Shrouded ambience stretches out into a palpable gloom created by inventive sampling on this release
A thick vapour of sound pours in rapidly, moistening the silence that had preceded it. How Many Times Have I Died Here Before? is rich with emotion from its very beginning. As we travel through the characterising loop, we find each twist and turn in melody brings more sadness and solemnity. One imagines a tumultuous and tear-stained sleep, plagued by one lone repeating vision, blurred by the menagerie of dream. The listener is enveloped by the track. Built upon fragments of mostly forgotten melodies, the two-track EP uses samples taken from a string quartet’s performance of an arioso. An arioso is a solo vocal piece, usually taking place in an opera. This at least gives partway of a reasoning as to how Blanket Swimming produce such a sublime and emotive sound. As we are lulled gently by the notes, the cadences feel reminiscent of a voice. The way the melody winds in on itself at the end, the sustained note slow in its attack. It has the control and nuance of a vocal performance, transformed by the string quartet and subsequently buried in Blanket Swimming’s incredible sampling.
Finally Standing Still sets out a more direct path. A soaring high note, just short of screeching euphoria, pushes toward and away from the listener as if they stand on a gently rocking boat, watching a lighthouse illuminate the dense fog. Augmenting notes weave their way past the travelling note, tinging it ever so slightly. Again, that dreamlike quality is present. The track stands before us, the movements happening just far away enough to be uncanny and unnerving.
The slow pulse and throb of Arioso feels as if it has been moving for an eternity; some great, cloaked force shrouded in darkness. The length of each track gives credence to this feeling, as Blanket Swimming stretches these soundscapes out with such confidence, inviting the listener into this ink-black odyssey. If listened to in the right mood and moment, Arioso provides an intensely cryptical experience.