I’ve always loved the idea of romanticism, especially when tied to a location of fond memory. Now, living away from home, I find myself often looking back to daily journeys taken in my hometown. The salty spray of the ocean waves, the cry of the seagulls, the sun disappearing into the ocean like a great ball of fire distinguished.
Isn’t it funny how huge these little journeys seem when looking back? How romantic and optimistic they seemed? Little moments seem to engulf their larger brothers and sisters as the grains of time fall.
DreamCycles is an artist who has perfected the art of appreciating those private, daily journeys. As part of the Red Bull Music Academy, and through the creative’s NTS radio shows, DreamCycles has constructed a world of bruising peacefulness that acts as a guide for those highs and lows that we all feel.
Bitflower Bb is a side project of the Dublin producer, and arriving on emerging label New Info is 'Mastalgia'; a word that denotes the common breast pain which most women experience frequently. It’s the third release on what is quickly becoming one of Ireland’s most captivating experimental imprints, following releases from the (always incredible) Orlando FitzGerald and Washington D.C doublet Ot to, not to.
All of the tracks on Mastalgia where constructed between 2017 and 2018. Produced as a “companion for dusk walks and the light of dawn commutes along Dublin streets”, it already conjures up all sorts of idealistic illustrations of the windows, doors, walls and walkways that become a part of the daily Irish commute.
The mini-album opens with ‘Blue Fire’ – a fragile and delicately layered cut of dreamy, ethereal pop. It fucks you up right away. In a blend of happiness and sadness, it will remind you of moments you thought you had long forgotten. No one does emotion music quite like this.
‘City Passing’ moves further into pop territory with layered, whimsical vocals and indie bedroom aesthetic, again spinning the plates of joy and despair with subtle and tender grace, while ‘Soft Song’ lightens the load of the tortured soul in an enchanting medley of soft chords, hazy vocals, the chirps of seemingly invisible crickets and the gentle flowing of an undisturbed stream.
Onto the B-side, and the peace and tranquillity does not let up. The sound of rain splashing onto the green leaves of the plants in the garden, the gentle sound of keys clinking and the sporadic bursts of colour from a xylophone provide a wonderful interlude before diving into contemporary pop territory once more in ‘First Pop’.
'Mastgalia' reaches its climax with ‘Last Summer Passes On’, a track as contemplative and nostalgic as the title suggests. It’s a track that lightens the load, soothes the soul, ignites inner sadness and incites self reflective thought. Summer has long been the most romanticised of seasons. It’s the end, and the beginning, of so much.
I’m reminded of a scene from The Perks Of Being A Wallflower whilst listening. You know the one – when they’re driving through the tunnel. The whole mini-record maintains this personal, bittersweet hopefulness. Its beauty lies within its intimacy.
This record will mean something different to everyone. Nostalgia is the most powerful emotion on the world. 'Mastalgia' is full of it, and combined with a dreamy, bedroom pop aesthetic, incredible imagination and subtle optimism it is an essential listen for those wishing to open their eyes, soothe their soul and take in the beauty that surrounds them every day.
Words: Andrew Moore
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