And now for something completely different! Given a certain proclivity on the part of our promo pit to offer up the most chaotic and tortured exemplars of extreme metal, a little relaxation and recuperation goes a long way 'round these parts. Enter Chalk Portraits, the one-man ambient project of one Greg Kennelty.
Most ambient music carries the burden of assumption that it is primarily background music, designed specifically to fade out of the foreground. Chalk Portraits, in contrast, has served me quite well over the past year or so when it comes to focusing on the task at hand. This expansive and otherwise open-ended ambient approach provides the optimal soundtrack for the organization of hectic thoughts. As such, I'm quite pleased to present, in its entirety, the forthcoming Chalk Portraits EP. Entitled Memory, this latest effort is most certainly worth checking out if you're in need of a little calm--and, frankly, I dunno who isn't. Check it out below, and, as always, we'll see you on the other side!
Try-not-to-get-relaxed-challenge, amiright? The assorted elements that contribute to the overall landscape are simple and crisp, never requiring the brain to play catch-up, so much as revel in every passing moment. While sparse by nature, I wouldn't exactly call Memory a minimalist piece--there is always something of significant intrigue humming or chirping through the ol' headphones. It is, notably, a very sensory experience, and big step forward for Chalk Portraits in terms of making the most out of an intrinsically limited sonic arena.
The entire affair is best enjoyed in full--"Memory I" through "Memory V" effectively act as a single piece broken into acts with distinct moods. That said, my favorite individual tracks are "II," for the bright sunny aura, and "III," for the subtly somber and melancholic air, punctuated by poignant arpeggiator glimmers. For an ambient track without a hook in the traditional sense, the latter is surprisingly earwormy--the kind of music that follows you around all day. It's a pleasant sensation, to say the least.
Says Greg Kennelty in regards to this latest effort: "It's here! Memory is streaming in full and now everyone gets to hear I've been listening to pretty much all month. I'm so proud of this album, if only because I've made something that I really want to hear on repeat. Now go get some headphones and chill out. Memory is heavily inspired by the works of Light In The Attic-type ambient artists like Hiroshi Yoshimura, the synth magic of Mort Garson, some of the chiller Arp stuff, and the music you hear in the non-country portions of EPCOT. Memory is an adventure into another space where sounds shimmer all around you."
Chalk Portraits - Memory will be released May 7th, 2021. Find it on bandcamp here (for a remarkably fair price!)
"Composed by human, played by physical robots." Frankly, Electromancy's is one of the more intriguing elevator pitches that has slid across my desk here at Ye Olde Sleeping Village Industries. Besides piquing curiosity in regards to the actual sound of the purported experimental black/death metal, the notion of robots playing music raises a lot of questions on a practical level. As it turns out, this is no mere gimmick: composer Satyra was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2018, which made playing instruments an impossibility. As such, they spent two years designing robots specifically for the task at hand: playing the music.
Given the potential complexity in ability, Electromancy is able to do things that human instrumentalists are not. That alone presents a very existing avenue for exploration, and on "The Spark," the track (and accompanying video) that we are pleased to present here today, a taste of that potential experimentation and oddity is on full display. However, before we scare you away with our ramblings, we recommend giving "The Spark" a watch and listen below. See those robots in action!
HOT RAM. If you know 'em, you undoubtedly love 'em...'cuz frankly, what's not to love? This crew from Atlanta exists in an arena where big riffs, big fuzz, big groove, and a hard rocking attitude are pretty much par for the course. Back in 2019 we reviewed their killer album Where Light Goes To Die--an album that (prophetically) remains in constant rotation to this day, due to a strong tendency to provide intriguing songwriting in a genre that is regrettably bogged down by repetition. Indeed, as I stated back then: "As much as I love the genre, we all know the truth of the matter: in the hazy confines of stoner rock, sophistication and brevity aren't always the qualities most sought. HOT RAM throw that stereotype in the woodchipper, delivering six massive (yet varied) bangers."
