Commend There 006

A Space for Sound – Sometimes underwater (feels like home)

Commend THERE returns with an album from Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist and performer A Space for Sound, who channels her bereavement into a transcendent soundscape recorded in the intimacy of her own home.

Written in the months following the death of a family member in early 2021, Sometimes underwater (feels like home), asks us to sit in stillness with sound, in hopes that it will inspire new avenues for self-healing. Emerging from a year of solitude, A Space for Sound, real name Rena Anakwe, contends with the manifold emotions brought on by grief with an honorable attempt to sonically articulate them, resuming a conversation on water that has been thoroughly explored in her earlier works.

Humans move through grief in a way that mirrors the way we travel through water. There is a liberating nature to the moments when we feel utterly consumed by our emotional state, and this project seeks to embrace that level of submersion right before we can find relief in an extended inhale above water. Recorded with the intent of catharsis, Sometimes underwater was created in the span of two days on Anakwe’s apartment floor, where she was equipped with tank drums, singing bowls, a synth, a multi-track tape machine, an effects pedal and her own pacifying vocals.

“At about 3 AM, I had gotten really excited about sending my tank drums into a new effects pedal and was banging so hard on them,” she says of the process. “And then of course I started to hear banging on the ceiling/flooring telling me to “shut up”; sorry to my neighbor, I appreciate you.”

The resulting album is an exercise in the serenest form of minimalism, presenting a natural progression from the placid melodies that distinguished her earlier release, Sound Bath Mixtape Vol.1, which arrived on New York label PTP last year. Anakwe’s introduction to the record is a warm balm as she invites us to breathe and imagine ourselves as light embodied. On some tracks, delicate notes topple over each other, coalescing into a refreshing mizzle, on others, elongated synth chords emulate the incredibly vast depths of the ocean. Like a quiet escape into cerulean waters, the album challenges us to stay present in these precious moments, while also encouraging us to be cognizant of the small space we occupy in the world’s infinite expanse.