written by Ben Salmon | photo by Dagmar Sieglinde
The roots of WL’s new album Light Years stretch back to 2012 when the Portland dream-pop trio was invited to perform original music during a screening of René Laloux’s surreal 1988 animated film Gandahar.
“We basically projected (the movie) and … what came out immediately was what the songs ended up being,” said Misty Mary, a band member of WL, along with Michael Yun and Stevie Nistor. “It felt really natural, because the way we write is very improvisational.”
A year later, WL recorded that music but held off on releasing it because they felt it still called for a visual companion. So they went to work collaborating with artists far and wide to create a distinctive video for each song.
On October 28, the band released Light Years, a “visual album” that pairs WL’s hazy, droning electro-pop (think Beach House meets Stereolab) with videos that are weird and wondrous and beautifully done. The project took four years to complete, but it was worth it, Mary said.
“We knew it’d be a lot of work,” she said, “but I think it opened a whole new door of inspiration.”