I’m at a listening party for the new Infinite Bliss record and wildfire smoke has been choking the sky for three days. It’s always getting harder to breathe. The weird sunset colors filtering through the window make everything in the room vibrate, orange and gold apocalypse. The smoke clears just enough for faint silhouettes to emerge in the distance. Textures weave and interlock, wind like the gears of a clockwork monolith. Its movements are languid, wavering, rusted at the joints. A world is shrouded in the haze behind it, but the forms of that world are indistinct, uncertain, dissolving into crackling fuzz.
Infinite Bliss, the solo project of Virginia-based guitarist Eric Kemp, has been taking shape across a series of EPs, splits, and compilations since 2018’s A Dusk Filled Hole In Rural Virginia. “We Reach for Crowded Aboveness” is Kemp’s first full-length release under the moniker, and it finds them expanding their sound in new directions. Infinite Bliss has always been heavy, but here they move away from the languid psychedelia of earlier releases toward something darker, more ominous in its looming sonic presence.
Played loud, “We Reach for Crowded Aboveness” is a record that pulls at the seams of space and time. In the expanding gaps: doom, a crushing existential weight. Here is something heavy for you to hold. Here is a world, shrouded in haze, dissolving.
I want to say something about what it means to dwell in the nascent absence of that world, but I don’t know what it means to dwell in the nascent absence of that world. I only know what it feels like. Sometimes you just have to sit with that feeling, and sometimes you need a record like this to get you through it.