Sleepyard — Black Sails
(Global Recording Artists GRA 13442, 2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-07-04Sometimes lethargic music can be beautiful and idyllic, paralyzing the listener and creating a magical yet introspective world of stillness and wonder. It’s hard to fit Sleepyard into any convenient pre-defined boxes. It’s not floating ambient, there is far too much structure and form here, but for the most part it eschews the idioms of rock, jazz and folk, but it does flirt with them. Perhaps their music could be thought of as a crossing point somewhere between psychedelic and shoegazer pop, with some other ideas mixed in. So what exactly is Sleepyard, anyway? At the core of the band are Norwegian siblings Oliver and Svein Kersbergen, the former a multi-instrumentalist (piano, keyboards, guitars, bass, voice & treatments) and primary composer, the latter primarily keyboardist. Add to that a long list of additional guests on a variety of instruments (extra keys, guitar, viola, pedal steel, drums, vocals and more), including some names that most will recognize: Judy Dyble sings on and co-wrote several tracks, Nik Turner plays sax, and Geoff Leigh contributes flute. Across the ten tracks, ideas shift and morph in almost an impressionist setting, with pastel colored melodies, long moments of darkness, fleeting and muted voices, textural sonic backdrops and stirring suspense. Black Sails is a fully realized work that succeeds in conveying that passive feeling and peaceful contemplation.
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more