The title of Jason T. Lamoreaux’s latest is more than a poetic turn of phrase. That House of Light is in fact the office or Dr. Light, with whom Lamoreaux has been receiving mental health treatment. “I thank Dr. Light for his incredible talent as a doctor and caregiver,” he writes in the album’s notes. “I’ve never met anyone like him. The Healing House of Light is the story of my first meeting with Dr. Light as each song sonically conveys my feelings as I went through the process of being one of his new patients.”
The openness with which Lamoreaux shares his experience – both with Dr. Light and more broadly with mental illness – is moving. Those of us who live with anxiety and depression know how strong the impulse is to keep that part of ourselves under wraps. We’re raised to associate a positive mental state and an outgoing personality with strength and maturity. To admit feeling anything less is to risk both judgment and the letting down of one’s guard.
It takes extraordinary bravery to write so frankly, as Lamoreaux does, about what is fundamentally a private battle. “As an artist who struggles with [post-traumatic stress disorder], depression, social anxiety disorder and several other mental issues, I (The Corrupting Sea) decided to dedicate an entire album to the man that saved my life. With over a decade of suicidal tendencies and an almost impossible effort to get through each day, I finally found a doctor that has cared enough for me, listened to me and helped me get through my days in more healthy ways.”
This is the backstory of The Healing House of Light, an album as daring as it is gratifying. While plainly an introspective project, the music is more than a document of Lamoreaux’s well-being. It’s a mesmerizing, at times challenging patchwork of ambient drones that will generate an enthusiastic response among lovers of the genre.
It is his 10th recording since adopting The Corrupting Sea pseudonym. His Samatta debut landed less than three years ago. Lamoreaux told Last Day Deaf that it was one of four full-length albums he recorded in 2015. “I couldn’t stop,” he’s quoted saying. “It was like I had trapped all this stuff in me for decades and it finally cascaded out into these weird, odd and what I consider wonderful ambient pieces.”
That he’s chosen to produce such autobiographical work more recently is exciting. It’s not something we hear from a lot of electronic music producers. Some will balk at the idea of connecting their work to a specific narrative. Fair enough; that’s not for everyone.
But what Lamoreaux’s work demonstrates is that you can tell a specific story with ambient music and at the same time maintain the work’s openness to interpretation. The Healing House of Light is a richly beautiful album, no matter its origins. Understanding what it means to the artist himself only adds to its impact.
Lamoreaux is promising more new work in a similar vein. “[W]e must talk about these things in the open. This is my first effort in that quest. People with psychological problems are not alone, they aren’t weird or scary, they are just hurt and need help and I hope my music can, in small part, be a part of that process.”