Late Night Music From the Backseat: On submerse’s ‘Are You Anywhere’

Chris Daly breaks down 'Are You Anywhere,' the new LP from submerse.
By    September 28, 2017


Chris Daly likes his syrup on pancakes.

As the last rays of summer fades into autumn, there is no better time than now to plunge into the world of submerse. The Tokyo-by-way-of-the-UK beatsmith takes things to syrupy new depths on his sophomore album, Are You Anywhere, on the always stellar Project: Mooncircle label.

As he so succinctly says himself in a recent BBC interview, “My music sounds like hip hop mixed with really mellow, dusty, kind of lo-fi soundscapes and 80s music, R&B, slow jams, video game music, just kind of everything crushed in together on a pretty melancholy kind of tip.” While I think he does himself a disservice with the implied pessimism of some of his word choices, I agree wholeheartedly with his touch points and source material shout outs.

Over dusty samples and smooth DX7 keys, submerse crafts audio syrup for your ear holes, one song oozing into the next. Track titles belie his intent. Early tracks “Sleepover” and “Need More Z’s” are head nodders, plaintive, yet embracing, akin to the drowsy feeling one gets between doing shots of Nyquil and listening to Enya before drifting off on a wave of narcoleptic delight.

Keeping with the bedroom motif, but taking a sharp left, “Firstbase” shows off the young beat meister’s skills as a lethal Lothario on the wheels of steel. submerse employs fellow Tokyo DJ/producer fitz ambro$e on both “Can We Go Back” and “Good w U,” each a reminder that sometimes two heads are better than one. ambro$e brings a crisper aesthetic along with him, but no hypnotic magic was sacrificed in the process. As one enters, so one leaves, as the album dissolves into ephemeral beauty with the eponymous album closer. Are You Anywhere may be the best option you find in 2017 for both late night romps and cross-country nap soundtracks.

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