Tame Impala's Dominic Simper launches bambi project, breaks down debut EP

Tame Impala's Dominic Simper launches bambi project, breaks down debut EP

The Fremantle musician introduces himself with a debut EP that explores influences spread across centuries.

Header image by Greg Lewis.

If you're familiar with Tame Impala - and of course you are - then Dominic Simper is someone you'd be already familiar with, even if the name isn't quite recognisable to start with. Since the formation of the group's live band back in 2007, Dominic has been an integral part of the band's core, initially as a bass guitarist, and now as a bit of a multi-disciplinary multi-instrumentalist with his hands stretched across sounds - something very much reflective of the musician's versatility, and his ability to master whatever thing he attempts to grapple throughout his career as a musician.

However, bambi - the musician's long-awaited, solo project - is an opportunity for his musicianship and broad range of influences to fly under his own terms, and it's an opportunity to really understand another key member to one of Australia's biggest cultural exports. Today, the project launches with the release of its debut EP unfolding, an introductory six tracks that really encapsulates the musician at his best and showcases how his craft can shine on a solo level, all while pulling from soundscapes plucked across centuries.

Unfolding is entirely instrumental, sitting within this intersection of subtle ambience and gentle classical that totally isn't what you'd expect at first from someone so long-associated with one of Australia's most genre-bending groups. However, in hindsight, it makes perfect sense. On the live stage, Dominic's work revolves around bringing instrumentation to life on a grand scale, but with bambi, it's a lot more intimate and personal; a close-knit connection that only you and him share, best enjoyed on your own with headphones on - rather than an arena, for example.

It's almost ethereal, chiming with the grace of Japanese new-age music merged with cinematics of European film and classical soundscapes; minimalist, for the most part, but capable of packing a powerful emotional punch when it reaches its most climactic moment. It's nostalgic, too - for the time periods as described, but also for moments of solitude in your past. In some ways, it feels like an album perfectly suited for sitting alone in the park, laying down, just taking a bit of time to yourself to breathe and process.

"Unfolding encapsulates the underlying movement behind everything," says Dominic on the EP, which arrives also on limited edition white vinyl. "Each second the course of our lives, our relationships, our hopes and dreams are unfolding. Everything is always evolving and changing - there’s no such thing as staying still, despite our seemingly inherent desire to hold onto things as they are. This applies to the music as well - I love the idea of rather simplistic melodic fragments bending, weaving and dancing their way around each to create movement."

It's beautifully hypnotic, and you can take a dive into the EP below, alongside a track-by-track walkthrough from the musician breaking down the EP's inner themes and creation one song at a time.

afternoon

Originally titled The Sin of an Afternoon's Contemplation. Learning to overcome the guilt invoked by occasionally switching off all lines of communication and letting go of what you probably should be doing instead. Just investigating your own thoughts, feelings, emotions.

garden

I feel like we are constantly projecting ourselves on everything around us. I love the idea of preconceptual awareness - the thought experiment of viewing life without attaching names, concepts and connections to past experiences to everything. The psychological unicorn of observing things just as they are.

élan vital

The undercurrent of energy that pervades through life. The constant flux of recurring patterns that we find ourselves swimming in and around daily. I love the hyper-saturated emotional punch of sweeping old film soundtrack strings, think Luboš Fišer or Georges Delarue combined with warm synthesiser textures... The entire song is essentially just different fragments of one melody looped, layered and interweaved between itself.

weber fechner

The Weber-Fechner law is a psychological/psychophysical hypothesis which explores the way in which we perceive change in accordance to the strength of a sensory stimulus. The idea that the less that is currently occurring, the more sensitive we are to change. It kind of sums up the idea that the more we drown ourselves in sensory input, the less effect it will have on us in the end.

rosewater

The damaging cycle of being stuck in repeating negative thoughts. Trying to escape their grasp as they just keep bubbling up. Occasionally it seems that a resolution is reached but sure enough the whole thing just starts up again. The metronomic tap resembling the click of a grandfather clock, time ticking over as the cycle repeats.

the first snow of the winter

The childlike wonder of watching the snow fall from the viewpoint of a living room window. The white tapestry unfolds.

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