CULT CLASSIC: PAUL MARCANO AND LIGHTDREAMS-10,001 DREAMS.
Cult Classic: Paul Marcano and LightDreams-10,001 Dreams.
In 1981, British Columbian band LightDreams released debut album Islands In Space. It was a captivating psychedelic sci-fi odyssey where LightDreams explored 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. The roots of these two cult classics can be traced to British Columbia in 1981.
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. This was a long shot, and most collectors came up short. Now though, Got Kinda Lost Records’ remastered reissue of 10,001 Dreams allows the album to be heard by a much wider and appreciative audience.
Opening 10,001 Dreams, is the title-track, a fourteen minutes epic. Thematically, it picks up where Islands In Space left off. A guitar takes centre-stage, chirping and chiming urgently. It’s panned quickly, adding a lysergic hue. So does the vocal that’s buried in the midst of the arrangement. By then, the guitar is reminiscent of Manuel Göttsching’s on Inventions For Electric Guitar. Later, the guitar is multi-tracked and assails the listener, as genres melt into one. Elements of psychedelia, Krautrock, avant-garde and progressive rock combine. Guitars then envelop the vocal which sits back in the mix. When it drops out, guitars take charge before Paul returns and sings of his futuristic, utopian dream against a dreamy, psychedelic backdrop. His vocal is hopeful and delivered in a folk pop style, as the multilayered arrangement briefly becomes rocky and urgent. Much later, the guitar adds occasional Eastern sounds. It’s just one of the many secrets, subtitles and nuances, within this melodic, genre-melting epic.
Stream III is the first of a trio of instrumentals. Washes of crystalline guitars, break like waves on a beach. They chirp, cheep and wah-wah, and are at the forefront of this multilayered arrangement. Soon, they’re panned quickly adding a trippy effect. Remembering the maxim less is more, effects are used sparingly. Then a rhythm guitar is played with an element of urgency, and plays an important part, carving out rhythms aplenty. Later, when effects are used on a guitar, it becomes like the musical equivalent of the big dipper as the dry signal is bent out of shape. Mostly, though, the effects are used sparingly and effectively. They play their part on what’s a captivating and carefully sculpted soundscape. It paints pictures in the mind’s eye, with its innovative and timeless sound.
Guitar shimmer and glimmer on Everyone Grows and Grows unfold. The guitars are almost choppy, as Paul’s lysergic vocal enters. It sits atop meandering, fluffy synths that float dreamily along. Paul’s vocal evokes memories of sixties British psychedelia, including The Beatles at their most psychedelic. There’s even a stylistic nod to Pink Floyd’s Speak To Me around 1.20, as Paul becomes a carnival barker as he enthuses: “find yourself a dream.” Later, the guitars range veer between garage rock and take on an almost Eastern sound. However, Everyone Grows and Grows is psychedelic at purest. Especially the Paul’s vocal and harmonies than can only be described as lysergic and beatific as he enthuses about: “when I make the Great transformation…what a day it will be.” Similarly, what a song this is, psychedelia at its best.
Straight away, guitars glisten and shimmer on Visual Breakfast, while a bass probes before a blistering, searing rocky guitar cuts through the arrangement. It’s played with speed and accuracy, as the washes of guitar join the pulsating arrangement. It has a mesmeric quality, that’s reminiscent of many a Krautrock album. Soon, the rocky guitar assails the listener. When it drops out, cinematic guitars plays as synths augment the dreamy arrangement. Before long, it takes on a rocky sound, as which again, references The Beatles. Especially their psychedelic era. Synths are added and augment an arrangement that’s variously rocky, psychedelic, shrill and melodic as Paul delivers the cerebral lyrics. Always, though, he and the rest of LightDreams have the capacity to throw curveballs and continually captivating. At 7.42 they seem to pay homage to Pink Floyd as a quite beautiful psychedelic ballad unfolds. It gives way to a slice of Beatles-esque psychedelic rock, during what’s been a Magical Mystery Tour.
