DROWSE DIVES INTO THE DEPTHS OF NATURE AND ILLNESS WITH NEW “BIPOLAR 1” MUSIC VIDEOThe slowcore project will be releasing Light Mirror via The Flenser on was released June 7.

DROWSE DIVES INTO THE DEPTHS OF NATURE AND ILLNESS WITH NEW “BIPOLAR 1” MUSIC VIDEOThe slowcore project will be releasing Light Mirror via The Flenser on was released June 7.


6/13/20193 min read

Drowse, the experimental slowgaze project heralded by multi-instrumentalist Kyle Bates, has never shied away from life’s darkest depths. His latest single, “Bipolar 1,” squares off with the illness and anguish that has colored his singular body of work. The track is the latest teaser of Drowse’s forthcoming album Light Mirror.

Watch the naturescaping video for “Bipolar 1” now via The Four Oh Five (or directly on YouTube).

Light Mirror seeks to answer a brief—but far from simple—question: “Who are we when we’re alone?” Throughout the recording process, Bates realized that this question is difficult to answer for others and himself. The album surfaced from Bates’ artist residency based in a desolate pocket of Northern Iceland, an experience that left him both socially isolated and creatively heightened.

Bates comments:

"This song came to me while I was re-reading my medical chart and thinking about my bipolar 1 diagnosis. I have always resisted this diagnosis and I refused to take Lithium after the first couple of years. I resist it because I am scared of it. It fits too perfectly. As a result, I never sleep very well and sometimes have paranoid delusions ('voices in the night') that I hide from others.

'Bipolar 1' is largely about the manic self of bipolar disorder, a version of Kyle that feels totally alien to me when I try to remember periods of life when he was dominant. The manic side of me finds 'god' –meaning in life– in music, but the depressed side sees this as a delusion; Drowse songs are identified as 'fence posts:' when I write these songs I feel safe because I am creating my own world, in turn working on this music builds a fence around me that closes me off further from other people.

The video was initially utilized–with Light Mirror in mind–for my installation work, Second Self, which was developed and exhibited during a residency at Studio Kura in Fukuoka, Japan. It was created through my practice of internal mapping, in this case cataloging physical things my unconscious self was drawn to while walking. Visual patterns emerged as hours of footage were edited down to this four minute piece. The footage was ripe with images of (self) deception–smoke and mirrors."

With Bates’ longtime creative partner, Maya Stoner, lending vocals, Light Mirror pushes past Drowse’s slowcore roots in favor of a more prismatic sound teeming with hints of experimental electronic, noise pop, black metal, and krautrock. What remains constant, though, is Drowse’s rumination on the idea of multiple selves, identity, paranoia, fear of the body, alcohol abuse, social media, the power of memory, the truths that are revealed when we are alone, and the significance of human contact.

Light Mirror will be released on June 7 via The Flenser and preorders are available here. See Drowse on tour this July -- a complete list of tour dates can be found below.

Light Mirror — Track Listing:

1. Imposter Syndrome

2. Between Fence Posts

3. Shower Pt. 2

4. Bipolar 1

5. Physical World

6. A Song I Made in 2001 With My Friend Who is Now Dead

7. Arrow

8. Oslo

9. Internal World

10. Betty

11. “Don’t Scratch the Wound”

Drowse — On Tour:

June 13 Portland, OR @ Black Water Bar (Record Release)

July 12 Seattle, WA @ Highline *

July 13 Portland, OR @ High Water Mark *

July 15 Eugene, OR @ Old Nick’s *

July 16 Oakland, CA @ Elbo Room *

July 17 Los Angeles, CA @ Lexington *

July 18 San Diego, CA @ Space Bar *

July 19 Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge *

July 20 Albuquerque, NM @ Gold House *

July 21 Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive *

July 22 Salt Lake City, UT @ Diabolical Records *

July 23 Boise, ID @ TBA *

July 24 Spokane/Olympia, WA @ TBA *

* w/ Elizabeth Colour Wheel