Anyone with the slightest interest in darkwave music and the goth counterculture is familiar
with Lycia. Born in Tempe, AZ, in 1988 from the creative mind of Mike VanPortfleet, Lycia
is as seminal and influential as a band can get. Devoted to cold, somber and synthetic sounds,
these pioneers of the ethereal are responsible for some of the most acclaimed underground
albums of the ‘90s.
Lycia’s current lineup is John Fair, David Galas, Tara Vanflower and Mike VanPortfleet, who
has been the only constant member since the band’s formation. Although only achieving
minor cult success, the band is notable for being one of the groundbreaking groups in the
darkwave and ethereal styles. Their 1995 album “The Burning Circle and then Dust “remains
a high point of American dark rock” according to AllMusic, and 1996’s “Cold” has been cited
as one of the genre’s best by Post-Punk.com and Alternative Press. Lycia’s sound is charac-
terized by rich soundscapes and layers of heavily effected guitars, dark atmospheric keyboards,
heavy reverb drenched drum machines, VanPortfleet’s somber raspy vocals and Vanflower’s
vivid melodic voice.
Avantgarde Music had the pleasure to bring the 1991 debut full-length “Ionia” to a vinyl edition
for the first time in early 2021, and this brought along the chance to cooperate on new music.
This turned out to be a rich studio Mini-Album: “Casa Luna”.
We reached out to Mike VanPortfleet, who describes “Casa Luna” as a followup to 2018’s “In
Flickers”, with a more varied approach, stylistically and thematically. “In Flickers and Casa
Luna are Lycia’s purest releases. Originally planned as a split 7” with the song “A quiet Way
to go”, as more songs were written they evolved to an EP”.
Casa Luna features re-recordings of a couple of John Fair and Mike VanPortfleet-written
early synth-based songs (“Except” and “Galatea”) from 1989, previously only heard in rough
demo form. The EP also revisits an interest in Spanish/Flamenco styles previously explored
by Mike VanPortfleet and John Fair in 1983. Tara Vanflower’s desire to do a heavier piece,
along with David Galas’ background in heavier music led to the song “Do you bleed?”, while
Mike VanPortfleet’s interest in older Art Rock and Electronic Music led to the sequenced
break to “Salt & Blood”.