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Breathe Of My Leaves-Chimera E4M Review  This thread currently has 160 views. Print
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Pughie
May 18, 2018, 9:16am Report to Moderator

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Breathe Of My Leaves is a project a long time in the making. Conceived randomly when his brother casually chucked him a music-making software disc that he found in a magazine, the one-man band headed by Stephano Barberis, a multiple award-winning Canadian music video director, began as a casual experiment in electronic sounds and dramatic melodies.

Chimera is the follow up album to 2013’s Pangeometrica and is more wildly experimental, featuring manipulated vocal samples on top of the typically super-melodic synth arrangements. The album is also more varying, touching on spaghetti western, gospel, Motown, traditional Greek “laika,” country, rock, and baroque, on top of spiraling trance arpeggios, hip hop breakbeats, and booming analogue synths. This motley mosaic of influences is what prompted the name “Chimera” – after the mythical Greek monster composed of a multitude of different animal parts.

The first single from Chimera will be the throbbing pop tempest “Love You Lately” feat. Jordan Gant - a muscular, catchy, mid-tempo anthem that manages to be both dark and uplifting at the same time. The single will feature remixes and bonus tracks and will be released shortly after the album.

.................................................

Erasure4rum Exclusive Review-
Erasure4rum thoughts on each track followed by Stephano’s personal track descriptions.





01. Glowing Pacific
Great driving beat with gliding synth lines and the treated vocal lead sample,a great album opener sets the tone and pace of whats to come.

CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER - TRACK 1: “Glowing Pacific”  Breathe Of My Leaves // I had an overall optimistic vibe that I wanted to infuse this song with.  It has touches of spaghetti westerns mixed with jaunty 80's pop (reminiscent of Nu Shooz's "I Can't Wait").  Adding a manipulated choir of what I imagine to be cute little chanting Indigenous children really makes this a great, feel-good way to introduce (and represent) an album that is so random.  Not only are all the songs completely different from each other, but often the songs will make a quick switch in direction within themselves.  Title-wise, "Glowing Pacific" is a good way to take various meanings and bundle them into one.  Is it an optimistic view that the Pacific region the next world power?  Is it that the Pacific now glows with radiation?  Whatever it is, it greets the listener at the door with its fun, spiralling arpeggios and melange of genres.  Welcome to Chimera's schizophrenic sonic starscape.

02. Love You Lately
The lead single and obvious choice,with a great opening bassline,then the vocals with kicking drum track. Some nice backing synth bleeps Vince would be proud of. A nice vocal from Jordan Gant with the catchiest of choruses that really stick in your head and doesn't leave however much you protest. The last 30 seconds have no vocal but it just draws you in. "God i love that feeling"

- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 2: “Love You Lately” feat. Jordan Gant
Breathe Of My Leaves

All my favourite artists throughout the years have been able to do something similar:  create songs that are dark yet uplifting.  I love pop but I don’t like when it’s lighthearted.  I prefer when it’s substantial, deep, and dark, yet still lifts you and gives you goosebumps.  What I’m most happy about with this particular song (which will be the first single), is that it does precisely all that above.  It’s about heartbreak but oddly lifts the listener up.  Thanks to my good friend Jordan Gant’s incredible vocal, the song is a wistful, emotive, and thunderous powerhouse.

It all started years ago when Jordan heard a song called “Gone” off my first album and sent me surprise vocals for it.  The vocals were so fantastic that I re-configured the song around his singing to make it more muscular and this is the result, appearing on my forthcoming album Chimera.

As mentioned earlier, this will be the first single, coming out shortly after the album with remixes and a bonus track.



03. Nightbloom
A booming bassline of impending doom opens this track,with a simple drum track following. I love the secondary synth line that comes in,very cinematic.

- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 3: “Nightbloom"
@breatheofmyleaves

This was one of the fastest songs to complete, being pretty much the most minimalist composition I've ever created.  After a writing stretch of "up" tracks, this one came along to balance everything out with its dark, foreboding analogue synth moodiness.  It has a distinctly Depeche Mode meets Massive Attack feel.  

The vibe I'm trying to get across with this one is that people are only their true selves at night, when all the harshness and judgement of day is gone, hence a flower blooming at night.  It gets a bit euphoric in its breakbeats near the end, again symbolizing how people can embrace what they truly are - even if some people's true selves are a little dark and menacing, others are just more artistic or love to dance and celebrate.


04. Heart Like A War Drum
Thundering drum rolls start this track of with a lead synth whistle taking over the main melody. Real driving rhythms throughout the track with all its different sections building nicely. Before the final drum crescendo.

- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 4: “Heart Like A War Drum"
Breathe Of My Leaves
This is one of the songs that has received repeated mentions from most people who were gracious enough to preview this album earlier. It's probably because this song is quite a bit more like what people have come to know my music for - the beats are a lot more driving, the structure is a bit more complex, and it has a bit more of a dynamic 80's vibe to it.
"Heart Like A War Drum" really did feel quite polemic with its war drums, sirens, frantic diversions, and even guitar. It has a darkness to it and a lot of weight, all getting lifted into a victorious, helium-like chorus with sampled female vocals crying out in pleading, tornadic echoes. I had so many countermelody ideas, many of which overlap one another, but many of which I had to lose because it felt like a swarm of separate songs layered over each other.
This song definitely isn't minimalist or simplistic. Rather, it’s a rush of ideas, melodies, quick turns, and electronics, all dressed in a Tron-like armour suit of 80's neon and exploding pixels. Interestingly, it almost didn't make the album but after all the positive comments I received on it, it found it's place on the record.
As for the title, I drew a parallel between how tense the world is now, seemingly just one twitch away from war, and human relationships. Often, a heart can be both the most beautiful thing in the world and the most disastrous weapon.



05. Something From Nothing
A gentle piano intro lush synth pads in this mid tempo 'film score' that wuldnt sound out f place as a film title piece.

- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 5: “Something From Nothing"
Breathe Of My Leaves
The part in the movie where the protagonist suddenly comes to the conclusion that there is a power higher than him, as he’s physically lifted out of harms way, levitating in the air. That’s the soundtrack vibe of this song.
I wanted to impart a feeling of epic hope and make it victorious and majestic, so, strings to the rescue. I normally infuse all my songs with strings (synths and strings are magic), but I wanted to stay away from that mostly on this album, bar a few exceptions, like this song. (It can get a bit “safety-blanket” when you use similar sounds and techniques often).
Strings were the motif of the last album - manipulated vocal sample are the motif of this one. Almost every track has some sort of manipulated vocal on it.
The uplifting feel here is deep and important, building to a spiralling, heightened climax. This was a very easy song to write, coming together basically on its own. The intention of the song is very spiritual and pre-ordained - a common thread through many of these tracks. It’s a feeling of gratitude and belief, the realization that everything is suddenly here out of nothingness.
Coldplay meets Moby.


06. Dancing With My Hallucinations
Another excellently disguised vocal sample,used as a very Utah Saints sounding lead melody. One of my favourites from the album.

- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 6: “Dancing With My Hallucinations"
Breathe Of My Leaves
This song is about my oneirophrenia. It's also one of my favourite songs I've ever written.
Basically, I tend to stay up extremely late to work on all my creative projects and this lack of sleep can lead to hallucinations and bizarre phenomena (temporarily). Working on creating ideas in my basement, I find myself moving around strangely and not remembering how I got there, dancing, lifting weights, kneeling and arranging objects on the floor, painting on the bathroom mirror or showerglass with different cleaning products, having conversations with my cats, receiving dream messages from the trees in the yard, etc. This song is about that euphoric time when the world is asleep and I'm machinating.
It's also just a feel-good song that makes me want to walk down the street and march to its spirit. Like the emergence to good times after a bout of bad times and making it out of the tunnel. Like feeling gratitude for every single thing in life. This is one of my only songs I can listen to on repeat endlessly.
Also, this song is very much at the heart of the creative core of this album - a reliance on manipulated vocals as the foundation of the song. Channeling the electronic styles of Fatboy Slim or DJ K-rec than anything 80s this time, it's Motown's representation on my album. However, the bizarre twists and turns it takes allude heavily towards the oneirophrenic/schizophrenic theme of me dancing with my ideas to romance them out in a basement somewhere in the suburbs deep at night.
Pre-dawn afflatus, basically.



