There are places in the consciousness where people seek solace and peace; plains of existence that are reached through meditation or hallucination, and where the collective strives to find a sense of serenity and calm. What Luis Vasquez, the man behind The Soft Moon, found in his consciousness is anger, fear, and paranoia—feelings he transformed into song. Recorded at the aptly named Hate Studios, Vasquez’s new EP Deeper spawns a brooding and darkly introspective vision of what it means to be truly alone.
To record Deeper, Vasquez moved to Italy, a place completely unfamiliar to him, where he didn’t speak the language or have any friends, to work with producer Maurizio Baggio. For The Soft Moon’s third release, Vasquez was determined to create his most personal and honest writing to date. To do that, he retreated to a completely foreign surrounding and forced himself to face his own fears, his past, and to question everything about his own existence. The result is a deeply haunting and vulnerable collection of songs that feel like first-hand visions into Vasquez’s battle of self-deprication.
This record is equal parts raw and dark, but also strangely primitive and familiar.
Each of the 11 tracks have a single word title that’s as revealing as the music itself. The first single released from the album, “Black,” is an homage to the industrial movement that Nine Inch Nails forced onto the scene many years ago on Downward Spiral, but there is an intense and edgier honesty to Vasquez’s creations. It’s as if the pain of his self-therapy is immediately translated into his melodies. The song “Far” even offers the quintessential “industrial pop metal” tune that Reznor frequently drops, almost sounding like an emotionally disturbed Depeche Mode.
The last two songs on Deeper give the best view of the breadth of Vasquez’s synth-scape. The title-track “Deeper” begins with a tribal drum circle feel before Vasquez’s synth comes ripping into the song, and his echoed and breathy voice sings, “Feel the pressure/…/Deeper/…/Deeper,” followed by a melodic and intense tribal chant. On “Being,” Vasquez experiments with some production tricks by imitating a tape deck playing, then rewinding and repeating the whispered lines, “I can’t see my face/I don’t know who I am/What is this place/I don’t know where I am.” What follows is a track with a multitude of sonic layers that includes an ’80s inspired upbeat backdrop of synth and keyboard, before devolving into pained screams and a cacophony of sound that escalates into a sonic flat line of white noise.
Out of a primordial ooze of industrial metal, synth-pop, and electro-rock, sprinkled with some trance and personal pain, Vasquez has created something powerfully remarkable.
While Deeper may not bring people to a place of transcendental peace, it will provoke brutally honest questions about solitude, pain, and personal demons. Deeper explores a uniquely human question about our existence and what we experience in our darker moments. This record is Vasquez baring his soul for us to share in, and learn from his experience. Vasquez has said he pushed himself to discover the reality and nightmare of living with yourself. Deeper represents a different type of spiritual understanding and discovery for Vasquez and his listeners—one that will take listeners to the edge of anger and paranoia, but leave them feeling surprisingly energized and moved by the human element and power in his music.
The Soft Moon – Deeper tracklist: