The Benzene Ring | Breathing Water in a Dream

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Rock: Progressive Rock Rock: Psychedelic Moods: Mood: Brooding
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Breathing Water in a Dream

by The Benzene Ring

Huge psychedelic guitar rock, dreamy synth fantasies, moody vocals, and strange plot twists. These are like movie scenes sewn together with a dream's anti-logic. Think 70s hard rock, modern indie rock, and Edward Scissorhands.
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. You and Me in the Absence of Predators
7:22 $0.99
2. An Old Man Dies and Finds Himself in Hell
5:59 $0.99
3. We'll Keep You There
1:28 $0.99
4. Sweet Pioneer
4:12 $0.99
5. Treasures in the Straw
1:29 $0.99
6. Magical Road
2:14 $0.99
7. Shuffling the Deck
2:20 $0.99
8. Help Is on the Way
7:38 $0.99
9. Sleeping
1:20 $0.99
10. How to Be a Girl
6:20 $0.99
11. Pretend I'm Not Here
6:56 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Interludes abound, a very large sound-picture is evident...Technically precise without sparing any melody or, profound...Breathing Water in a Dream is overflowing with interesting ideas." -

"The fuller, longer, flowing compositions on this album are where this band truly shines. The first two tracks are a wonderful one-two opening punch of mature (at times post-rock influenced) instrumentation, progressive songwriting, and artistic expression." -

Relax. This dance is like a movie scene. It's like breathing water in a dream. You feel relieved and realize this is not real and you cannot die.

The Benzene Ring play big Smashing Pumpkins guitar rock, dreamy Danny Elfman fantasies, prog rock largesse à la Tool and Yes, and rich emotional Sunny Day Real Estate textures. Sometimes they are moody and introspective, other times impassioned and loud, always melodic. The songs are long, the arrangements idiosyncratic. Your active attention is rewarded.

The Benzene Ring are an ambitious five-piece from New York, ferociously creative. They create twisted puzzles, games with indecipherable rules but an internal logic, dreamscapes that end abruptly at craggy gray cliffs plummeting to the sea. They draw pictures in your head.


Composed of Jeff Aldrich (vocals, guitar), Eric Hertenstein (keyboards, guitar, vocals), Hwarg (guitars), Eric B (drums), and Daniel Gunnard Beamish Gibson (bass), the Benzene Ring formed in late 2001 when Aldrich, Hertenstein, and original bassist Erin Barlow met in New York. The three bonded over a shared passion for an out-of-print book called The Gates of Lethaenox, and soon learned that they also shared an interest in the mathematics of magic and hypnotism as applied to music. They began to collaborate, arranging ideas and fragments into intricate songs. The music combined visceral outbursts and strong melodies with dissonance, ambitious song structures, and in-your-face dynamic shifts.

Uninterested in playing for other people, they spent several years honing arrangements. They played their music in pitch blackness and invented convoluted games and rules to confuse one another, most notably the Lethaenox Continuum game, which would later inform much of their songwriting and the hidden clues in each song.

In the fall of 2003, Hertenstein and Aldrich, walking along a quiet tree-lined Brooklyn street, found Hwarg sitting on the sidewalk with a beat-up acoustic guitar, furiously playing a dissonant, chromatic riff. Impressed by Hwarg’s prowess, Hertenstein and Aldrich asked him, "What time signature is that in?" Hwarg stared them down and whispered, "27," and the friendship was formed. In early 2004 Hwarg and Barlow ran into Eric B (literally) in a bar fight on Manhattan’s lower east side. He was unintelligible at the time, but after the chemical madness had wore off he was grateful for their help, and upon learning about the Benzene Ring offered to fill the spot as drummer. In late 2006 Barlow left and was replaced by the band’s longtime friend Daniel Gunnard Beamish Gibson.



to write a review


This is one of my favorite albums of all time. Each memorable segment flows perfectly into the next. I've been listening to it from end to end since about two years ago and I never cease to be amazed by its creativity. Rock on!


Inspiring perfect witty smashing!
Well done can't wait for the next!


Intelligent and sophisticated, moving and entertaining.
Breathing Water in a Dream is definitely The Benzene Ring's best work to date. Each song demonstrates classic Benzene Ring intelligence and sophistication, while being tremendously moving and entertaining. Plus, the excellent sound quality of this CD shows off every intricacy of Benzene Ring genius.

Brian Grosjean

Best of Alt Rock
Stylistically, the album is very much in the alt-rock camp with straining high vocals and fractured guitar backgrounds. The songs are very melodic with some of the best segues between sections of the songs heard in a long time. The first two songs sound like alt-rock standards using crescendos and intricate melodic breaks. "We'll Keep You There" is a quiet respite before moving into the more complex "Sweet Pioneer" which sounds like it has an Echolyn connection, though it's hard to determine who could have come first if one does not look at the track dates. "Treasure In The Straw" is another ambient intermission leading to heavier songs to follow. The band also experiments with vocal chanting and ambient rock leaving one waiting for more.

A major strength of The Benzene Ring are their vocals. In particular, Erin Barlow's vocals are a big adder when present, but used too sparingly for my tastes. In support of this, the lyrics should have been included to enhance the conception of the song.

By the time the listener gets to track 8 - "Help Is On The Way", one expects the quality to relax somewhat. Not so! The Benzene Ring does not leave the weakest material to the end but pumps it up again, with guitars and keyboards flowing and blending together without tramping on each other's feet.

This music is interesting and deep, leaving the listener satisfied in a way not seen by too many other indie bands like this.

Noah Baumeister

Enthralling musical experience!
Each song travels somewhere, with beautiful melodies, spunky rhythms, and driving guitars and bass lines. The songwriting is tasty and delightfully proggy. Looking forward to more.