The music of Tokyo based but UK native Submerse was passed on to me by a friend recently, and I was immediately impressed by the modern take on 90’s slow jams mixed with instrumental hip-hop. His newest album, Are You Anywhere, came out last October on Project Mooncircle records, and I’ve been listening to it quite a bit over the last few days.
Submerse’s beats on Are You Anywhere are very reminiscent of trip-hop blended with 90’s smooth slow jams and the result is an incredibly chill and relaxing album that channels a very specific vibe reminiscent of but not entirely analogous to the modern vaporwave and cloud rap genres.
Tracks like “Wavedash” and “Too Many Sidequests” are perfect microcosms of this sound, channeling a vision of late nights, busy cities and hazy memories into a laid back, comforting soundscape that should be immediately familiar to anyone who’s a fan of the aforementioned genres.
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Two of the tracks on the album also feature fellow Tokyo resident and genre contemporary Fitz Ambro$e, and the addition of vocals to these two tracks works a lot better than I’d have thought, given how easy it is to make this style of music too complicated, killing the vibe. The slight difference in songwriting and arrangement helps in this regard, though, and the vocal lines are minimalist enough to not clash with the instrumentation or make the arrangements overly busy.
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If you’re a fan of Vaporwave, instrumental hip-hop, 90’s slow jams or cloud rap, you should definitely give Submerse a listen. Are You Anywhere is fantastic mood music and has something fans of any of the above genres are sure to appreciate. In addition, if you enjoy Are You Anywhere, the EPs preceding this album, Awake in particular, are also great and well worth your time.