Slip into a Sunken Reverie with ‘Bubbles’ by iji


I have heard that you can dream multiple dreams in one night. With Bubbles, iji burst our dream bubble, and makes a surreal landscape come to life with 13 different dreams. With pop, rock, and experimental sounds, iji adds an earthy feeling to underwater mystery, making for an airy depth of sound in a calming deepness.

iji Submerges into Bubbles

With a xylophone tumbling bubbly sound, “What’s Real” issues bright and striking keyboard chords. Adding in a light funky rhythm from the guitar with a blocky percussion and folky vocals, “What’s Real” ends with a saxophone depth, creating softness, sending the “brain reeling” from a diverse energy of music.

Doors creaking, water bubbling, guitars strumming a sliding luau strum, “Wild Music” lurches forward in feel-good chiming and the keyboard lingers in a swingy swelling of sound in the background. Starting softly and ending with a clamor of tambourine electricity, “Wild Music” creates the full sound of iji, “free music.”

“The Pattern Grows Clearer” has a reminiscent vocal tone to that of Leonard Cohen: a sing-talk, storytelling sensibility. The lower tones of the vocals add a heightened quality above the steady instrumentals charging with an anxious energy.

While the words “watch the patterns change” are sung, the rhythmic pattern of the song changes in structure. The bass accents the psychedelic vocals, a kaleidoscope layer of color, and the cymbals set underneath the underwater sliding chords of the bass.

With water squishing behind a circular phrasing of the verse lines and a memento type chorus, “Losing Track of Time” has a memory lane kind of melody. As the lines of the chorus slide down the scale, and as the lyrics are wrought with a pang, it is as if something is left behind.

“Orange Peel Moniker” has a more rock ‘n’ roll energy, spoken from the mouth of the drumbeats and by the riffs of the guitar. The main vocals sound like a voice on the radio and the casual harmonies echo like The Kinks’ early music. A spooky effect pumps from the keyboard in a futuristic space-age feel: a ’60s pop-psychedelic sound full of a colorful dream sequence.

A call and response, “Stretching Out” is a song of “two characters into their head-on crash.” With tin drumming, beautiful guitar burring, and a swaying rhythm, “Stretching Out” stretches right into a ’50s backbeat, wafting a cool breezy feeling.

A reverberating radiated feedback loops as a plugged-in bass rips at the strings and an island beat pops from the guitar in “Candle Flame.” The tempo lags into a slow-paced high-pitched purity of multiple harmonies, with a bell resonance and tone, soaring in a beautiful outcry of sound, “candle flame.”

The soothing quality and simplicity of the vocals mix in a peacefulness with the blended instruments: the rock sounds of the drum, the funk from the bass, and the luau strums of the guitar. As the song swirls shut, spinning sirens in the distance emerge and the instrumentals become darker, more rushed, restless, uneasy.

“Summer of 2069” cheers open with positivity from trumpet sounds, a vibrant energy above the earnest vocals. A slowed-down version of a ska beat “send[s] a swoosh to the past” and affected high-pitched background vocals generate an alien sound, an unknown uncanniness. “Summer of 2069” portrays all the associations of the title: the future and the mystery surrounding.

A short song of sound bursts, like a sleep-starter sound machine, “Whooping” chirps open on an enchanted, magical forest fairy sound; an arcade sound morphing into a rainforest of animals singing in water whispers, in technical whirring. As electronic chords emerge, iji closed the song with a digital video game resonance, a super world sound not like our own.

Finally, “What’s Happening,” with its lunacy frequency and wallowing notes, as if submerged into the depths of water, a murky navy darkness of water, is a recap of the themes of Bubbles tied together.

As a sharp key change modulates “What’s Happening” not once, but twice, a very heightened ride to the music shoots out a prickly feeling. But then, the song ends: a light ping like a video game ending, or like reaching a charging point, gaining a life, and beginning again. Wake up!

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