Welcome to the latest edition of swim~’s extremely occasional info mailing!
Sleepless, the new album from Immersion
Widescreen music – lush, detailed and smartly executed
Immersion are Malka Spigel and Colin Newman. Although best known for their work with, respectively, Minimal Compact and Wire, the duo’s work as Immersion provides an outlet for their ongoing fascination in crafting enthralling, unique musical soundscapes.
Sleepless is Immersion’s latest album, a suite of ten distinctive, unpredictable instrumentals that effortlessly encapsulate a range of emotions and energies. It follows 2016’s Analogue Creatures Living on An Island, which saw the duo return to the studio after a lengthy hiatus. On release, that album received unanimous praise from reviewers:
“A collection of seductive instrumentals that’s as sensual as it is hypnotic” (Drowned in Sound)
“Analogue Creatures features some genuinely lovely work.” (Wire Magazine)
“Achieves a kind of hypnotic power” (Mojo)
“Full of infinite wonder.” (The Quietus)
Sleepless is at once a logical development from Analogue Creatures Living on An Island and a huge leap forwards. Although the influence of German krautrock pioneers like Tangerine Dream and Popal Vuh is still detectable, Immersion have evolved their own far more personal sound. Their amalgam of fascinating textures and limpid melodies gives their compositions an irresistible appeal.
While warmly percolating analogue synths remain at the heart of Immersion’s sound, Sleepless finds their sonic palette broadened to encompass guitars, drums and bass. There’s a guest appearance from Matt Schulz of Holy Fuck, too, and a collaboration with Gil Luz and Asi Weitz of EBM band Hexenschuss. For a duo who once titled an album Low Impact, this is most definitely Immersion in high-impact mode!
Album opener ‘Microclimate’ is a bright, optimistic composition with shades of Ulrich Schnauss in its thoughtful, melodic flow. ‘Off Grid’ kicks off with the infectious sound of a four-string tenor guitar, but it’s soon joined by flickering synths and one of Spigel’s characteristically spacious bass-lines. In fact, Spigel’s bass work throughout the album may be the finest she’s ever committed to tape.
Just as you think you might be getting the measure of the album, the title track opens with a richly melancholic brass arrangement. But this is then eclipsed by an Eastern-sounding melody and strangely circling guitar line. Like all Immersion’s best work, it’s simultaneously mysterious and emotionally engaging.
‘Propulsoid’ has the kind of urgent electro-glide that might suggest Moon Duo or Suicide, but the core melody is unmistakably Immersion. The strict yet fluid drum pattern comes courtesy of Matt Schultz of Holy Fuck, who provides the track with a strong motorik drive.
‘Manic Toys’ is another distinctly up-tempo track, which comes across as a weird deep-space hoe-down, while ‘Seeing is Believing’ begins with dark synth tones suggesting we might be listening to the soundtrack to an early 1970s dystopian sci-fi film. But as the piece evolves, there is something of the bucolic splendour of Boards of Canada to be heard in the cycling rhythm and rich drones. Album closer ‘Io’ sees several looping celebratory melodies overlaid to create a mesh of sound that is elegiac and uplifting.
Sleepless is widescreen music – lush, detailed and smartly executed. In short, Immersion have produced an album that politely but firmly demands your attention.
As well as a North American tour with Matt Schulz from the amazing Holy Fuck guesting on about half of the shows, there will also be a ‘pre-tour’ Nanocluster with the equally amazing Ulrich Schnauss as our guest/collaborator. Find out more about Nanocluster below.
JUNE 8 NANOCLUSTER 4, RoseHill, Brighton, UK – with Ulrich Schnauss - BUY TICKETS
JUNE 23 Bootleg Theatre, LA, California, USA – with Matt Schulz on drums - BUY TICKETS
JUNE 24 Cafe Du Nord, San Francisco, California, USA – with Matt Schulz on drums - BUY TICKETS
JUNE 26 Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, Oregon, USA - BUY TICKETS
JUNE 27 Barboza, Seattle, Washington, USA - BUY TICKETS
JUNE 29 Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA - BUY TICKETS
JULY 1 Larimer Lounge, Denver, Colorado, USA - BUY TICKETS
JULY 3 Record Bar, Kansas City, Missouri, USA - BUY TICKETS
JULY 5 7th St. Entry, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - BUY TICKETS
JULY 6 Schubas, Chicago, Illinois, USA – with Matt Schulz on drums - BUY TICKETS
JULY 7 Third Man Records Cass Corridor, Detroit, Michigan, USA – with Matt Schulz on drums - BUY TICKETS
JULY 9 The Drake, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – with Matt Schulz on drums - BUY TICKETS
JULY 11 La Vitriola, Montreal, Quebec, Canada – with Matt Schulz on drums - BUY TICKETS
JULY 13 Great Scott, Aliston, Massachusetts, USA – with Matt Schulz on drums - BUY TICKETS
JULY 14 Rough Trade NYC, Brooklyn, New York, USA – with Matt Schulz on drums - BUY TICKETS
Nanocluster has been bubbling away in the background for the last few months, but with two sell-out editions we now feel there is a proof of concept and are happy to share details in a newsletter – even if it might prove somewhat frustrating for fans based far from our home town of Brighton (UK).
The idea of Nanocluster (named for an Immersion track) is that Immersion perform a half-hour set, then our guest(s) perform a half-hour set, and then we do a combined set of half an hour. The combined set is the result of us and our guest(s) having written material together during the period before the performance. Typically, they stay with us for a few days and we work in studio together. Everything is recorded. The last two editions – with Tarwater and Laetitia Sadier – sold out the little venue we use in Brighton for these nights, and so anyone interested is advised not to wait to buy tickets. You can also find a ticket link on the Nanocluster Facebook page.
These events are unique. There is a possibility we might attempt a ‘reprise’ of previous events in other cities (London and Berlin are under discussion), but a full tour in unlikely. However, we are looking into releasing an album at some point in the future.
Although Immersion’s debut into the recording world was in 1994 (making us a mere 24 years old), we have never had our own dedicated website. With the flurry of activity around the new album and ongoing Nanoclusters, we have decided to take the plunge. We’re starting simple, and will grow the site over time. It can be found at immersionhq.uk . News will of course still be (occasionally and erratically) available from this source; and our Facebook pages remain facebook.com/immersionHQ/ for Immersion and facebook.com/NanoclusterEvent/ for Nanocluster.