TheLetterElectronic Music Guide

Scuba Death - Nitrogen Narcosis
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I've always considered concept albums a bit cheesy, but like Roly Porter's epic Life Cycle of a Massive Star, here's more proof that it can be a compelling approach that works. In Nitrogen Narcosis, Brazilian composer, percussionist and electronic musician Ricardo Donoso has taken his near-death experience scuba diving as a child, and produced an emotive, immersive and thoroughly engaging album of ambient techno.

With suitable watery field recordings throughout, there's tension from the off, as he submerges in Receptor Antagonist and begins exploring the vast oceanic playground in 50-70 meters and Nociception. The emotional strain is heightened with the claustrophobic Helium Tremors before the ominous quiet of 90 meters hints cinematically at some impending doom. Closing track Rapture of the Deep proffers an ambiguous conclusion; is Donoso celebrating the joy of his return to the surface or is this what near-death feels like?

10/10 after 12 listens

Scuba Death - Nitrogen Narcosis