07. Hallelujah I'm Home
I just love the way you've treated these sounds to get these unique sounding lead lines,more treated vocal effects that sound real yet automated at the same time,the machines are taking over. all leading up to the epic finish that just disappears into nothing.

- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 7: "Hallelujah I'm Home"
@breatheofmyleaves
This is ME, writ large.
"Hallelujah I'm Home" is the electro-gospel song on this album - and one of my favourite tracks I've ever written. A perfect storm of gospel and synths collliding, I manipulated Gregorian monk chants and electrified them with analogue synths and breakbeats, creating a frantic, uplifting track. This ones for my fellow Erasure fans.
The feeling of becoming who you were meant to be, arriving at the place you were destined to end up, being with the people you were supposed to connect with, and being overwhelmed with rapture. I love frenetic songs that sound like impending doom - as though monks are passionately praying while walls around them are collapsing. Yet it still sounds happy. This is me at my nerdiest.
(And you have to admit - this video montage of iconic 80's commercial moments is the best. It really does feel like I've arrived home).


08. Eidolon
A very experimental track for me,it reminds me of Music For Multiple Dimensions-lots of different styles mixed together in a musical stew!

- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 8: "Eidolon"
@breatheofmyleaves

This is probably one of my most experimental songs to date, like a series of chunky, trance, electronic dreams.  To me, this sounds like a haunted tropical soundtrack -  ghosts in the South Pacific.  It shifts gears often and randomly in a "Bohemian Rhapsody" meets Depeche Mode sort of way.  It may be sparse but it's heavy (particularly the breakdown) and would sound great blasting through speakers at a nightclub full of people who love new wave, church organs, goth ghosts, thunderous beats, and coconut-scented tanning lotion.

Though in all seriousness, "Eidolon" placed in the middle of the album breaks the collection into two halves and cleanses the aural palate.


09. Haris Alexiou
Starts of sounding like you've opened a music box. But then turns into this Greek family get together with plate smashing and communal dancing,like an evening at the Barberis household! I feel like if i say i don't like this track i will find a horses head on my pillow in the morning.
Just who is Haris Alexiou?,is it Figaro's Greek cousin?


- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 9: “Haris Alexiou”
@breatheofmyleaves

This one started when I found a sample of a bouzouki that I started to play with and manipulate. The song kept building until it’s the Greek monster it is today. In fact, I was so moved by its fun and fiery energy that I decided to call it by my favourite singer’s name.
Haris Alexiou is the voice of Greece since the 1970s when she as a young prodigy singer. I was born here in Canada to Greek parents in northern BC, where her resounding Byzantine tones would boom throughout the icy landscapes in a daily basis. I have such fond memories of listening to Alexiou albums while driving on summer holidays, at empasdioned Greek dances, and in the dead of winter in our car - literally Greek fire on Canadian ice. She taught me that passion can be channeled through music like volcanic bursts. She kept my love for Greece burning like the sun.
Every album she releases is special-ordered and treasured. I still think Η Ζωή Μου Κικλους Κανι (My Life Goes In Circles) is the best Greek album ever, and she switches from genre to genre between albums. Her voice is works-rekniwn, winning many awards internationally. I can’t say enough about what this lady means to me and what she’s done for me. I only hope that this bombastic electronic song I wrote in her honour does her even one molecule of justice.


