Contagious Yawns – Dream of Consciousness

Outside of a single review from a podcast called Tabs Out, this release from anonymous producer(s?) Contagious Yawns seems to have been mostly missed in 2020. That’s a shame, because Dream of Consciousness’ breezy sampledelia is well suited to this atemporal moment. Peppered with spoken-word samples that coalesce around themes of perception, consciousness, and the self, the album is a warm bath of hazy synths, loping cadences, and lo-fi beats.

Puzzle of Who I Am” and “Keep Yourself Together” are highlights, the former for its playful appropriation of Alan Watts (who seems to have become a patron saint of chill electronica), the latter for a timbre that lies somewhere between the lysergic and the liturgical, building to a climax of overlapping voices, insistent drums, and church-organ swells. Elsewhere, “Infinite Mirror” follows a post-rock path of continuous crescendo, a welcome change of pace from the laid-back mood that dominates the album.

It’s a very soothing album, living in the same neighbourhood as Bill Holt’s Dreamies or the esoteric plunderphonics of Lesbianhorse, just a bit more affirmational and accessible than either. Like a nostalgic tribute to an era that never quite existed, it’s a calming, questioning refuge from the world outside.