“breathe” is taken from Julia-Sophie‘s debut EP, y?, out on Beanie Tapes.
Oxford-based powerhouse Julia-Sophie is no stranger to the music industry. Yet branching out on her own has been a journey of self-discovery, an introspective trip she documented in her previous singles “x0x” and “I Left You”. With “breathe,” the final single taken from her debut EP, Julia-Sophie leads us once again into the depths of her unconscious mind through relentless, dark synths and throbbing drums.
There’s an ominous power to “breathe”, one that keeps the listener on tenterhooks as we prepare to observe Julia-Sophie taking a deep look at her feelings. The track is delivered almost like its namesake; a breath. It begins much like an inhale, steady and quiet, yet the synths begin to soar. You can almost hear the rush of outward air. This cadence, this ebb and flow creates a physiological reaction. As you listen, you can almost feel your body echo the movements of the song. When the track trills and flutters, so too does your heart.
If “breathe” delves into the darker side that lies within us all, it also shows the light at the end of the tunnel. Her debut EP, y?, is all about reconnection; reconnecting with all facets of yourself and uncovering any unresolved emotions that have been lurking under the surface. Unafraid to shy away from the troubling or more unspoken parts of rediscovering yourself, the track speaks to a larger transformation that Julia-Sophie undertook in the process of writing her EP.
“I wanted the music to reflect a sense of finding my truth,” she said of her aims for the EP. “The very painful process of immersing myself and questioning the certainties of life itself; finding that all is uncertain and that nothing and everything felt raw and real.”
Having said this, “breathe” is perhaps Julia-Sophie’s most uplifting offering to date, with a chorus in which she sings “With your heart in my hand/I feel safe.” Her bewitching vocals are accompanied by some ethereal synths that are moving in rapidly ascending and descending scales. There’s also a sense of optimism that’s borne from the gloom of the ominous drums. It’s this juxtaposition of the dark and light, vulnerability and strength, control and chaotic that makes the track so exciting.
The video accompaniment, that we’re honoured to premiere today, continues in this vein as it builds a dichotomous imagery. It shows Julia-Sophie with a bunch of flowers, luscious in their blooms, set alight. The contradictory symbolism continues with her sitting next to a drained, desolate swimming pool. Once a source of enjoyment and presumably fun, it is now abandoned, forgotten and left to ruin.
The grainy textures that permeated Julia-Sophie’s previous video releases are still present as is the preoccupation with water. With her debut project, Julia-Sophie has not only made music but a vibrant universe in which we can inhabit by listening and viewing her art.