Immune Breathless

[Dream Catalogue; 2016]

Styles: privacy, wallpaper, escape
Others: 2814, Gas, Huerco S., Andy Stott

What is it about the texture of reverb that draws our minds in to sound? That signifies to us a specific manner of being possessed by music, a promise of ecstasy and depth on the most basic of levels? Hearing sound evaporate into an uncertain distance begs the question of where it’s gone and what that place might be like, an invitation to view sonics as a fully-functioning ecology. Perhaps you want to explore it, or moreso, perhaps you need to escape? It is only in that surrounding emptiness that your own isolation becomes evident and the true heart of reverberation is made clear; it suggests a landscape within us, but one that is only as expansive and welcoming as we allow it to be.

As WLGYL resolutely pointed out, the act of travel is a decidedly independent one, a venture into the unknown that may expand our perspective but ultimately requires cutting ourselves off from everything (and everyone) we know. Breathless, Immune’s second release for Dream Catalogue, takes this a step further by stringing us on a personal vacation through our own internal daily lives. Urban monotony, slippery nightlife, hours disappearing in front of your laptop — Breathless conjures all of these routines in its bleak collage of house, dub, and ambient, yet rather than becoming drowned in its own weariness, it uncovers new moods and energies between its familiar repetition. It’s stoic but in a playful way, a colorful retelling of inner-city melancholy that views overstimulated boredom as a kind of romantic notion, yet another otherworldly gateway into the sublime infinity of our own subconscious.

Although Breathless stands very separate from typical vaporwave custom, Immune follows similar synapses as he glides through these 14 tracks. In line with 2814’s tender 新しい日の誕生, Breathless slides right in with the rest of the Dream Catalogue with its understated surrealism and almost morbid tranquility, a private journey laced with fantastical realism. Take “New Years Eve” for example, a track driven by a barely audible vocal loop that in itself possesses an almost cheerleaderish quality, yet is all but sabotaged by haunting and powerful layers of heavy, voided-out drones. Breathless is deeply a laptop album, drenched in the watery tones of 90s shoegaze without losing its homespun sense of LED-backlit intimacy. Immune’s sense of techno music is simple, but aesthetically he imbues Breathless with a delicate smother, recalling countless works of the Kompakt variety while still carving its own path through our communal mindclub. Sometimes, on tracks like “Digital Rivers” and “Las Vegas,” the waves of formless noise take a backseat to the samples, and Immune merely allows the sequences to repeat themselves indefinitely, achieving a kind of moving stillness that is numbing yet incredibly emotive. It’s not music for moving to in the traditional sense, but rather a citymap that projects the various avenues we pass through day-to-day, leading us forward with the temptation of discovering something hidden, or forbidden, beneath the grid.

Breathless is both an alternate reality and a suggestion: if wasted time is typically thought of as antithetical to the search for meaning, then how did we end up with such a mystical work apparently inspired by the hours we spend zoning out into nothingness? The anonymous Immune mainly composed Breathless “sitting in various McDonalds and coffee shops in West London, just kind of watching the world go by.” You can feel the flatness in these recordings, closing in with claustrophobic tightness, dour yet somehow still pulsing with its own heartbeat. This time we spend just sitting, all this accumulated nothing, is ultimately what fills the pages of our own actual stories when we aren’t busy envisioning grand arcs and conflicts and beginnings and endpoints to it all. Rather than teaching us a concept, Immune brings us into this moment, lets us feel how it is to be in the middle of something, to see time pass right before us and into an eternally inaccessible ether. We are caught in a tunnel between one abyss and the next, holding our breath, listening to a song that might gift us with a true sense of reality, waiting for the light to change.

Links: Immune - Dream Catalogue

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