itlookslikeablackhole is an instrumental project out of Sacramento, California formed in 2018 by multi-instrumentalist Ryan Fuller. He / They have released three albums `The Ghosts in Your Blood`, `This Will Be a Year to Forget` and `So That Awe Can Illuminate`. When they go out on the road the band comprise Ryan Fuller (guitar), Ryan Skaggs (bass), Johnny Huscher (guitar) and Todd Coleman (drums).  Itlookslikeablackhole have a new five track EP ‘Looking at the World with Love’  which came out last month where Ryan played everything you hear on the recordings (drums, guitars, bass, keys) and recorded / mixed it from his home studio.

Ryan shared that all of the tracks except “The Last Few Steps are Always the Darkest and Most Difficult” are quotes or lines from the original Twin Peaks television series. He tried to capture that sort of theme with the EP artwork as well (kind of an eerie mountain/forest type vibe). He also added the track “The Last Few Steps are Always the Darkest and Most Difficult” right before the EP was set to be mastered. It was a track he had been working on for a while that actually originated as a guitar riff/video loop thing.

I did look at the titles on this extended play and found via social media that two sentences in an episode of Twin Peaks covered all four of the inspired tracks .“The sound the wind makes through the Pines. The sentience of animals. What we fear in the dark and what lies beyond the darkness” and “ I’m talking about seeing beyond fear, Roger. About looking at the world with love”. These were voiced by Special Agent Dale Cooper when temporarily relieved of FBI duty pending drug charges.

`Sound Wind Makes Through the Pines` opens this release and begins gently, building with a rhythmic drum beat and brushed cymbals along with synth keys and shimmering guitar chords. It kind of painted a picture of being alone in an arboreal area with the breeze gently shaking branches around you, causing a slightly unnerving feeling. The number gains in volume as it evolves with a militaristic drumbeat before it bursts into life then climaxes with a recurrent melodic guitar riff over thumped drums before fading. Apparently there is a word for this aural occurrence which is Psithurism. There was that feel or nod to the theme music to the Twin Peaks series at the start of `What We Fear in the Dark` but it soon becomes more of a blistering nigh on progressive rock out. The drums pounded out a tempo like a beating heart one minute and more hostile the next and the guitar chord riffs were quite softly shared at times before becoming more belligerent. The track builds up as it progresses before gradually receding away.    

`Seeing Beyond Fear` is piano led which gives it a wonderful sense of trepidation or unease. There`s an underlying sense of tension throughout and an expectation of something dark or unknown is around or about to happen but never does. The balance of some distant guitar chords and underlying keys towards the end is quite stunning. A steady drumbeat, synth keys and guitar chords joining lead us into and through `What Lies Beyond the Darkness` which is almost menacing in it`s delivery. I felt it was almost a call to arms, maybe even a piece or composition to psyche you up to face what is out there in the unknown.   

This extended play closes with `The Last Few Steps Are Always the Darkest and Most Difficult` and it`s a wonderfully melodic and mesmerising listen. It begins with what sounds akin to morse code and i`m not sure what message is being relayed as dreamy guitar chord riffs take over. It`s a captivating listen and will almost hypnotise you. I loved the addition of what sounded like a double bass or strings. It`s a sort of number that you can read a number of themes into depending on the mood you are in at the time of listening. It ended with a further snippet of code and a blustering wind soundscape.   

‘Looking at the World with Love’ really resonated with me, not only the concept behind it but it`s harmonic and melodiousness of sound. I felt myself being really drawn into it and had a sense of emptiness when it had completed it`s cycle. A great introduction for me to this band and I now have to back catalogue to investigate.

Take a listen to Itlookslikeablackhole, this release alone will definitely ensure that you look at the world with love.

Rating 9/10

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