Breather (the nom de plume of Mike Espinach) is a solo artist that defies easy description. That's not entirely surprising since he was formerly the guitarist for Long Beach experimental band I'MU. This EP begins with "Chai", and when you listen to this song, you realize how hard it is to define the music of Breather. "Chai" is a song that is a blend of industrial beats and a melody that is reminiscent of 90s English shoegaze bands like Ride.
One thing that Espinach has carried from I'MU is the ability to make is music sound extemporaneous no matter how much time he spent in the studio. He accomplishes this in a couple ways. First, he plays with a furious energy that makes even a recording feel like he's playing right in front of you. Second, he does this by being unpredictable. You never really know what's coming next within one song or from one song to the next. A good example of this is the split between instrumental songs and songs with vocals.
Overall, Breather doesn't really lend himself to easy comparison with other artists. The nearest you can get is to say that at times, he sounds somewhat like a particular artist or band. For instance, the guitar in "Merlot" sounds a bit like what you'd hear in a song by The Cure although you'd never mistake it for a song by The Cure.
This is a really solid EP of seven songs that defy genre classifications. I'll say this: this EP is perfect for those days when you want to block out the world. Your prescription: put on Resin Ballet by Breather, turn up the volume, maybe pour your favorite beverage. Then don't just listen to this EP; absorb every moment of it. It's kind of a musical exercise in living in the moment. This EP will be available at Breather's album release show on 20 September at DiPiazza's in Long Beach.
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