Whether you know Nick Fit from his black metal-tinged hardcore band Soothing, his pitch-perfect jangle pop act Nobody’s Flowers, his trip-hop-infused shoegaze project Summerhead, or something else entirely is mostly immaterial. The fact is, if you’ve been listening to independent music for the last decade or so, you’ve likely brushed up against something he’s had a hand in. And as you might expect from someone as prolific and stylistically versatile as Fit, his latest solo endeavor Spirit Unwell is both new territory for the musician and a resounding success.
Six Feet of Sleep—which is finding its way to cassette via Really Rad Records—is an ambient tour de force that immediately establishes Spirit Unwell’s guiding principles and musical foundations. The sprawling, hour-long soundscape begs comparison to Brian Eno’s Music For Airports with its meditative melodies or William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops with its beautifully decaying, space-like sonic textures. Like a Martian sunrise, Six Feet of Sleep recasts the alien in a comfortably familiar light, managing to convey a sort of reassuring melancholy that evokes a much-needed hug at the end of a long day.
On its face, Spirit Unwell is a hard sell. In a world of shortening attention spans and constant stimulation, an expansive, contemplative ambient record could feel like anathema to some. But its rejection of the present moment is precisely where its utility and appeal lie. Now, more than ever, we need any excuse to indulge in a quiet moment of contemplation. Six Feet of Sleep is better than an excuse; It’s a triumphant, compelling reason to do so.