Music: Vessels – Dilate

Travelling On The Sea Of Serotonin

To be a true artist is the acceptance of choice to be a journeyman. Not that you have to physically wander the Earth for ones lifetime, but the constant necessary evolution inherent in the creative process means a willingness for openness and freedom will garner more success rather than forcefully and stubbornly applying preconceived notions and beliefs upon everything seen, thus fearfully regurgitating the same work.

Often such travels, whether physical or metaphorical will create a metamorphosis in the individual(s), a transformation to a potentially higher plain (or euphoria). I’m pretty sure as Darwin set off in the Beagle he did so with a willingness to be influenced in a very positive way by the world around him, and not to impose his views upon nature but absorb it.


Vessels are a five piece band hailing from Leeds and have been on an evolutionary journey of their own. I’m not saying they’ll be presenting to us another theory of the birth of Man at any time soon, but their incredibly beautiful latest album ‘Dilate’ (2015) is absolutely the soundtrack to their own transfiguration into a gorgeous new form, and could also be the very sound of nature growing.

‘Dilate’ is their third album that fully expresses an acceptance and embrace of a highly emotive, organic digital soundscape that was hinted at in their first post rock album ‘White Fields and Open Devices’ (2008) though through the use of soaring guitars, shifting much further on electronically in their second outing ‘Helioscope’ (2011) as the digital sounds seeped in like lush vines made of binary code and emotion. Now fully realised they offer a wholly enveloping sumptuous sound and album that actualises their name and takes you away from the world around you.

Opening with intense, almost sinister subterranean throbbing ‘Vertical’ it’s as though the very foundations of the World are being constructed deep underneath our feet. It confidently lays the bedrock for the sublime hypnotic heights of what is to come.

The tracks are gently and thoughtfully woven together so as to not allow the ebb and flow to falter. Aided by a very rich production sound that brings waves of sounds washing over you, fully draping you in warmth and serenity that resonates an emotional intelligence of it’s own, it feels like an actual loving breathing life force.

As with real life there are moments of darkness (As You Are), but plenty of light (Attica), with the sense of optimism, hope and sweeping joy always a couple of notes away. Personally I have preference for the tracks without the vocals such is the mesmerising cinematic effect of the aural ocean we are floating on. But that is not to pass criticism on the vocals, they add a gentle human layer to the work, and indeed open much potential for collaborative ventures and works.

The album is a yet another evolutionary step for the band and at present has many familiar hints in it’s DNA of Orbital, Jon Hopkins, Four Tet, Mogwai, Moderate to name a few, but that is a wonderful stable of potential influence or parentage. ‘Dilate’ is a highly accomplished, beautiful piece of sonically rich work full of magnificent moments that once you press play, you’ll never press pause or stop until the very last note drifts away. This forthcoming release is actually a special edition reissue that has some wonderful the bonus tracks ‘4AM’ and ‘4AM -FaltyDL Remix’, so basically you’ll be wanting to, and get to stay on your rapturous heavenly journey for a lot longer as we willing follow them into a impressive serotonin flooding future.


Dilate (special edition) released 1st April through Different Recordings. For more information visit

Steve Clarke

Born in Celtic lands, nurtured in art college, trained by the BBC, inspired by Hunter S. Thompson and released onto the battlefront of all things interesting/inspiring/good vibes... people, movies, music, clubbing, revolution, gigs, festivals, books, art, theatre, painting and trying to find letters on keyboards in the name of flushthefashion. Making sure it's not quite on the western front... and beyond.