Album Review: Apollo Vermouth - Crashing Into Nowhere

Putting it mildly, the new release from Alisa Rodriguez’s Apollo Vermouth project, Crashing into Nowhere, is the kind of record that you can all too easily get lost in.

Crashing arrives three years after my introduction to Rodriguez’s work as Apollo Vermouth—her last full length, Fractured Youth, was part of the spring 2014 batch of releases from Kevin Greenspon’s Bridgetown label. In an interview with the website Dimestore Saints, she attributed the long stretch of time between albums to both a break from songwriting, as well as a lack of enthusiasm for what was happening when she would pick up the guitar.

Finding her way back to the Apollo Vermouth project, Crashing into Nowhere finds Rodriguez working with renewed and razor sharp focus—effortlessly layering countless elements into each piece to create lengthy and other worldly atmospheres that completely envelop you every time you listen.

Spread across seven compositions, it’s the first half of Crashing into Nowhere that burns the slowest—the opening piece, “Detached,” slides along at a near glacial pace, sharply juxtaposing a chill in the air with the warm tones and cavernous reverb that Rodriguez works to deliberately build—expanding on all that later on with the sprawling, gorgeous, and majestic sounding “He Dreamt of Blue Skies,” an evocative piece that somehow manages to find the spaces in between the eerie or unnerving, with the welcoming and comforting.

“Always There,” and the late-arriving “Reflections Of” find Rodriguez entering new territory with the Apollo Vermouth project—incorporating minimal percussion from a drum machine, as well as lyrics and vocals. “Always There” features an appearance from Travis Johnson; “Reflections Of,” the album’s first single (and probably most accessible song) features Eli Smith of The Honeymooners.

Rodriguez herself appears on the album’s closing, and titular track; her nearly whispered vocals, in true shoegaze fashion, buried deeply within the mix, tucked in under the torrent and cacophony of guitar waves the song is structured around.

Crashing into Nowhere is the kind of record that needs to be heard to be believed; and even then—even when your headphones are nestled on your ears (essential for listening to this record), you still have to scratch your head and wonder just how Rodriguez is able to conjure such sonic environments. And while there are a few moments where it shows similarities to its predecessor, Crashing is a huge step forward for Rodriguez and the Apollo Vermouth name—cementing her as both a masterful ambient/experimental guitarist and as a composer of wordless music that is able to speak volumes.

Crashing into Nowhere is out now via Orchid Tapes as a limited edition cassette or a digital download.