Conforce - Escapism

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  • Like his recent Dystopian Elements EP, all ten tracks of Boris Bunnik's second full-length, Escapism, are unmistakably related, sharing a feel of chilly luminescence. Within this loose association, however, the gentle ebbs and flows created as each piece gives way to the next render this collection far more than the sum of its parts. The best section in which to observe this effect begins with "Lonely Run," a carry-over from the aforementioned EP. Its melodic elements never seem to progress; the piping notes dissipating into the sky. Similarly, its understated, acidic low-end isn't particularly impelling; it just bubbles on the spot like a volcanic mud puddle. Of course, neither of these factors make "Lonely Run" tedious. On the contrary, Bunnik's remarkable care ensures that every last track is compelling, their intensity carefully measured. From the outset, "Shadows of the Invisible"—the next cut—rides on a skipping shaker beat. It only lifts the intensity a touch, but in terms of the album's cumulative momentum, the effect is massive. Further adding to the sense of drive, a taut bassline is the next element to move into place. Ghostly flashes of synth and a plethora of dubby effects round out the piece, lending it a deep and eerie finish. From here, we're offered a four minute interlude via "Timelapse," which drops down to a barely-there breakbeat, weaving in heavily reverbed jolts of synth and rippling, psychedelic laser shots. The break is entirely necessary, as the following track, "Within," is the album's most energetic. Its flurries of claps are tiring enough, but in concert with other claps, splashing cymbals, steely synths and a strange off beat sproing—like a plastic ruler vibrating—it's nothing short of relentless. The final three tracks spend their time releasing this pent-up tension, getting progressively lighter and brighter. The first three tracks also prove crucial to the narrative, though their relationships are less evident. In the end, however, Escapism is about more than just ten well-crafted, similar-sounding tracks placed in a logical order. With track names like "Diversion" and "Ominous"—and the title itself—Bunnik seems like he's trying to warn us of something. It might be impossible to say what that thing is, but the way in which he says it is utterly captivating.
  • Tracklist
      01. Revolt DX 02. Escapism 03. Elude 04. Lonely Run 05. Shadows of the Invisible 06. Timelapse 07. Within 08. Aquinas Control 09. Ominous 10. Diversion