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The Adelaidean — In the Key of Sleep
(Projekt no#, 2022, DL)

The Adelaidean — Hyperaurea: Echoes of Antarctica
(Projekt no#, 2023, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-04-24

In the Key of Sleep Cover artHyperaurea: Echoes of Antarctica Cover art

Because of its calming and relaxing nature, much of the music that is available in the floating ambient genre is wonderfully suited as accompaniment for slumber. As a practitioner of this for a good 25 years now, I even find it difficult to reach the sleep plateau without those most gentle slowly-evolving sounds emanating from a nearby device, be it a stereo, computer, or even an open window on a warm summer night — a throwback to when I was a teenager living in the deserts of southern Callifornia — those singing crickets at night are positively hypnotic. Throughout the years, we have reviewed numerous releases where the composer has outright stated that the intention of their piece is to help the listener reach the sleep plane. Among these are Brannan Lane’s Sleep Cycle, any of a number of long-form pieces by Steve Roach (Darkest Before Dawn comes to mind immediately), and perhaps best known of all are those pieces by Robert Rich like Somnium and Perpetual, pieces that are so long (hours and hours) that they require a DVD or Blu-Ray to house the music on physical media. TheAdelaidean now offers his best effort with In the Key of Sleep, the title track which is one 65 minute long form piece of gentle electronic minimalisn, plus five shorter pieces which are re-imaginings and remixes of portions of the the longer title track, with titles like “Floating,” “Falling,” “Flying,” “Free,” and “Flux” that could be played in that order or shuffled up any way you like. The important thing is that this music gets the job done, calming the nerves and clearing the mind; if it doesn’t then you’ve probably had too many espressos.

The more recent release is Hyperaurea: Echoes of Antarctica, effectively a near-four hour three-disc-long program (although it will only be available as a download), and it too is a floating ambient construction, maybe a little more gritty than In the Key of Sleep, and punctuated with more what might be termed distractions, but for the slumber-seeker, these three ‘discs’ will likely do the trick as well. The album’s three ‘discs’ are subtitled Echoes of Antarctica (seven tracks), Ghosts of the Ice (seven more tracks), and Southern Stars (one extended long-form piece, a little over an hour in length), fifteen cuts in all if one listens to them sequentially. The back story of this album is even more interesting: In early 2017 Sean Williams (who is theAdelaidean) travelled to Antarctica on an Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellowship to Casey Research Station. Being one of the most unique and desolate environments on the planet, he wrote of the intense emotional, physical and spiritual experiences he gained during his time there. With Hyperaurea, he translates his experiences into ambient sounds using electronic drones, textures, and occasional piano to convey the sparse, dreamlike nature of life and death on a frozen world of ice. Definitely a unique experience to draw inspiration from, one that few recording artists might ever get a chance to know. The accompanying booklet (24 pages in pdf) contains a volume of information and photos, with stories and notes related to each track. Stark, extreme, and beautiful as it may be, Hyperaurea is a unique sonic experience.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): The Adelaidean (Sean Williams)

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