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Friday, Feb 12 2016 | 05:42
Image: 1601958 Jazz is supposedly a grown folks’ genre, played by aging bohemians in tiny clubs. Tell
that to the Breathing Effect—a self-described electronic group influenced by soul, rock
and jazz—whose debut album, Mars Is a Very Bad Place for Love, toes a line between
traditional and turn up. As a unit, producer/keyboardist Eli Goss and drummer/bassist
Harry Terrell merge the standards of conventional jazz with modern bounce beats. By
definition, it scans as “jazz fusion,” but the results conjure ‘70s R&B as well as the
contemporary Los Angeles beat scene and hip-hop. Clearly, Goss and Terrell study Pink
Floyd and the Soft Machine, but it seems they dig Thundercat and Stevie Wonder, too.
The genesis of the Breathing Effect can be traced to its fascinating 2014 EP, on which
Goss and Terrell spread aquatic rhythms over five tracks. From “”Layers of Thought”” to
“Losing My Mind”, the resulting mixture was equally soothing and mesmerizing, the EP
as a whole worked just as well under clear or gray skies. Mars is more upbeat than its
predecessor, though the opening tunes—”Forestial Things” and “Cloudy Afternoon”—
continue the EP’s mellow ambience. Yet by the third song, the two-tiered “Cold Meteor
Showers”, Goss and Terrell hit a stride.
In a way, Mars plays like musical theater: It’s driven by space travel, and follows the
story of two lovers cruising the galaxy with no concept of time. Tracks like “One for
the Mountains By the Sea” and “Twenty Years Altogether” recall spacious isolation, of
couples escaping life’s hustle to be alone with each other. It’s a notion evoked on album
standout, “Weightless Reality”, where Goss, Terrell and guest vocalist Kalia Vandever
sing of a fantasy world of waterfalls and underwater utopia. Whether or not they’re
depicting planet Mars is anyone’s guess. Still, the music conveys a very real narrative
while using few words, which is usually a tough task for most instrumental albums.
The vocals, sparing as they are, come from Goss, Terrell, Vandever and Michael Mayo,
who tend to float along the periphery of the music, underlining the instrumentals. On
“Streetlights Out of Focus”, Mayo drifts softly, his wails a breezy compliment to Goss and
Terrell’s composition. And of all the great things happening here—the Isley Brothers vibe
on “Fireflies” the dense layers of “Visions”—you can actually feel the melodies, which
remain at the forefront even though the music drifts in all directions. The blend seeps
into the background if you let it, but dominates your attention in headphones, played
loudly. “Rising Inside”—the LP’s best song and one of the group’s finest to date—uses
swift percussion, bright synths and a Vocoder, working up a loud bounce that would fit
comfortably within rap circles and jazz crowds, two sects that couldn’t be farther apart
these days. It’s a grand culmination for the Breathing Effect: experimental jazz with the
potential for huge resonance.

-Marcus J Moore, Pitchfork.com

1. Forestial Things
2. Cloudy Afternoon
3. Cold Meteor Showers
4. Visions
5. One for the Mountains by
the Sea
6. Twenty Years Altogether
7. Streetlights Out of Focus
8. Weightless Reality
9. Fireflies
10. Rising Inside
11. Half Light

• Debut album from The Breathing Effect
• Recorded, mixed, and mastered at Cosmic Zoo Studios in Atwater Village
• Includes lyric sheet insert
• Limited to 300 copies Available from 08.04.2016
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