts into a cosmic fairway of crystalline synths and jittering drumbeats, Coyne’s vocals are manipulated to a shadowy cry, painting images of childhood memories and magical images of nature — one of Coyne’s specialties.
In addition to the Flaming Lips, The Great Distraction features collaborations with John Grant and Django Django’s Vincent Neff. Vessels explained what it was like making instrumentals and then teaming up with a mix of vocalists:
“The challenge for a band who mainly play without vocals is trying to find ways of working with vocals so that there’s still variety. For us, the challenge is also to make it still sound like Vessels,” Tim Mitchell explains. “There were some interesting conversations,” Martin Teff continues, “but in terms of the people we worked with on the album, Wayne Coyne was quite special. It wasn’t just a case of him doing a little something over the top of a track—he came in and really elevated it. John Grant, as well, has such a distinctive voice — he didn’t just sing a few things and send it over to us; he did some interesting stuff with the arrangements too, then we played around with what he’d sent and ended up creating a totally different track we felt that his vocals deserved. It was eye-opening working with people we admire and respect.
Listen to “Deflect The Light” below.
Vessels are touring the UK and Europe this fall:
07/16 London, UK @ Victoria Park (Citadel Festival)
09/30 Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social
10/03 Brighton, UK @ Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
10/04 London, UK @ Village Underground
10/05 Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
10/06 Cardiff, UK @ Clwb Ifor Bach
10/07 Glasgow, UK @ Art School
10/14 Paris, FR @ Batofar
10/18 Amsterdam, NL @ ADE
10/19 Rotterdam, NL @ Rotown
10/20 Antwerp, BE @ Het Bos
10/26 Berlin, DE @ Prince Charles
10/27 Hamburg, DE @ Kleiner Doner
10/28 Cologne, DE @ Artheater
11/01 Barcelona, ES @ Razzmatazz
11/02 Madrid, ES @ Siroco
The Great Distraction is out 9/29 via Different Recordings. Pre-order it here.