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Yume Bitsu

Portland-based space-drone quartet Yume Bitsu play ambient rock music that could be the soundtrack to a psychedelic art film -- or a psychotropically stimulated excursion into the deep space of consciousness. The name translates from Japanese to "dream beats," and the group's hypnotic, sometimes almost painfully gorgeous compositions feel like the stuff of dreams; they make you feel you've entered a kind of simulacrum of the world in which dimensionality and gravity are inverted and perspective is confused, so objects that should be far away seem right next to you and you're not sure if you're closer to the sky or the ground. It's both beautiful and disorienting.

Yume Bitsu's spacious, airy epics fall around you in sheets, almost like a heavy rain of musical colors: cool, damp, haunting synth curtains fold around eerie, reverb-drenched guitar lines while dense, psychedelic percussive hailstones fall all about. The sound suggests the ambient psychedelia of '70s Ash Ra Tempel or Tangerine Dream as well as the synth-happy drone of My Bloody Valentine. Yume Bitsu's compositions are primarily instrumental, though ethereal, melodious vocals enter the mix occasionally. There's a remarkable drama and dynamism running through these epic compositions; it's not just all spacey bliss, but there's a kind of narrative in place, full of climactic peaks and muted, restrained valleys, that works on the psyche the way a dream does, evoking unidentifiable feelings of nostalgia and d?ja vú.

Yume Bitsu has released three albums. Their self-titled debut full-length and its follow-up, Giant Surface Music Falling to Earth Like Jewels from the Sky, appeared on Ba Da Bing Records. Their newest, 2000's Auspicious Winds, is available on K Records. The album's title is a reference to the Japanese high tea ceremony, and suggests the intuitive spirituality that runs throughout their compositions. Auspicious Winds features the exotic, tropical-sounding "Doctor Trips."