Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Release of the Day: Breathing Problem - Bed of Sex, Pit of Tar

No intimacy is like another. One person’s demonstration of love is another’s pain. One person’s scream is another’s orgasm. “Love,” a nebulous, complicated proposition, as much a contract as an emotion, lacks a common denominator: there’s no key to making partnerships work. Definitions and examples go out the window. Because of this, love and intimacy are insular, unique, and above all private. Broken privacy is unnerving and often grotesque. There’s nothing quite as cringe-inducing as a public display of affection, and yet, though there’s a repulsive gag response to such an exhibit, isn’t there some sickening urge to partake?

Bed of Sex, Pit of Tar, the latest opus from Rusty Kelley and Emelia McKay's relentlessly curious, unabashedly fearless project Breathing Problem, is a meditation on intimacy and the great internal conflict between sex and violence. Though Breathing Problem has taken several forms, on this latest and most consistent iteration, it places Kelley and partner Emelia McKay’s relationship front and center, taking the ins and outs, the peaks and valleys, and the pleasures and pains of giving part of yourself to someone else, and makes the minutiae monstrous.


Where earlier Breathing Problem releases were power electronics-based, Bed of Sex, Pit of Tar appropriates darkwave, field recordings, and John Carpenter-esque synthscapes to more effectively render the material beautiful, while maintaining an uneasy, moody undercurrent. Emelia’s haunting vocal contributions are a welcome addition too, as they compliment the rich electronic textures of the album. It’s more realized, and frankly more listenable, than any earlier Breathing Problem release - it forgoes striking the listener down in repetitive waves of violence for a seductive bait and switch tactic. The product of a transparent, moving partnership, Bed of Sex, Pit of Tar is an actively rounded affair, diverse in sound and theme, the result of a duo ready and willing to explore both the ugly and beautiful qualities of its own duality.

Bed of Sex, Pit of Tar is out on Torn Light Records

1 comment:

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