Don the headphones. Cosmic Mind Warp’s Subconscious is one of those albums you want injected directly into your noggin. Packing plenty of trippy aural chemistry and honoring 90s IDM with its share of spoken drop-ins, it gets right to the job of swirling around in there, splashing every corner with sound. Thumpy beats, crispy electronics, and a darkly cool sense readily balance out long deep-breath stretches. Getting lost in here is easy, beginning with the sparse and slightly haunted atmosphere of “Norwegian Whispers.” String sounds and field recordings wind their way through some darkened imaginary copse at pre-dawn, and every creak and crack heightens your senses. But the sonic fog here is thick and slow-moving, wrapping it all in a bit of mystery. “No Thoughts Existing in Your Head” takes its cue from your favorite lounge tune, with sexy bass and a lax pace doled out in long pads. “Alpha State of Mind” is slow and dreamy in a heavily medicated kind of way. Hymnal chords get pulled and twisted over a tapping beat. “Song of Slow” is a splendidly graceful ambient track, a surprising dose of calm in the midst of the more active tracks around it. And there are some comparatively uptempo pieces here. “Through Our Eyes” has the chug and churn of a low-level industrial track crossed with a hint of early OMD. “Future Possibilities” gives us bouncy bass figures, more vocal drops, and notes that rise up on bubbles of reverse echo.
I’ve enjoyed how varied Subconscious is without ever drastically changing its tone. I get a little sidetracked during “Thunder & Reeling,” which is just a bit too tangled, urgent and experimental for me, but it’s a forgivable offense because it’s quickly forgotten. For the rest of the album, there’s a thoughtfulness to the way the pieces slide together. Nothing jolts you from your slow descent into a pleasantly hypnotic state. There’s enough texture and gentle changeover, though, to pique your listening here and there. It’s the occasional nudge that leads to a “hmm” moment. This also means that you’ll probably hear something new on each listen. Most of the 15 cuts here are quick, clocking in around two to four minutes. Sometimes that can be a recipe for trying to do too much. Not here. Here it’s just layering on more spirals, more hush, and more interest. A smooth, cool, and trippy ride from Cosmic Mind Warp. Pop in for a listen. Don’t be surprised if you stay.
Available at Bandcamp.