I can’t remember the last time I heard a record that is as immersive and befuddling as that of Blurry, the debut LP from Hamburg-based Luka Seifert, known here as RIP Swirl.
RIP Swirl’s career began as that of a DJ, producer and mixer that specialized in electronic music. On his debut, it’s an amalgamation of sounds that drift seamlessly from one track to another, often wordlessly.
The album’s title track begins auspiciously with the repetition of a single bass note accented with refracting guitars, creating a hypnotic groove that drifts into the undertow of “Love Song.” Suddenly you hear scratching noises that are punctuated with a metallic thud that eventually grows in intensity before running out of steam.
If the album’s first two songs are exercise in sound, “Smiling Dog” represents the album’s first exercise in song. Joined with Clayjay, RIP Swirl combines a knotty bass track with cool synths that allows Clayjay’s vocal to slide right across. It sounds like a cloud is singing.
So much of Blurry just sounds cool. There’s the drippy, glassy “In Blue”, the Massive Attack-esque “Nonsense” and the glacial “Purify”. But some of the album’s strongest moments come when RIP Swirl has a collaborator, like Andreya Casablanca on the dreamy, lo-fi fingerpicked guitar of “Blue Moon” or the harmonies that Ydegirl contributes on “Pass Out”.
Blurry is a great look into the breadth and scope of RIP Swirl’s talent. There’s a lot here to enjoy as it stands - great, provocative, elemental stuff that is good to vibe out on. Moving forward, it would not be hard to see RIP Swirl having wild success with adding collaborators to these type of songs. Until then, this is an album to sit back and purely enjoy.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media