Review Summary: Im not sure what it was.
As if it were a wave and I, a mere rock, it covers me, encasing me in its membrane. It then recedes, and I am free again. Sleep is my only escape. Though even then I am not always safe, as a mere dream can usher it back into my fragile mind. It is impossible to forget. I always fear its return. These days it is less fear however, and more so impatiently awaiting. I know it's coming. It has taken longer and longer to recede, it has overstayed its welcome, and no one has any answer, and nothing helps.
is my depression, it comes in many shapes and sizes and does not discriminate. I love being happy, I miss being happy. I do not chose when I am happy and I certainly do not chose when to be depressed. It
just happens, like the tides receding.
Travis Miller is an artist from Richmond, Virginia. He has played in numerous bands and has performed under many monikers. In 2012 he gained underground fame for the release of his rap album, MISTA THUG ISOLATION
, under the moniker, LIL UGLY MANE. The album showcased unbelievably well-crafted beats, rhymes, and wordplay. Though in 2013 Travis announced Lil Ugly Mane was “defunct”. He would no longer make music under the name, and planned one last release.
The final LIL UGLY MANE album, 2015’s, Oblivion Access
, was just not the same as his previous efforts. It was not simply a new direction for Travis, it was not him experimenting with something. Oblivion Access
showcased a person so entirely exhausted from depression, that his only outlet was making music. The lyrics were a cryptic introspection into a completely fractured mind. It was not LIL UGLY MANE, it was neither braggadocios nor ostentatious, it was the sounds of someone being torn at the limbs from the world’s most ambiguous and elusive disease. Then it was over. Like Travis promised, LIL UGLY MANE was done.
Fans got a lovely surprise in late 2016 however, as Travis decided to release a song, under a brand new moniker, Bedwetter. Just like LIL UGLY MANE, the name Bedwetter is hard to take seriously. Though once you decide to hit play on his first single, “Selfish”, and you hear Travis utter, “i get intrusive thoughts about cutting my fingers off”
, the cheekiness of his new pseudonym immediately vanishes.
The first release from Bedwetter, entitled, volume 1: flick your tongue against your teeth and describe the present.
, is sonically, as close an artist can come to truly depicting depression. It picks up right where Oblivion Access
, left off. Travis holds nothing back, the music is neither fun, nor is something you will ever hear in a club. At its root it is hard to categorize, he does indeed rap on songs like “Stoop Lights”. Though songs like “this is not my stomach”, make the album sound more like a Boards of Canada effort, than a hip hop LP. This is the sound of a person who has nothing else to turn to but making art. This is what it sounds like that when one has tried everything, and exhausted every resource. There was nothing left to do for Travis but create.
From a musical standpoint the album succeeds in the same way that both John Frusciante’s, Smile from the Streets You Hold
, and Converge’s Jane Doe
, do. Both of these albums present rare looks within the minds of two artists who, at their lowest point in their lives, decided to record an album. It is not often we are presented with such a raw and unabashed peak into the mind of someone truly experiencing depression. It is tough to enjoy Bedwetter’s debut just like the other two aforementioned albums. Not because the music isn’t fantastic though. The lyrics are thought provoking and very well rhymed. “Haze of interference”, the consensus standout, presents this well as Bedwetter raps, “…If I was glass I'd revert back to sand… scattered through the sea… I could pass through your hands…”
. As well written as the rhymes are, one almost feels guilty taking any pleasure in listening to someone who is literally crying for help, as he suffers though immense sadness. The production only exacerbates the sepulchral tone of the album. Travis Miller is well known for his crafty, Dilla-esque, use of samples, and this album certainly continues this theme.
For many, Bedwetter’s ,volume 1
, will sound scattered, unorganized, and overall difficult to listen too. It covers a vast array of genres in mere minutes. This will certainly hinder the experience for some. Though for others this will seem all too fitting. It is hard to expect anything other than unequivocal disarray from someone who has reached their psychological breaking point. The haphazardness only further continues the beautifully morose theme of Travis Miller’s newest project.
As perfectly-insane as this album is, it should be most lauded for shedding a much needed spotlight onto a disease from which so many of us suffer. We forget sometimes that there are actual human beings, experiencing real emotions, behind our favorite musical works. Travis Miller reminds us that no amount of fame, or success, trumps true sadness, as he so sadly utters on “Haze of Interference”, …“I'm standing by a microphone and yelling at a wall, pick a thousand names, you're still nobody at all...”
. One of the worst facets of depression is the feeling of utter loneliness it so normally casts upon its victims. Though listening to Bedwetter’s debut album reassures us all that we are not alone, and that there are other people out there, both big and small, suffering though this thing