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Lamp Of The Universe- The Akashic Field: Review + Q&A (2022, Headspin Records)

Sitar-emulating guitars and snippets of mellotronic violins lead up to the hazy vocal lines of Return As Light, the first song of the new Lamp Of The Universe album The Akashic Field. New Zealand native Craig Williamson has once again taken a dive into an ocean filled with kaleidoscopic transcendentalism, and this is what he came up with.

I thought about how cool it was that we came into contact, just shortly after he was recommended to me by Scott Dr Space Heller in his interview on this very blog. He felt Williamson with his bands Datura, Arc Of Ascent and Lamp Of The Universe was a kindred spirit and wished to meet him some time. On The Akashic Field it is demonstrated where those warm feelings stem from.

The music is a mixture of classic 60s psychedelic rock, intertwined with Middle Eastern folk elements, and extremely dreamy multi-vocal patterns. Further on the album sometimes his spaceship takes flight into heavier, fuzzier, space rock territory. It is music made for mind traveling, and meant to take the listener on a magic carpet ride over multi-colored dunes, acidic green oceans, and through wondrous caverns and glowing riverbeds. It is such a satisfying flight, tailor made for headphone heads, with lots of nooks and crannies to explore by ear for days to come.

Spending the Corona years in New Zealand, Craig Williamson wasn’t too much affected in his daily routines. I talked with him about this and the new record, and luckily he was willing to shed some light on all of that and more…

How have you been in these pandemic times? How has life been in New Zealand for a musician?
For me musically, it hasn’t changed anything. Obviously there has been a few disruptions with work and what not, and life in NZ isn’t quite the same as it used to be yet, but its getting there… fortunately we haven’t been too effected like the rest of the world.

Can you explain what living in New Zealand has meant for your music? What was beneficial, what less so?
It’s hard to say, as I haven’t lived anywhere else and it’s all I know. But from visiting other countries I feel the amount of extra space we have here gives you a different perception, and that seems to help quite a bit. There are downsides to being so far away from bigger scenes, but its something that is known, and worked around, so isn’t so bad I guess.


Can you sketch your career so far for our readers? What are some of the absolute highlights?
My career started in 1999, as Lamp of the Universe…and has slowly expanded in many different ways. I’m about to release my 13th full length album next month (January 2022) and am still excited by the new music I’m hearing from others too. Highlights would be releasing the first Lamp of the Universe album “The Cosmic Union”, hearing about artists I look up to say they’ve heard about me or have said they like my stuff. To be honest all the positive reactions from everyone to what I do is a highlight for me.

Craig Williamson


Can you tell us about the way the new album came into being? How was it written and what did you set out to achieve?

I always write for myself first, and I’m continually writing. But this time around I wanted it to be more energetic, more band sounding, so I think that’s how it’s going to be perceived. I wanted to achieve a bigger sound too, improve the overall vibe by making everything a bit more clear and full.


When are you satisfied with your music? Is there a certain formula for a Lamp Of The Universe song?
There’s no real formula, I just go by what feels right. It’s hard to say when I’m actually satisfied with each track, because you could go on adding things forever, but usually just when it just feels and sounds as close as I can get it to how I hear it in my head.


What music are you listening to these days? Are you more of an oldies guy or do you still like to explore new artists?

I like to explore, constantly. I still love the “oldies” too though. My latest things I’ve been listening to would be Aphex Twin, Radiohead, Electric Wizard, Naz, Mastodon, Adam Geoffrey-Cole, Miles Davis, Napalm Death, Pete Namlook, Klaus Schulze, Archgoat, Laszlo Hortobagyi.


Can you tell me about the lyrical concept of The Akashic Field? 
It changes from song to song so there’s no concept as such. The Akashic Field as a title though could basically be seen as a receiving of all influences, an accepting of all information I can process to create a new album from influences that I’ve experienced over many years.


If you could curate your dream band, who would be in it and why?
I certainly wouldn’t play!!! I’d just watch in amazement!!!! The band would be Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Klaus Schulze, Ravi Shankar and Ringo Starr.


What does the word psychedelic mean to you in the fullest sense of the word?
It means freedom to do what you want musically… to drift into the worlds beyond and back again.


What are you doing after this interview? What would you like our readers to do?
After this interview? Probably have dinner and then, like I usually do, work on new music into the night, and listen to LPs. The readers can do as they please, just be nice to each other!!!

Craig -Lamp Of The Universe- Williamson

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