In a rush, a blur, with ambient vapors swirling round it setting the stage, Chris Bathgate’s Dizzy Seas has arrived, the product of years of exploration, travel, searching, daydreaming. Dizzy Seas is Bathgate’s fourth full-length album; a brilliant collection of recordings that collage together to make a whole, not in a seamless way, but almost like a photo album that has been edited to force you, the listener, to put yourself into the story, to add to that narrative. The music itself is borne of daydreams, and invites you to join in, with the album having left a door unlocked for you to enter by Bathgate’s inimitable skill in, as NPR puts it, “the art of distilling alienation into bruised-sounding beauty.”
Songs like “Water” travel straight and narrow, pushing you toward nascent whisps of vision; others, such as “Come to the Sea” weave a gossamer portrait of a perhaps forlorn past. Characters appear when we least expect them, such as line-blurring hip-hop artisan Tunde Olaniran’s soaring guest vocal on the train-like, then suddenly swooping “Low Hey”, while other songs, like closing track “Nicosia” begs you to document the wide-eyed scenery slowly, as the camera in your mind’s eye slowly zooms out on the wide emotional landscape of the album. We’re left with a whole that begs us to complete the story – Dizzy Seas is one of those tour-de-force albums that begs further listens: picking up on the subtle grain of the background, the whispy hues that color our own personal photo-book stories, and wondering just how we fit in to that brilliant, beautiful, sad, happy, old, new, and wonderfully open story that Bathgate has collected for us on this album.
Dizzy Seas the new full-length by Chris Bathgate, out May 19th, 2017