THE PAUL MARCANO AND LIGHTDREAMS STORY.
The Paul Marcano and LightDreams Story.
When British Columbian band LightDreams released their debut album Islands In Space in 1981, it was a captivating psychedelic sci-fi odyssey exploring cosmic ideology. Normally, an album like Islands In Space would’ve found favour with fans of psychedelia and progressive rockers who embraced cerebral, innovative and epic albums. Alas, that wasn’t the case with Islands In Space, which was released by LightDreams. Sadly, history repeated itself a year later.
LightDreams who were now billed as Paul Marcano and LightDreams, had returned to the studio to record their sophomore album 10,001 Dreams. The album picked up where Islands In Space left off, and went as far as exploring what was described as “utopian outer space colonisation.” This was something that fascinated and enthralled Paul Marcano since he first encountered the work and theories of author, physicist and space activist, Gerard K. O’Neill. His work and theories influenced Paul Marcano and the genre-melting music on 10,001 Dreams. It was recorded during 1982 and released that year.
This time around, Paul Marcano and LightDreams decided not to release the album on vinyl. Instead, it was released by the band on cassette. Just like Islands In Space, 10,001 Dreams found an audience within British Columbia, where the band were based. However, beyond British Columbia failed to find the audience it so richly deserved.
It was only much later, that word began to spread about Islands In Space and 10,001 Dreams. Occasionally, a few lucky record and tape collectors chanced upon a copy of Islands In Space or 10,001 Dreams. They paid their money and discovered two groundbreaking hidden gems. Before long, collectors and aficionados of psychedelia were looking for copies of Islands In Space and 10,001 Dreams. This was a long shot, and most collectors came up short. However, the lucky ones were able to go back in time to British Columbia in 1981 when Paul Marcano met the musicians with whom he would form LightDreams.
Back in 1981. like most towns and cities, British Columbia had a vibrant and thriving music scene. Paul Marcano was part of this scene. He was looking for like minded musicians to collaborate with. Eventually, Paul found his circle of friends and like minded musicians. Among the members of the newly formed band which became LightDreams, were Cory Rhyon and Andre Martin. They would record their debut album Islands In Space, later in 1981.
Islands In Space.
Paul Marcano dawned the role of the newly formed LightDreams. He was brimming with ideas, enthusiasm and energy. Not only had Paul been writing songs for a number or years, but he was also a talented multi-instrumentalist. With Paul at the helm, LightDreams’ thoughts began to turn to their debut album.
There was a minor problem though. Recording studios were expensive and beyond the budget of LightDreams. An alternative was, recording the album using the pro-sumer technology that was becoming popular in the early eighties. That still required funds, funds which for most new bands, were limited. However, one of LightDreams’ friends had another idea, and decided to approach executives at the TEAC Corporation, in the hope that they would let the band use some of their technology. This was a long shot, but one that paid off.
The TEAC Corporation, who were a market leader in early eighties recording equipment, allowed LightDreams to use a 144 track cassette recorder. This was beyond their widest dreams, and more than enough to the record the psychedelic opus that LightDreams were planning.
LightDreams planned to record seven songs penned by Paul Marcano. These songs had been slightly influenced by the work and theories of author, physicist and space activist, Gerard K. O’Neill. This was someone who Paul Marcano had been enthralled by for several years.
One of his theories was, that eventually, mankind would inhabit outer space. This Gerard K. O’Neill believed, would result in a much better world for those left behind inhabiting earth. No longer would there be problems with overpopulation and a reliance on natural resources. However. Paul took this proposition further, exploring whether mankind’s grasp of space-age technology could lead to a peace and cosmic presence on earth? He was following in the footsteps of the progressive rockers, in making cerebral and ambitious music.
To makes this music, which became Islands In Space, Paul Marcano who was producing the album would make good use of the 144 track cassette recorder. This was more than enough to record even the most ambitious Magnus Opus. Islands In Space had its very own Magnus Opus, Atmospheric Dreams; My Spirit Soars; Atmospheric Dreams a near eleven minute epic. It was just one of the seven tracks that were recorded and became Islands In Space.
Now that Islands In Space was completed, LightDreams decided to release the album themselves. This wasn’t unusual back in 1981, when there were many private pressings released. LightDreams had a 1,000 vinyl copies of Islands In Space pressed. These albums they hoped, they would be able to sell to their fellow British Columbians.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. Islands In Space, a captivating psychedelic and progressive sci-fi odyssey where LightDreams explored cosmic ideology passed record buyers by. They missed out on an album that wasn’t just ambitious, but innovative and featured cerebral and thought-provoking lyrics. However, Paul Marcano and the other members of LightDreams, weren’t beaten. They decided to record a followup to Islands In Space. This would eventually become 10,001 Dreams.
