Polmo Polpo is the alias of one Sandro Perri, and after releasing four highly successful 12" EPs and opening for the likes of Do Make Say Think, Pan Sonic, and Oval, he's ready to give the world a bigger taste of his somethin' somethin'. Treading through murky minimal electronic territory with flourishes of actual organic instruments, Polmo Polpo dwells in realms inhabited by such artists such as Gas. Comprised of 8 tracks (one for each leg of the Octopus on the cover), The Science Of Breath pulls 4 tracks off his most recent (and now out-of-print) EPs and fills in the rest of the space with new, shorter compositions that move in slightly different directions, but hold the release together.
The disc actually works in a way that tracks arrive in logical pairs. The shorter, more ambient soundscape tracks all come before the long beat-oriented tracks and in some cases set them up with faint echoes of what's to come. The disc opens with "High Breathing," and flutters along with what sounds like a heartbeat drifting behind thick washes of low-frequency tones and soft static. This track in turn leads into "Oarca," which is probably the coldest beat-oriented track on the disc. Rumbling along with a thick beat under numerous layers of soft hiss and delayed static bits and a repetitive murky acid squiggle, it recalls tracks on the dark Consumed release by Plastikman.
After another short spacer track, "Acqua" takes on a bit more life, resembling a warm house track sweating it out from deep-sea depths. The entire track is covered in sort of a fuzzy haze, which actually helps only add to the hypnotic qualities. On the short "Low Breathing," just a touch of actual guitar makes it's way into the mix, and it sets up what is probably the best track on the release in "Rottura." Actually, the best track on the disc is actually sort of understatement, as it's probably one of the best minimal techno tracks I've ever heard. Rumbling along with a sternum-shaking low-end, it ripples with processed lap steel and cello to an absolutely beautiful effect. It's something that should be heard by any fan of the genre (or hell, just about anyone who likes electronic music).
That's not the end of things, though, and the album closes out with another two excellent tracks with the short "Complete Breath" and the epic closer of "Riva." This final track runs almost 12 minutes long, and in addition to the stompiest beat on the album (close to what you'd expect from the Daft Punk fellows), it again features some beautiful layering of lap steel, cello, and double bass. Near the end, a twisted, echoing arpeggio of haunting cello walks up the scale and gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. By the time the release is done, nearly 50 minutes have passed, and for me it's easy to hear how much better the newer releases by Polmo Polpo are. Even though the first two 'dancy' numbers are nice, they're not even close to the nearly trancendental final ones. If it's the sound of things to come, I'm absolutely riveted to hear where he goes in the future (which shouldn't be too far off, as he's supposedly already working on an upcoming release for fellow Canadian label Constellation). An excellent release which has me even more excited about future ones. As usual, the packaging is exquisite as well.