Growing Eyes Becoming String is the sixteenth studio album from British noise-rock pioneers The Telescopes. Recorded between Berlin and Leeds back in 2013, it’s a lost Telescopes treasure that nearly never was, rescued from the ether and now finally set for release by Fuzz Club Records.
The origins of Growing Eyes Becoming String go back a decade when, in 2013, The Telescopes were invited to record an album at Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s new studio-in-progress in Berlin. With a line-up consisting of founding member Stephen Lawrie and London psychedelic unit One Unique Signal.
On reaching Berlin, the group teamed up with good friend and author/visual artist Will Carruthers (Spacemen 3, Dead Skeletons). Carruthers, also a skilled carpenter, built soundproofing boards and recruited Anton’s producer at the time, Fabien Leseure, and together they sourced equipment from all over the city and soon had a functioning studio up and running. Between Boxing Day and New Years Day, most of the music for the four tracks that would make up side one – ‘Vanishing Lines’, ‘(In The) Hidden Fields’, ‘Dead Head Lights’ and ‘We Carry Along’ – was recorded, with Lawrie planning on finishing up back in his own studio.
On returning to the UK, the group turned to Richard Formby (Spectrum, The Jazz Butcher) in Leeds for side two. Here, Lawrie and the band began to flesh out the record, laying down the three tracks – ‘Get Out Of Me’, ‘What You Love’ and ‘There Is No Shore’ – that would make up its B-side.
“The objective with both sessions was to go in blind and be entirely in the moment”, Lawrie recalls: “There were no preconceived ideas, everything was written as it went along. Much like the drive to Berlin with almost zero visibility, we were relying on the heightened instinct of being entirely in the now.”
The result was shaping up to be another masterfully hypnotic set of compositions that matched its more melodic spaced-out moments against heavy drone-rock blow-outs. However, before Lawrie could finish the recording and mixing, a crashed hard-drive meant that the recordings were presumed lost forever and The Telescopes moved on to other projects. Fast-forward to a few years ago and Byron of One Unique Signal by chance uncovered some forgotten back-ups of the sessions and over the pandemic, Lawrie finally went back to finish what he started.
Where their physical output at the time mostly consisted of experimental noise improvisations, so far removed from any obvious structure, Growing Eyes Becoming String shows how The Telescopes were actually creating more song-based music in a parallel existence.
Across its seven tracks are all the trademarks of quality that long-time fans associate with The Telescopes’ music. Solid songs, melody, harmony, noise, dissonance, improvisation, experimentation and an all-embracing journey beyond the realm of natural vision. As Lawrie puts it: “Loaded with guitars, noise and melody, swirling around pounding repetition, Growing Eyes Becoming String is a more vocal document of where The Telescopes’ head was at during that time.”