A quick excerpt of flashing vehicle trails, the rain-soaked concrete, and shattered and stained tombstones all appear on the introductory track “BeCarefulUpThere.” Monumental less in the impact that the track makes from sonic exertion, but is instead linked to the subtlety of the piece.
BONES has a chilling delivery here that is almost familiar as if it was the dead relative instead of some abhorrent apparition. The instrumentation handled by Greaf is linked with somber undertones but keeps the hallowed ground to be a constructive paradise for the pair. Calmly, BONES illustrates, “Freefall death, all the way down. My last scream, no one around. Credits roll, soon as I touch the ground, goodbye everything little thing I’ve found.”
A treasure as the introductory crawl fades into “Lighthouses,” a seemingly elegant track with stripped away layering to accompany a tapping hi-hat to keep tempo. BONES is more vocal here, resulting in a human touch to the overtly ethereal production throughout the rest of BreathingExercise. His vocals are almost a siren song of hymn-style lyrics where they illustrate, “Like light beams off lighthouses, whose shine catches no one’s eyes at night. Sent a bottle and got no reply, my message inside. Sent out a bottle and got no reply, my message inside.”
Coincidentally, “Lighthouses” is able to be seen as a Skinny B-Side, a mixtape BONES released in 2014. The production on Skinny is such a well-received and delivered record that when the instrumentation warps to appear as aggressive as hornets or as soothing as the Ecorse River. Similarly, BreathingExercise stretches itself to fit many hats but is primarily one of calming, and short run time.
The 20 minutes spent with BreathingExercise is actually the longest project that SurrenderDorothy has released as one coherent piece. With nine tracks and some of that bleeding bliss to shower over the audience on tracks like “TendingToTheGarden” or “IfIHadTheWordsToSpeak” which might be the most appealing and caressing of any SurrenderDorothy track.
Simply gorgeous beyond comprehension to a first listen, “IfIHadTheWordsToSpeak” is daunting in its beauty. The track begins with this piano that could fit a wedding or a funeral, spotting the perfect notions for BONES and Greaf. The delivery of both artists trains the ear to be waiting for the hellscape to appear, but “IfIHadTheWordsToSpeak” never does. Instead, the angels carry the audience from the Earth into a safe haven of sound.
BreathingExercise could very well be SurrenderDorothy’s standout project. While NobodyWantsMe is the nostalgic fan-favorite, BreathingExercise is the perfect imagination of what a ghost would appear as. The stabilization of instrumentation and the tears of a past love that reappears from smoke, then immediately dissipates back into the ether.