Between death and rebirth, there is a liminal state known to the Tibetans as “Bardo.” …
Irreal, the latest LP from Chicago-based Disappears, begins somewhere in a hole at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, and rises slowly from the dark silt. The soundscape they carve out is claustrophobic and pressurized, like the curving metal insides of a submarine, but the dim illumination their presence casts only brings the abyss surrounding them into foreboding relief. This is music with no destination, but which propels its listeners implacably on, through a void where musical reference points leer out of the murk and are dissolved again.
The album’s only consistency is its rhythmic vessel, churning and beeping amidst sporadic human shouts and questions which boom out over the machine’s megaphone. Although the album can be difficult at first, because of its lack of resolution, the tension and dissonance which are its backbone eventually begin to feel like a new norm, once repeated enough. Noah Leger’s intense drumming breathes a very personal feel into otherwise inhuman instrumentation, with his bass drum sounding like the sinking bombardment of depth charges exploding around you.
Disappears has made a reputation out of minimalist parameters, emphasizing form rather than content, and Irreal is a successful continuation of that effort. »
– Ethan Martin