Nothingness – “Bellows Breathing”


We were thrilled to premiere Nothingness’ captivating track “Conditioner” in August, noting at the time that the Conditions EP was forthcoming. The EP just dropped in the past week, giving me another opportunity to dig into Billy Young’s original, consuming sound.

All four tracks stand out, though “Bellows Breathing” is an especially striking endeavor. The six-minute journey builds from conversational ambiance and string flourishes into a soaring vocal-led performance, treading on pop, folk, and alternative. Aesthetically, I’m reminded of Spencer Krug’s enjoyably ambitious work. The “I can hear…” build-in at 01:30 sends chills, with emotive vocals to follow impressing. Guitar tones and key fragments adorn the second half in beautiful form.

The EP came together in various locations, starting “in the rural Gulf Islands, then urban East Van, his family’s farm in Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island, and eventually his hometown of Victoria.” Conditions pursues themes “that define human life in the early 21st century, sometimes terrifying, but always in celebration of the sublime” — employing imagery that prompts listeners to question the ways we separate “ourselves from each other and the Earth.”

The track and EP rely primarily on melodies constructed from Wurlitzer electric piano, pump organ, and various synths — with guitar mostly avoided. The release was mixed by Vancouver electronic artist Jesse Creed (Dimir Standard, FKA The Passenger) and is self-released.

Album Cover Photo by Libby Oliver

“Bellows Breathing” and other memorable tracks from this month can also be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of September 2019’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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