Important events in history have often been accompanied by unprecedented artistic expression. In these strange times of 2020, an album like Immersion Chamber from Lunch Money Life feels right at home. The London group’s debut LP takes us on a journey through uncharted musical dimensions that will make listeners rethink their perceptions of sonic possibilities. With a sound that they describe as “apocalypse music,” the nine instrumental tracks reflect a group with otherworldly influences and fascinating musical ideas that coincidentally make a fitting soundtrack for our current moment.
Immersion Chamber is the culmination of seven years playing together for the five-piece band, who put together most of the material during various sessions at All Saints Church Haggerston, where producer and saxophonist Spencer Martin worked as an organist. The resulting music on the album is an absorbing blend of industrial electronics and raw, brilliant analog instrumentals. In an email to EARMILK, they described how their unique sound came to be, with most compositions being written on computers by individuals before being brought to the group. They have called this process making “robot music,” where new unforeseen sounds would result from bringing digital ideas to life.
Lunch Money Life begins the album by easing the listener into their sonic world on the ambient opener “God Complex.” The meditative soundscapes offer a peaceful entry to the LP with warm synth pads and long tones in the horns. The second track “Lincoln,” however, hints at the intensity to come, starting with Stewart Hughes’ off-kilter drum patterns that lead into a track with mysterious, angular melodic lines amid the spacey, swirling atmosphere of sounds.
Most of the tracks keep with the unpredictable yet captivating aesthetic, with songs like “Superego” and “Pharisees” containing slightly more cohesive grooves. The standout of the bunch, though, is the lead single “Truth Serum.” After the hypnotic intro that mimics “God Complex,” the song kicks into gear with a splashy, resonant groove and irresistible plodding pulse. Striking guitar melodies blend with bellowing synth elements for a spellbinding experience that is perhaps the most effective representative of the group’s unmatched style.
When the regular routines of every-day life get thrown out of whack, listening to bland, generic music feels even less worthwhile than ever before. Immersion Chamber is a jolt to the system, reminding us the vitality of music in adverse times. Lunch Money Life says that their sound immerses “the listener in a world of disgust and yearning.” Given the current state of the world, it’s hard to think of a better description of 2020.
Immersion Chamber is available to stream or download here via Scenic Route.