Fresh off a five-year hiatus Supreme Beings of Leisure are eagerly bringing their signature textured soundscapes back to the genre that they helped define. Ramin Sakurai and Geri Soriano-Lightwood, the guiding forces behind Supreme Beings of Leisure, have grown wiser with time and experience since their 2002 sophomore release, Divine Operating System. With 11i, Supreme Beings mark a seductive and profoundly reflective return to the scene. "It's been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait," Soriano-Lightwood explains. The songs she began writing reflected a "sort of a psychological journey through my head." That extends to the album's title, which alludes to the duo's mutual fascination with the number 11. The disc has 11 tracks, of course -- as does every Supreme Beings recording -- and as Soriano-Lightwood says, "Ramin and I were both born on '11' days."
The lush flow of the album's opening track, "The Light," obscures a darker reality. The title alludes to morning, but also -- quite explicitly -- to a raging inferno: "The hills aflame behind me/As the ash seeps through my window." Other songs expand on themes of self-realization and catharsis. "Swallow" builds slowly over Sakurai's hypnotic layers of synthesized pulses, which drift by like smoke as a mid-tempo groove asserts itself and Soriano-Lightwood introduces the melody. An ambient R&B track, its lyrics swirl around someone who is too busy self-medicating to find themselves. "Take another swallow/lean back and disappear," she sings. "One to fill the hollow/One to make you clear/One to hide the mess/And one to keep me running." The richly textured soundscapes resonate with a sensual undertow that pulls you slowly beneath the surface -- where there is much to discover. Though she and Sakurai are, in the plainest summation, entertainers, Soriano-Lightwood likes to think that their music can offer at least a flicker of deepening awareness. "We try to reflect what we like and who we are and hopefully this is a byproduct," she says. "People turn to music for a transcendent experience. And depending on your mood, certain things will take you where you want to go. Musicians are modern-day shamans. For some of us, music is the only church we've got."