July 10 — “Babysbreath” by lovesliescrushing


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Babysbreath” by lovesliescrushing (1993, from the album bloweyelashwish).

lovesliescrushing is an ambient dream-pop duo from Tucson, Arizona. They formed in East Lansing, Michigan in 1991 and have released something like ten proper albums since then. Also, a few singles and limited release albums.

I think it’s best, in this case, to introduce the song before writing about it. You’ll need to use the song as a reference to what I’m going to write, instead of the usual vice versa.

This is the first song from their first record, and it’s my favorite of theirs:

“Babysbreath” by lovesliescrushing

The two members of lovesliescrushing are Scott Cortez (guitars, loops, treatments) and Melissa Arpin-Duimstra (vocals). Their story is almost the stuff of Nora Ephron films. She stalked him for a while. They went out on a date. She bought him a four track recorder and a delay pedal. He convinced her to drop out of law school. They moved to Tucson. More than 20 years later, they’re not a romantic item anymore, but they’re still making records.

Cortez has always been really proud of the fact that he generates such lush soundscapes using only guitars, guitar loops, and vocals. No synthesizers, no keyboards, no drums. Just a lot of creativity, and some uncommon implements. For example, he’s been known to use nails, chopsticks, screwdrivers, violin bows, ebows, forks, paintbrushes, rulers, and even a vibrator to play the guitar and achieve special tones from his guitars. Those tones are layered on top of each other, looped and backwound looped to make a white wash. Most of the time, Melissa Arpin-Duimstra’s vocals are floating around, high above the wash of sound. Wordless and other-worldly. Beyond glossolalia, even.

Most people don’t believe that there are no keyboards. It’s just really crafty use of pedals and loops and whatnot. Also, most people don’t believe that Cortez does all of this without the benefit of a fancy studio. It’s just a Tascam 4-track recorder. In the early days, he used an analog machine, but it’s probably digital these days. Even still, that’s as high as their fidelity gets.

Over the years, I’ve spent many a night listening to bloweyelashwish as I drift off to sleep, and it’s just about the most soothing thing. Confusing, a little, to be in that half-asleep state and wonder what’s dream and what’s real. I listened to this record a lot in the years 1993-1995. I mean A LOT. While most of it was in that late night haze daze, it’s still suitable for daytime listening. Just not as suitable.

While a lot of other bands that use similar techniques tend to be overamplified, I love that lovesliescrushing keep it soft and dreamy. That’s probably why I so enjoy listening to this album as I drift off to sleep.

Even though I love bloweyelashwish, and even though lovesliescrushing have put out a boatload of records, bloweyelashwish was the only one that I owned until today. I’ve just downloaded the most recent one, and I’ll fill in the blanks later.

Anyway, I’ll suggest today’s song as a starting point for you. I’ll strongly suggest that you buy your own physical copy of bloweyelashwish from the Projekt Records web store here. If you’ve gotta have it right away, you can get it from any of your favourite legal downloading places, including eMusic.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

One response to “July 10 — “Babysbreath” by lovesliescrushing

  • Garrett

    I’m also from NC and this is one of my favorite songs/albums. One of my favorite things about that record is the thick walls of guitar noise that just come out of nowhere- best example I can think of is track 6 “Plume” about 25 seconds in… great band.

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