After the disappointing response to LightDreams’ debut album Islands In Space, they dusted themselves down and returned to the studio in 1982. By then, LightDreams were now being billed as Paul Marcano and LightDreams. For many groups, one member receiving equal billing as the group could’ve torn the group apart. However, Paul was playing a huge role in LightDreams. Not only was he the group’s principal songwriter, vocalist and producer, he was also a multi-instrumentalist. He would would play an important part on what became 10,001 Dreams.
For the best part of a decade, Paul Marcano had been writing songs. Some of these songs he believed, were perfect for 10,001 Dreams. So Paul dusted down songs he had previously penned. The earliest of these songs was Follow The Stream, which Paul had written and recorded in 1973. It was part of an album Paul recorded, but never released. This wasn’t the only album Paul hadn’t released.
Five years later, and Paul had penned Everyone Grows and Grows and Who Is The One in 1978. Again, it was part of an album that Paul recorded, but decided not to release. Since then, he had kept the song awaiting the right project. 10,001 Dreams was it. However, more songs were required for the album.
The rest of 10,001 Dreams consisted of new songs, including Andre Martin’s Being Here and Paul’s composition 10,001 Dreams. They were augmented by a trio of instrumentals including Stream III, the twenty-three minute epic In Memory Of Being Here and Building Islands In Space (Reprise). These tracks became 10,001 Dreams, the followup to Islands In Space.
Again, Paul Marcano and LightDreams recorded 10,001 Dreams with the 144 track cassette recorder. With so many tracks available, Paul who was producing the album, was able to let his imagination run riot. Paul Marcano and LightDreams deployed a myriad of New Age synths and augmented this with the rhythm section and fuzzy, lysergic, languid and dreamy guitars. The result was a truly eclectic album, where a myriad of disparate influences seem to have influenced Paul Marcano and LightDreams.
The guitars that feature on 10,001 Dreams bring to mind Michael Rother’s first three albums, Flammende Herzen, Sterntaler and Katzenmusik. There’s also similarities to Manuel Göttsching’s Inventions For Electric Guitar. Similarly, the synths on 10,001 Dreams were reminiscent of those that played an important part of so many Berlin School and Krautrock albums. Other notable influences included sixties British psychedelia, seventies progressive rock, folk pop at its most melodic and ambient and avant-garde music. 10,001 Dreams was another ambitious and innovative album, which features aul Marcano and LightDreams at their most inventive and progressive. All that was left was to release the album.
With 10,001 Dreams completed, releasing the album on vinyl would’ve proved problematic. The album was the best part of ninety minutes long. It was far too long to fit on a one album. Instead, 10,001 Dreams would need to be a double album. This would’ve required significant investment from Paul Marcano and LightDreams. For the band, it was a big decision.There was always the possibility that the album might no sell, and they would fail to recoup their initial investment. A much simpler solution, was to release 10,001 Dreams on cassette.
This made sense, as this meant that Paul would be able to make the cassette himself. So 10,001 Dreams was released on cassette later in 1982. Now it was a waiting game how would the music fans react?
Sadly, just like Islands In Space, 10,001 Dreams never found the audience it so richly deserved. That only happened much later.
Somewhat belatedly, word began to spread about 10,001 Dreams. Occasionally, a few lucky tape collectors chanced upon a copy of 10,001 Dreams. They paid their money a groundbreaking hidden gem. Before long, collectors and aficionados of psychedelia were looking for copies of 10,001 Dreams.
Ironically when 10,001 Dreams, was self released in 1982, Paul Marcano and LightDreams’ sophomore album passed most people by. It was only discovered by a small group of discerning music fans living in British Columbia. Most collectors and aficionados of psychedelia got to the party late, as far as 10,001 Dreams was concerned. That’s apart from a few lucky music fans who found a copy of the tape in second hand stores or bargain bins. They paid their money, and discovered a groundbreaking, genre-melting hidden gem. Before long, word was out, and collectors and aficionados of psychedelia were looking for copies of 10,001 Dreams. It takes as its starting point psychedelia.
10,001 Dreams is much more than psychedelic album. Elements of ambient, avant-garde, Berlin School, folk pop, Krautrock, progressive rock and rock can be heard throughout 10,001 Dreams. It’s a musical potpourri, where instruments and influences melt into one as Paul Marcano and LightDreams sculpt a captivating psychedelic sci-fi odyssey. Just like Islands In Space, 10,001 Dreams finds Paul Marcano and LightDreams continuing to explore cosmic ideology. This may seem like an unlikely theme for an album. However, back in the the seventies, when Paul Marcano wrote three of the songs on 10,000 Dreams, that was the age of progressive rock epics. They were almost de rigeur. It was almost a rite of passage for any self-respecting progressive rock band.
Paul Marcano and LightDreams weren’t just progressive rockers. Instead, they created innovative and inventive genre-music. They were musical pioneers and proof of that, is Paul Marcano and LightDreams’ debut album Islands In Space and the followup 10,001 Dreams, which feature ambitious, innovative and cerebral music that is truly timeless, and deserves to find its way into any self-respecting sonic explorer’s record collection.
The Paul Marcano and LightDreams Story.