Album Review: sub:shaman “Apnea”

sub:shaman’s Apnea would probably be the soundtrack of your weird and unexplainable dream if you were to have one. Evident to the music video of their first single, “A-Hole”, it documents the story (or should I say ‘dreams’) of an artist who woke up and filmed himself saying he ‘had a weird dream’. Is it just a dream or is it a reality? The ambiguity of it all is quite intriguing.

Made up of members from several other homegrown bands .gif, Pleasantry, Spacedays and Paris in the Making five years was what it took for the quintet to release their much anticipated debut full-length album. It sonically acts as an expansion from their 2014 EP Outsider., with nine solid tracks that depicts a dark, bold and mismatch world in the best way possible.

“Quiver” is a notable track that starts off with a minute long guitar riffs and drumbeat frenzy. And then confusingly, it drifts off in a slow and offbeat tempo with keyboards and vocals that repetitively goes with lines such as ‘The vibrations / they blur my vision’ that makes it remarkably groovy.

For fans who are more familiar with the band, “Django” and “O Negative” are tracks from their Split EP with Japanese outfit Qu, which made it to the album.

Apnea concludes with its namesake, with Isa Ong’s vocals singing ‘Whisper to me / I’m about to drown’ in the first verse and gradually ends off with an acappella. The abrupt but mysterious ending makes the listener wonder whether they’re still dreaming… or maybe just living in their head and wanting to avoid the harsh truth of reality.

According to the dictionary, ‘apnea’ means ‘temporary cessation of breathing, especially during sleep.’ sub:shaman has certainly lives up to its title as it deals with themes that are much more profound and darker than their previous releases.

sub:shaman “Apnea”” Album Launch with The Psalms and Mudman

Catch sub:shaman perform their album for the first time in its entirety at the Esplanade Annexe Studio this Saturday, 13 May 2017 at 7pm. With support from The Psalms and Mudman. Entry is $15-$20.

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