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Giant Surface Music Falling to Earth Like Jewels from the Sky

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Album Review

On their debut album (often mistakenly seen as their third due to a later re-release) Giant Surface Music Falling to Earth Like Jewels from the Sky, Yume Bitsu establish the formula for their unique brand of psychedelia/space rock, but where it differs here is that it almost feels like a concept album. In contrast to the buoyant euphoria and lysergic trance of their later anthems, these overall instrumental textures are on the gentler side, creating an aura of intense longing and debilitating melancholy, as if mourning for the loss of a loved one, the definitive end of an unsalvageable relationship, or perhaps a profound sadness for the sorry state of the human race. It's not necessarily a dark album, but the skies are gray throughout, and the vocals add a wistfulness that, along with the song titles and cover photo of an airport lobby, impart a sense of departure and loss. Travel and finality are apparent in the titles and lyrics of the mostly instrumental songs: "Of Freedom and Flight" begins the album with a gradual and tense slow build, evoking a mounting frustration, anger, then acceptance, when at the seven-minute mark the vocals come in, abstractly describing a doomed love. On "The End of Pain Is Near" the lyric "I will be with you" is repeated like a mantra over synth swells and arpeggiated guitar. "Travels Over Seascapes" is the greatest blissout that Spacemen 3 never wrote, spending a full five minutes floating on delayed guitar chimes and keyboard drone before stately drums march in. "Flight of the Navigator" repeats the simple refrain "you die" before the eruption of a minor feedback squall, although it's not as depressing as that may sound. But it's the 16-minute epic that closes the album, "Where Fog Blurs and Covers, Emptiness Prevails," where Yume Bitsu capture the grandeur of their best work: measured in pace, cinematic in scope, and utterly transporting as the best of this music is meant to be.


Formed: Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Portland, OR's space rock quartet Yume Bitsu consists of guitarist/vocalist Adam Forkner, guitarist Franz Prichard, keyboardist Alex Bundy, and drummer Jason Anderson, who also helms the indie rock band Wolf Colonel. The band -- whose name means "dream beats" in Japanese -- mixes deep, droning compositions with the odd psych pop song or two on releases like their self-titled debut and Giant Surface Music Falling to Earth Like Jewels From the Sky, which were both released by Ba Da Bing! Records. 2000...
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Giant Surface Music Falling to Earth Like Jewels from the Sky, Yume Bitsu
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