Throughout 1997 and 1998 Astbury recorded his solo record, originally to be titled Natural Born Guerilla, later called High Time Amplifier. Ultimately the record remained unreleased until June 2000 when it was released under the name Spirit\Light\Speed. It included a re-recording of The Cult's song "The Witch". The album spawned the single "High Time Amplifier".
IA: That was very much like the aftermath of the plane crash, where I was beginning to come back into my body, remembering who I was and my original personality. I was going into a very inward journey, going to the desert, and working with Chris Goss was so cathartic. I got to go into some very beautiful places on that record. I remember it being very dreamlike and very cinematic, with moments like “Tyger,” which I love. Such a beautiful song. And “High Time Amplifier” and “Back On Earth.” And “It’s Over,” that’s actually the only song on there with real drums. We tried to make a Pro-Tools record before Pro-Tools even existed. [Laughs.] We worked with a guy named Witchman and used an Akai drum computer, an MPC 5000 or whatever sampler it was. We were trying to do digital through analog. The process was unbelievable. We were taking digital files, trying to make them analog, and then making them digital again. It was a nightmare. But during that period, I needed the time to work through those things. What I got from working on that record was a sense of myself as a songwriter. We never really pushed it, never really tried to market it. It’s interesting, ’cause the record got some really positive reviews and really connected with a lot of people, but The Cult came back into my life again. Also, while I was making the record, I was very much involved in the Tibetan freedom movement and eventually ended up in Tibet. So maybe it was the reintegration of myself for this second phase of my life which kind of came out of Spirit\Light\Speed.
AVC: So was it the return of The Cult that caused the delay in the release of Spirit\Light\Speed?
IA: Yeah, and there was some contractual stuff that I got caught up in as well. Basically, when the record label got wind of The Cult’s coming back together, they pressed a conciliatory 10,000 copies and walked away from it. They were like, “What’s the point in us putting money into this record if he’s gonna go and start The Cult again?” So it’s a hidden gem in many ways. I do have an intention of going out and performing songs from that album at some point. And believe me, there’s a lot more where that came from. You can hear some of the stuff on that record popping up more in The Cult. Certainly on Choice of Weapon you can hear elements from Spirit\Light\Speed more so than you can actually hear elements of the ’94 album. It’s interesting. It’s like the second phase of The Cult is a different animal.
(from The AV Club interview w/ Ian Astbury - jun 7, 2012)