10. Ooh Ooh (Coconuts from Nunuvut)
When i hear this it just reminds me of the escape tune from the 60's classic British heist movie The Italian Job (The Self Preservation Society) and that my friend is a big compliment i love it. It just makes you HAPPY.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXUQlmO-L8s&t=26s

- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 10: “Ooh Ooh (Coconuts From Nunavut)”
Breathe Of My Leaves

This may very well be my first country-folk-Mexi-techno song? I wanted a fun and twangy type of beat-heavy electro song, so I mixed folk and country elements with a very strong beat that I crafted (quite laboriously). The "ooh ooh's" remind me of Faith Hill's voice for some reason after I manipulated them, and during the crazy breakdown, there's Spanish guitar, more female vocal Motown vocal samples mixed with doo-wop vocals. Basically, it's jarring insanity but designed to make you smile (hopefully).
It's also going to be the second single from this album.
As for the title, it's kind of a fun angle at an ecological message. I see a society of Indigenous people happily dancing and singing while they process coconuts in a now-tropical Nunavut plantation factory. Obviously, for this to happen in Canada's arctic would spell out ecological disaster, but the whistle-while-you-work-while-the-planet-burns is some heavy gallows humour set to a phat beat and catchy, nonsensical vocals.
Basically, gleefully bonkers cartoon country.


11. Every Breath A Rapture
Its a nice enough track,but doesn't really get me going (ouch sorry)

- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 11: “Every Breath A Rapture”
@breatheofmyleaves

This one is an extremely simple song with a positive vibe, again playing in the theme of being grateful for every molecule and every experience.  The fact that we are even all here from out of nowhere is mind blowing.

This song has a very celebratory spirit, in that every breath we take should be rapturous.  It’s one of the simplest songs I’ve ever made, building different layers on the same motif.  The sounds have a bit of an existential, futuristic, timeless  feeling with a highly rubberized bass line for bounce.  It’s a “march down the street with light and pep and optimism in your step” sort of song (hopefully).


12. Spacebird
This sounds like a TV Theme from a 60's puppet lead Space series,the one Gerry Anderson wanted to make but didn't.

- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 12: “Spacebird”
@breatheofmyleaves

I am obsessed with all things cinematic, and dare I say the word - epic.  I wanted this song to be an interstellar journey and larger than life, so I threw everything at it.  Sweeping melodies, soaring string arrangements, laser sounds (that I handcrafted painstakingly), alien choirs, Russian men's choirs, British schoolboy choirs, sci-fi atmospherics, arpeggiating notes, distorted synths, robot stutters, EDM plonks, trance, church organ, analogue synthesizers, echoing acoustic environments, and more.  This is the aural equivalent of prisms, light, space travel, infinity, and intelligent design.  It's the theme to an astral projection.   It could possibly be my best song ever, but what I do know is that it appears to be closest to the real *me* - closest to my heart and written in my DNA.  

What's this song about?  Death.  But in an uplifting way.  The song is structured in three discernible acts:  birth/life, dying/death, and the soaring, infinite afterlife.  Us as dimensional space-travellers.

I'm not really going to go into any more detail, other than this is very much a sibling to my older material, only evolved, matured, and larger in scale.  The past but on steroids.  All the things I've done before seem to be connected in reverse and emanate from this song, backwards, bringing things full circle.

13. Drink The Moonlight And Fly
The albums closer is a really nice closing track,its gentle but still has some great synth lines that bring you back to earth gently and make you yearn for more.

- CHIMERA ALBUM SAMPLER -
Track 13: “Drink The Moonlight And Fly”
@breatheofmyleaves

This is the last song on Chimera.  I wanted the album to end on a winding-down not, as though the listener has been on a long journey.  I’m not sure how much people listen to album anymore, but this one was designed with a certain path in mind for whoever is listening.

