In a realm marked by the clamor of countless bands striving to define themselves within the confines of genre, Lanayah stands apart, unrestrained by conventional musical boundaries. On June 16, this atmopsheric post-metal/ screamo / post-industrial / black metal collective will release their third full-length album, ‘I’m Picking Lights in a Field...’, through Anima Recordings and Drongo Tapes. Conceived as a singular narrative journey, this album was crafted as an immersive, album-length piece and subsequently segmented into eight distinct movements, each representing a stride in a monumental journey of introspective self-exploration.
Juno Callender, the band’s vocalist who also handles bass, guitar, synthesizers, and samples, provides us with a unique insight into this intricately layered record. “At its core,” Callender says, “the record is primarily concerned with the concept of latent introspection; what happens when one starts to confront aspects of their memory that they may have suppressed due to trauma and mistreatment.” This thematic bedrock gives rise to an album that, in its aural and emotional diversity, mirrors the complexity of human experience and memory.
The album unfolds in a series of movements, each reflecting a different stage of Callender’s introspective journey. The inaugural movement, ‘Staring Blankly‘ (Tracks 1-3), is an aural representation of Callender’s personal trauma response, characterized by feelings of sadness, manipulation, and alienation. As described by Callender, the heavy guitar/bass passages, layered with a bewildering array of samples, synthesizers, mellotron, and tape-loops, evoke an overwhelming internal experience—a struggle with an inner world that is often inaccessible to others.
‘Movement two: Nameless Fluttering’ (Track 4) stands as a testament to the paradoxical nature of introspection. Here, Callender depicts the attempt to cope with pain by focusing on the brighter aspects of life, only to realize the futility of this strategy. The music embodies this struggle, beginning with a long linear passage filled with key and chord changes that eventually give way to a crescendo of distorted tape-loops and shoegaze guitars.
‘Sounds that Moved’ (Tracks 5-6) encapsulates the anger that emerges in the aftermath of hurt, an anger that is equally directed at the self as it is towards others. Described by Callender as “the most ‘opinionated’ movement of the record”, it represents the nadir of resentment, self-violence, and ill-will. Particularly noteworthy is Track five, ‘Knife, Mirror,’ the album’s most screamo-influenced track, initially intended as a beacon of clarity amidst the gloom, but ultimately resulting in a sludgy, almost atonal rendition of the genre.
The final movement, ‘Candles,’ signals a hard-won acceptance—an imperfect yet necessary resolution to continue moving forward despite the tumultuous journey of introspection. “Thoughts of unconditional love rise above the murk of self-reflection, and those have to be enough to continue moving forward,” Callender explains. The title track features UK songwriter Dear Laika, while “Carrying Fire” presents an intricate King Crimson-style rhythm experimentation—a fascinating, disorientating musical experience that is testament to Lanayah’s daring exploration of musical boundaries.
At the heart of ‘I’m Picking Lights in a Field…’ is a narrative of struggle, self-reflection, acceptance, and the scars that linger beneath the surface of memory. As we immerse ourselves in the album’s complex soundscape, we too embark on this journey—confronting, understanding, and reconciling with our own inner demons.
Lanayah’s latest work stands not merely as an auditory experience, but a vehicle of shared introspection and a deep exploration into the human psyche. In all its layered complexity, ‘I’m Picking Lights in a Field…‘ illuminates the oft-overlooked corners of our internal world and challenges us to confront our individual emotional landscapes. This is an album that encourages the listener to traverse the labyrinth of their own memories—to grapple with their demons, to reconcile with their past, and ultimately, to find acceptance amidst the chaos.
In the process of chronicling Callender’s personal journey, Lanayah has created an album that transcends the personal and resonates on a universal level. Through ‘I’m Picking Lights in a Field…’, Lanayah sends out a clear message—it’s okay to feel, it’s okay to remember, and it’s okay to heal.
Lanayah is not a solitary voice, but rather a harmonious choir of diverse talents. The core trio, consisting of Juno Callender at the helm with vocals, bass, guitar, synthesizers, and samples, Lynn McTague on guitar, and Ari Brown manipulating synthesizers and samples, forms the nucleus around which ‘I’m Picking Lights in a Field…’ orbits.
Their sonic tableau is further enhanced by the contributions of a select group of guest artists. Michael Tsang, on drums, adds the pulsating heartbeat that propels the record forward. Isabelle Thorn, also known as Dear Laika, lends her ethereal vocals, adding a haunting and poignant depth to the tracks. Lastly, Elliott Hansen enriches the auditory experience with his masterful tape loops, weaving a thread of subtle continuity that ties the movements together.
Catch LANAYAH live at their Summer Tour with The Exit Bags:
7/14: Ventura, CA @All Kinds Studio
7/15: Los Angeles, CA @Non Plus Ultra
7/16: Santa Barbara, CA @TBA
7/20: Santa Cruz, CA @SubRosa
7/21: San Francisco, CA @TBA **
7/22: Oakland, CA @TBA **
7/23: Sacramento, CA @TBA **
7/25: Eugene, OR @John Henry’s
7/26: Portland, OR @Turn Turn Turn
7/27: Olympia, WA @Cryptatropa
7/28: Seattle, WA @Drongo HQ
** w/ Kathryn Mohr
^^ w/ Kaho Matsui