It’s easy to get lost in escape’s Imaginary Labyrinth
“The imaginary labyrinth is the web of thoughts and emotions in my mind,” escape’s latest release reads. Fittingly titled Imaginary Labyrinth, the New Jersey-based producer has constructed a dense, winding piece of electronic music. escape takes on the role of the mythical Daedalus, but instead of trapping an ancient beast, he’s leading the listener through a complex, all-encompassing series of musical passages. Just like a real maze, it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of this lush and symphonic work.
Imaginary Labyrinth leads you down dark, shadowy paths. It absorbs you, swallows you whole, and spits you back out. escape’s brilliant combination of soft, ambient soundscapes and IDM beats creates a disorienting yet alluring atmosphere; tracks slide together, in a dream-like trance, before abruptly introducing new instrumentals. “Morpheus,” the third track on the album, starts off with tinkling electronics that patter around the mix, before drums come in to ground the track with grooving, compelling beats. The influence from chillwave producers like Washed Out is clear, but escape’s focus is on the gestalt of the album, opting for music that lacks any sort of hook or structure, but remains endlessly compelling in its understated, labyrinthine variations.
escape’s versatility in this album is impressive. Every track features some sort of slight left-turn, where some sort of new sound or surprise lies just around the corner. “Ikelos” is marked by gentle synth-string arpeggios that coalesce into a soft drum pattern; “Masks” features a breathtaking instrumental break where an ethereal choir duets with an otherwordly cello. Closing track “Ouranos” swells with strings and droplets of sounds, before a juggernaut synth line with booming drums crashes in. It’s ascendant, thematically timed with the listener finding their way out of escape’s brilliantly constructed sonic labyrinth.
There’s a simple beauty in solving a problem, in discovering a new path, in finding a way out. escape taps into that feeling with Imaginary Labyrinth, subjecting us to the torment of feeling lost and the catharsis of finding our way out again.
Purchase escape’s Imaginary Labyrinthhere. Stream “Ouranos” below.