This song, though tying things up at the end and providing a relaxing “denouement” for the album, is oddly complex.  There is melody layered over melody, in instrumentation and in vocal sample manipulations.  Even record crackle is morphed into melody on this one, which may be the most dynamic song on the album.

The vibe here is again mystical.  It’s about those beautiful summer nights when you’re just feeling the splendour of life and everything feels so good.  The night is yours to explore and it’s endless.  I actually had the feeling of being drunk and just losing myself in the night under the warm moonlight in the garden or in the city.  It’s such a magical feel when the moon is out - and this song imagines if you drank it via breathing then flew over the city and countryside in this incredible air.  Quite the opposite of the feel of the album’s opening track, this one takes us full circle.  

Chimera is out tomorrow and I’d love to hear what people think about it.  If you like it, listen to it and share it, please - it’s meant to be enjoyed (loudly😘).  It will be available everywhere - from Spotify and AppleMusic to dozens of other online sources.  Thank you for listening!





Also available on iTunes -


Pangeometrica features the classic track ‘Cyclops’ which was later regrooved & reimagined on Shelter’s 2nd album release ‘Ascend’ as the new track ‘Icon’







/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

This is why i love synth based music so much,you know its made from a mechanical device but every synth act has a different take on what these machines can do. Matthias is pure pop,but using the same devices BOML is the darker side of pop,more menacing in its sound yet just as poppy and accessible.


Am i in Wonderland or Tomorrow's World Be Gone
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Pughie
May 18, 2018, 5:06pm Report to Moderator

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Available now on UK iTunes




Chimera by Breathe of My Leaves
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/chimera/1386754865


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Mikedepaz
May 19, 2018, 10:24am Report to Moderator

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Great album- well done Stephano  


Am I In Tomorrows World or in a Sweltering Violet Flame? oh look- World Be Gone!
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minerals
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Thanks guys!  You’re very kind and sweet.  I’m glad you’re liking it.  ❤️

The first single is going to be “Love You Lately” feat. Jordan Gant and there will be remixes and a “B-side.”
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Mikedepaz
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No vinyl edition on the horizon? No biggy but would sound I'm sure even better on split channels


Am I In Tomorrows World or in a Sweltering Violet Flame? oh look- World Be Gone!
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Stephano’s new directors showreel ‘Phantasmagoria’


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_AvIn0cs47E


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minerals
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Quoted from Mikedepaz
No vinyl edition on the horizon? No biggy but would sound I'm sure even better on split channels


Thanks, Mike.  I'm actually noticing some interesting patterns in early analytics that may make vinyl doable.  I would somehow have to be
sure that I could sell all of them, though.  Great response so far!... but it's still very early.  

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I just had to find time to sit and give this it's due (didn't want to pay lipservice) and I'm glad I did.

Love You Lately is definitely a catchy tune, and I see why it's poised for single contention. Yet, despite being (mostly) instrumental, Haris Alexiou, Ooh Ooh (Coconuts From Nunavut), and Every Breath A Rapture shone the most for me. Most especially Haris Alexiou, which is another testament to how well synthpop mixes with ethnic and world music. Like with Blancmange or Red Box, we have a lovely meld of genres. I quite enjoyed it.


"An Erasure message board? What will they think of next?"
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minerals
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Quoted from Tin Soldier
I just had to find time to sit and give this it's due (didn't want to pay lipservice) and I'm glad I did.

Love You Lately is definitely a catchy tune, and I see why it's poised for single contention. Yet, despite being (mostly) instrumental, Haris Alexiou, Ooh Ooh (Coconuts From Nunavut), and Every Breath A Rapture shone the most for me. Most especially Haris Alexiou, which is another testament to how well synthpop mixes with ethnic and world music. Like with Blancmange or Red Box, we have a lovely meld of genres. I quite enjoyed it.


Thanks for the kind words, Tin!  I love knowing which songs stand out to
people.  I’m pretty sure Ooh Ooh will be Single #2.
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