George Pacheco / Boston Examiner
Shades of Portishead and ‘Twin Peaks’ abound on Thelema’s ‘Hearing the Light’
The brainchild of engineer and multi-instrumentalist Hans Jurgen, Thelema’s Hearing the Light is the flagship release for a new, Austrian-based ‘cinematic music’ label Cineploit, showcasing a stark yet impressive opening salvo.
The music here on Hearing the Light is dark and minimalistic, for the most part, relying on restrained instrumentation and simple melodies to leave their mark upon the listener. Jurgen succeeds in creating a palpable atmosphere, however, utilizing minimal electronics, minor guitar/bass work and sparse percussion in smart combination with each other, resulting in a decidedly well-flowing piece of art.
If there’s anything ‘cinematic’ about Thelema’s work, it’s very much noir in nature, probably owing a debt to Angelo Badalamenti’s iconic score to the television series Twin Peaks than anything funk or prog related. There also seems to be a marked Portishead feel to the tracks with female vocal accompaniment, such as “Still Hearing the Light” and “A Light Reprise,” and it’s on these songs where the morning star of Thelema shines the brightest.
Hearing the Light impresses from start to finish, however, and is clearly meant to be engaged and enjoyed as an album experience. Multiple spins only reveal more hidden grooves and atmospheric jewels within this bleak yet impressive soundscape.
Dusty Groove, Chicago
A cinematic cover, and some cinematic music to match – one of the moodiest projects we’ve heard from the contemporary underground of artists inspired by older film soundtracks! Keyboards are the dominant instrument here – often used in spare, snakey ways that recall older European cinema – but with a quality that’s less scene-setting than just purely musical – sometimes groovy, sometimes a lot more stark and atmospheric. There’s a few moments of spoken Icelandic dialogue – and titles include “Ljos”, “Close Your Eyes & See”, “Become A Hearer”, “Grey Evening”, and “Still Hearing The Light”. (Includes a bonus CD of the entire album!)
Zero Tolenrance – Geoff Birchenall – 4,5/5
This is the first release on Austrian´s Cineploit, a label dedicated to releasing music inspired by European Cinema from the 60´s to the 80´s and I must report that Thelema have left a wonderful impresion of the label´s vision. Formed in 1994, Thelema is the project of Hans-Jürgen, whom you might have come across as Sturmpercht. Hearing the Light which also features the chanting of Icelandic musician Steindor Andersen , is a heavy blend of Portishead atmospherics – especially with the female vocal accompaniments on certain tracks – Giallo posturing and Badalamentiesque composition that rewards repeated spins with myriad hidden jewels.
Deadline, Marcus Stiglegger
THELEMA dürften einigen aus dem Kontext von Darkambient, Ritual- und Neofolkmusik bekannt sein. So war der Gründer u. a. involviert in die Alpinfolkband STURMPERCHT. Das ästhetisch eher am klassischen Hollywood-Genrekino orientierte Album »Hearing the Light« schleicht sich finster und mysteriös ins Ohr und evoziert den Geist (nicht die Form) des Film Noir, jener nihilistischen Thriller der 1940er-Jahre. Dabei bedient man sich gläserner und fremdartiger Sounds sowie einer ätherischen Frauenstimme, woraus etwas Neues, Unberechenbares entsteht. Diese Platte wird wohl am ehesten dem Anspruch gerecht, einen imaginären Soundtrack zu komponieren – irgendwo zwischen Ennio Morricone und BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE.