January 4, 2017
Republished from Depth Magazine
There are some artists that have a lasting impact upon you, where your relationship with music is changed from that point of listening to them onward. DBMK is one of those artists for me.
There are some artists that have a lasting impact upon you, where your relationship with music is changed from that point of listening to them onward. DBMK is one of those artists for me. I don’t know what I was expecting when I embarked on listening to DBMK, but I do know that what I heard was nothing like anything I could have predicted. Any musical preconceptions or expectations cannot exist when you’re listening to musicians that have mastered the art of creating via experimentation.
DBMK was born from the collaboration of Denim Blue & Miclain Keith. When Kyle and Miclain parted ways, DBMK evolved into a four piece band with Kyle, Jacob Trunzo, Josh Trunzo and Colton Ward. DBMK currently has Kyle responsible for the writing and arranging, yet he shares that there is opportunity for evolving amongst the four.
DBMK have two albums (Collapse and Abyss) and an EP under their belts. The beautiful Sleep EP is what I’m reviewing today. Sleep EP is five tracks long, and came about by way of Kyle seeking music and sounds to help him fall asleep. His search turned up empty and Kyle and Miclain then took the opportunity to creatively explore sleep-inducing music to help themselves as well as others. The result is the five tracks we find on Sleep EP.
Sleep EP begins with the first track “Internet Love”, which for any of us techno-addicts is already soul-soothing when we hear the distinct sounds of a computer booting up as well as the Apple startup sound. This song sets the scene of sitting in the dark at a computer and being taken on a journey of ideas, thoughts and whatever else comes. It’s sweet piano, looping melody, pulsing bass and electronified vocals. The lyrics such as “I’m so scared of being nothing at all” speak for those late night self-doubting and questioning voices within us.
The song structure of DBMK songs can’t necessarily be squished inside constraints of verse/chorus/bridge, due to the experimental and eccentric nature of how the songs are arranged. But what could be considered a bridge of “Internet Love” takes us out of that looping and distortion and into more open vocals and a more full and expansive sound.. before the computer shuts down to close the song (I really really want the lyrics for this EP).
“Planet” at track two is such a sweet lullaby sound; chiming chords, gentle beat, piano, hums and a bass that’s clearly there but not distracting from the lightness. I love the dance of layers of this song, feeling like ’rounds’ of a tune played together in harmony, and was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of lyrics from “Analog Boy” from Collapse. I find “Planet” both comforting and moving and I can’t fully explain why, but to have it on an EP designed for sleeping is genius. The break where piano ‘drops’ come in and chimes combine to build up with bass and vocals is amazing. It’s comforting and heartwarming, and then moving on into the lyrics of “Mmmm I’ve got you”.. well it’s an invitation to let go of fears and worries of the day and lean into sleep. Just bliss. Just what’s needed.
“Watercolors” has a stronger brass sound and drums sounding like they’re played behind closed doors, as well as piano. The orchestra of harmonising vocalisations is incredible and it’s again heartwarming. A ‘thinking of you’ voicemail soundbite set amongst delicate piano is part of this song and is a sweet inclusion for any listener feeling alone in the world. We don’t know who they are, but they’re a metaphor of a silent person who is caring from afar. So let’s breathe and sleep easier knowing that someone out there is thinking of us.
“You/Me” begins with deep and resonant piano. The repeated melody is soothing and grounding. The light and layered vocal harmonies are lightening of a weary mind. The piano is given space to ‘speak’ before Kyle’s vocals of “I don’t feel a thing” are echoed. A bass hum closes out the track. With headphones on this is otherworldly.
The EP ends with “Ground Breaker”. This curiously begins with shuffles and sighs of a person moving around, presumably setting up to play music. “Ground Breaker” invites a lonely sounding guitar in, before the expansive vocals begin. The vocal harmonies provided by Miclain Keith on this track are mindblowing and addictive in isolation (“Moving earth to see what’s brewing / Moving earth to see what’s human”). So when a chilled beat and experimental percussion joins in, it’s incredibly satisfying and enjoyable. A beautiful way to end the EP.
We love Sleep EP here and everyone I have shared it with seems to just ‘get it’, despite its uniqueness. You can stream this beautiful EP here and be blissed out too.
While the EP was released in March 2016, it is the focus of DBMK’s upcoming show on 7th January, 7pm at Krazy Kup. They’ll have Faze Wave joining them and will be playing the tracks from Sleep EP live! You can click on the ticket below to order yours to see them if you’re in the area (we’re not jealous, you are).
Posted in Album Reviews, DBMK.