Immersion: Sleepless (Swim)

The Brighton outfit featuring Wire big wheel Colin Newman deliver a solid second LP of ambient electronica

Released Jun 15th, 2018 via Swim / By Norman Miller
Immersion: Sleepless (Swim) There's a good pedigree hanging around Brighton-based electronic duo Immersion, featuring former Wire frontman Colin Newman with bassist Malka Spigel. There are collaborations with Ulrich Schnauss and Holy Fuck's Matt Schulz, plus Gil Luz and Asi Weitz of EBM band Hexenschuss pitch in too.

The music nods to a whole host of influences, from psych rockers like Moon Duo to the ambient electronica of Stereolab or 1980s synth pop. The sound is filled out to the point of lushness, with Newman's melodic sweetness melded to Spigel's muscular bass.

The opener Microclimate flirts with schmaltziness before drums and bass kick in with welcome heft, livened with brassy flourishes – though it still ends up sounding a bit like something off a Back To Mine chillout album. A similar failing afflicts The Humming, while the uptempo Manic Toys just seems a strange anomaly – like some kind of weird spaced out hoe-down.

Things are much better elsewhere, though. MS19's synth pop hook has the appeal of early Depeche Mode with the added spacey vibe of someone like Moon Duo, while the outstanding Propulsoid is a motorik masterpiece uniting bass and synth with Matt Schulz's fluid drum patterns.

Off Grid shows off a hypnotic guitar refrain, while the Eastern-inflected synth brass of the title track adds a welcome dose of unexpected mystery. Plus, unlike several other tracks, it develops – the tone darkening and extra synth layers adding intriguing textures.

There's a pleasing darkness underpinning the brilliant Seeing is Believing that begins like the soundtrack to the sci-fi deep space chiller before spiralling off into a melange of electronic squiggles with the cold cool of Kraftwerk, while the mournful album closer Io wafts looping melodies over a mesh of sound whose sweetness offers elegiac uplift. 7