Guitars are to the fore on Who Is The One. Washes of lysergic guitar join the bass as another guitar is strummed with a degree of urgency. Then a searing rocky guitar is added. It’s panned before Paul’s lysergic vocal enters. Later, shimmering and celestial guitars are added to the multilayered arrangement. This includes dreamy synths, acoustic guitars, bass and Paul’s vocal, which is a mixture of folk pop and thanks to the effects, psychedelic. These effects have been used on a guitar, which panned and swirls, adding a psychedelic hue. It adds yet another layer, as the scorching, blistering guitar climbs and climbs, before soaring like an eagle above the genre-melting arrangement.
At first glance, In Memory Of Being Here might look like a twenty-three minute epic. It’s not. Instead, it’s a six part musical suite, which opens with Being Here. Guitars are the forefront of the arrangement, while Paul’s vocal has been treated with effects. Harmonies and chirping, chiming and bristling guitars on this slice of psychedelic rock. It gives way to Subtle Arrival, where washes of celestial synths ebb and flow, adding a futuristic, Berlin School inspired sound. Later, it rumbles ominously before echoing, and referencing Pink Floyd. From there, Something Out Of Nothing opens which scrabbled guitars cooing, before trippy synths beep and squeak as if covering in some obscure interplanetary language. Washes of guitar shimmer and glisten, before ethereal, elegiac and futuristic synths reverberate. Meanwhile, on Shuttle Departure the sound of an engine can be heard above the arrangement? It drones and glides, making its presence felt. In doing so, the script to this cinematic track takes shape. What follows is akin to the soundtrack to a sci-fi film. That’s until the penultimate part of this six part suite.
Maybe having reached the destination, Paul Marcano and LightDreams replicate the welcome they receive on Windsong For The Rain. Acoustic guitars are played quickly and join mesmeric persuasion that seems determined to replicate the sound of raindrops. Meanwhile, the guitars are played with speed and urgency, creating a joyous backdrop. Soon, though the arrangement almost grinds to a halt. A thunderstorm stops play as the arraignment meanders along. What sounds like traffic, a thunderstorm and wistful Eastern sound combine. This comes courtesy of synths and wind instruments. Later, as the storm passes just an understated but cinematic backdrop remains. It gives way to Erona Interlude, as world music is combined with sound of the shuttle returning. As the arrangement drones and buzzes, this epic musical journey is over and has showcased Paul Marcano and LightDreams at their creative zenith. In Memory Of Being Here deserves to be called a Magnus Opus.
Maj Moorhsum is another example of inventiveness. Layers of guitars, bass and synths combine. This includes a searing guitar that adds a melodic backdrop and a buzzing bass. Filters and effects are used, as a couple layers seem to be played backwards. This proves effective. Especially as panning has been used, adding to the psychedelic rock sound. It’s not just lysergic and strangely melodic, but vaguely hypnotic, experimental and ultimately, musically satisfying for anyone whose a sonic explorer.
Closing 10,001 Dreams is Building Islands In Space (Reprise).. Again, filters and effects are used throughout. Guitars chirp, chime and bristle, while synths augment the arrangement. The vocal is akin to a mesmeric, dreamy, chant that’s reminiscent of sixties gurus, offering spiritual and sometimes, psychedelic guidance. Essentially, there’s a cinematic sound to Building Islands In Space (Reprise), which like so many tracks on 10,001 Dreams is an invitation to let your imagination run riot. Those that do, will be richly rewarded.
Although 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 Paul Marcano and LightDreams captivating cult classic. 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 progressive rockers. They were however, musical pioneers.
Proof of that, is Paul Marcano and LightDreams’ sophomore album 10,001 Dreams, which was an ambitious, innovative and cerebral Magnus Opus, that thirty-four years later, is truly timeless, and deserves to find its way into any self-respecting sonic explorer’s record collection.
Cult Classic: Paul Marcano and LightDreams-10,001 Dreams.