Album Review: Lights & Motion – Chronicle

Lights and Motion Chronicle deep elm cinematic post rock cover

Deep Elm have once again proved themselves as a vital record label at the forefront of the post-rock movement by releasing Lights & Motions’ third album, Chronicle.

Lights & Motions’ Reanimation was my favourite post-rock album of 2013. (Nuet, from Deep Elm label-mates Dorena came a close second.) Chronicle follows on and helps to build upon the legacy of a much hyped, yet relatively new band.

Unfortunately many post-rock bands fall into the trap of sounding the same. You know the same old cookie cutter recipe: start quietly and slowly build up the music with swelling guitars and inspirational keys. Many bands succeed at doing this and it’s all fine and listenable, but with very little to set them apart from the multitude of other bands who sound just the same, especially seeing as there are no vocals in most regards.

Some people would suggest that Lights & Motion are one of these bands. The music may as well be purely soundtrack. But I think that the variety and quality of instrumentation is enough to make Lights & Motion stand out. It’s enough to keep me coming back to listen to the music again, at least.

Christoffer Franzén is the man behind Lights & Motion. Everything on the record is him. He’s a modern-day Mike Oldfield, capable on a wide array of different instruments. And he’s self-taught as well. That takes some dedication. He’s more than adept on the drums, guitars, keys, violins, and all the other instruments that feature on the album.

Lights & Motion was essentially started with the attempt to capture the sound of dreams and memories. Franzén was an insomniac, so used his sleepless nights to hone his musical skills into something productive. And it worked. Franzén has captured moods and feelings and recorded them with instruments. “Reborn” sounds sinister. “Northern Lights” is a tenderly picked interlude. “Paper Wings” is a delicate piano ballad. They all sound inspiring, wondrous, the stuff of dreams.

Chronicle sounds epic, expansive, cinematic even. Watch the clip for “The Spectacular Quiet” and notice how it could have quite comfortably fit in to a film like James Cameron’s Interstellar.

Listening to Chronicle is a transcendent experience. The listener gets transported somewhere new. Somewhere grand, on a major adventure. These songs contain a story, and the lack of vocals means that the stories are completely up to personal interpretation. My friend Ivo from Stereofox summed it up well, calling Lights & Motion “a magical and epic journey that transcends all describable feelings and sensation.”

I would be surprised if Franzén doesn’t start scoring big-budget movies anytime soon. Stylistically, he’s more like Rhian Sheehan than Hans Zimmer, but he clearly has enough talent required to write the music for any major Hollywood blockbuster.

Chronicle is available for download on bandcamp. And while you’re there, make sure to browse the rest of the Deep Elm discography


Joseph James