On his debut LP, Glasgow producer Soosh mines the depths of hazy, textured beat music while keeping one eye focused on melody and pop-infused electronics. Across its 12 tracks, Colour Is Breathe moves patiently through its share of blissful productions and heavenly atmospheres, rarely offending but—by the same token—rarely landing on a distinctive tone or head-turning idea during its 40-plus-minute run.
To be fair, it doesn't appear as if Soosh's objective for his debut full-length was to go forging full-speed ahead into unexplored sonic territory. In his short career, the Scottish beatmaker's knack for cloudy soundscapes and expert use of loose, found-sound percussion has led to regular comparisons to the likes of Shlohmo (in the days before the trap takeover of Wedidit), Teebs, and other producers operating within the more tender regions of beat music. These tendencies are still very much at the base of Colour Is Breathe, although Soosh does make small attempts to build on this groundwork. At the very least, he does manage to twist these established elements into slightly new shapes, most notably by enlisting vocalist Carmel Khavari to add her calm, soulful voice to a handful of the LP's tracks. Taking things further, many of the songs place a stronger emphasis on melodic themes, even grabbing for some sort of pop-like hook.
Where Soosh's earlier works were happy to hunker down inside a good loop awash with fuzz, the songs on Colour Is Breathe display bits of true songcraft, as opposed to simply serving as a showcase for beats. At times, this yields some beautifully immersive results, such as the coy and bluesy "Chorus Dream" (which features a mellow vocal performance by Soosh himself) and the gorgeously expansive, Carmel Khavari-featuring title track, which comes marked by watery percussion and a rich assemblage of contemplative chords. Many of the other songs on the record follow a similar path, but unfortunately, they tend to get lost along the way. "The Space Between" is perhaps the only overt stumble, but songs like "Open Hearts," "Loving," and "Uncertain" fail to culminate into anything particularly engaging, despite essentially being made from the same formula as the LP's highlights. To its credit though, Colour Is Breathe does manage to end on a high note, sending the listener off with two of its strongest offerings, the mostly instrumental, ambient-leaning "Light Shadow" and "Touched."
While all this doesn't add up to a groundbreaking debut album for Soosh, his first foray into the full-length platform is certainly passable. With its brighter moments in mind, it is easy to surmise that Soosh is a talented producer, but perhaps his vision is still a few steps behind. If that manages to catch up, his next release may pack more punch and evade Colour Is Breathe's fate as a somewhat forgettable outing.
Click here to stream Colour Is Breathe in full.