Needless to say, this particular slumbering scribe is very pleased to present the first single from HOT RAM's forthcoming follow-up. The album in question, Electric Medicine, will undoubtedly receive a little more attention around these parts upon its release on May 21st, but for the meantime, we highly recommend checking out the excellent "Grave of Arch Stanton" below! As always, we'll see you on the other side!
As a highfalutin scribe here at this well-respected establishment, I am typically loathe to pilfer turns of phrase directly from press kits. However, in the case of LEACH, I can hardly resist: "If it’s burly, melodic, and fits together perfectly, it’s probably from Sweden. LEACH certainly fall into the above categories, and their warts-and-all style of thrash 'n' roll is just begging for a throwdown." I couldn't, quite frankly, say it any better myself.
Today, we're pleased and honored to present the music video for LEACH's "D.O.D," a bonus track from their upcoming full length entitled Lovely Light of Life. This hefty track features none other than Björn “Speed” Strid of Soilwork vox fame. Needless to say, it's worth checking out....which, incidentally, you can do below. As always, we'll meet ye on the flip side!
If you aren't familiar with a certain tendency of Zimbabwean one-man outfit Nuclear Winter to drop unexpected cover tracks, now is an excellent time to familiarize yerself. Last year, we were pleased to premiere two such covers--first, a rendition of Haddaway's
immortal "What Is Love," and second, a bombastic ode to Toto's beyond-immortal "Africa." While obviously a little goofy given the implicit nature of a metal band covering beloved/hated 80's tunes, we nonetheless found these singles quite refreshing and entertaining. As such, we slumbering peasantry jumped at the chance to premiere a third Nuclear Winter cover. This time around, things get a little grimy: Mötley Crüe are the topic o' conversation. The World's (self-reported) Most Notorious Rock Band aren't in the house per se, but Nuclear Winter do a fine job at depicting their outrageous general persona.
Without further ado: welcome, dear readers, to the, erm, wild side. Check out "Wild Side" below!
As a haggard ink-splattered scribe here at ye olde Sleeping Village, it is an expectation, of sorts, that I possess the vocabulary to describe the music I am discussing. Punchy adjectives can go a long way in describing the aural form in written form, and, as such, I always try to deliver in that department. However, in the case of today's subject, more specific descriptors aren't the first to spring to mind. I'm left with monolithic terms instead--words, for example, like "big" and "sad" and "dark." That, in and of itself, should provide some indication as to the character of the track in question. The music speaks for itself.
But! Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, check out below "Thread of Hope" by New York-based one-man band Drift Into Black. As always, we'll meet ye on the other side!
Always desperate for some entertainment of the visual persuasion, we here at the Sleeping Village constructed ourselves, a few years back, a venue of sorts--a public performance space designed to house the raunchiest productions around. As with most venues, our humble playhouse has seen very little traffic as of late, and so when our friends at the venerable Metal Assault Records offered the opportunity to feature something new and entertaining, our slumbering populace practically leapt at the chance.
Push aside the cobwebs and vines, dear reader. Kick away the decaying ravens and piles of loam; the show is about to begin. Today, for your viewing pleasure, the Sleeping Village is pleased to present the (deeply avant-garde) music video for "Narci," the title track from (deep breath) anonymous international synth doom collective Circle of Sigh's forthcoming second full-length album. It is a weird and wonderful track, and an impressive video to boot. However, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I wholeheartedly recommend you watch for yourself. As always, we'll meet ye on the other side!
Here's a rare occurrence 'round these parts: a music video premiere. And a 22 minute video at that! We don't just clean the cobwebs out of our decrepit theatre for anyone, however, so rest assured knowing that the spectacle before ye is well worth your while.
The track and video in question forms the entirety of Side B of Live Improvisations Vol. 1, the forthcoming, well, improvisational release from French anonymous genre-bending and convention-eschewing collective Non Serviam, out May 1st on the (always stellar) Trepanation Recordings. If you're already familiar with Non Serviam's prior work, "Improvisation 2. Take 1. Ce Qui Dure" doesn't stray too far from what you may be expecting. The whole affair is wrapped up in a distantly baroque swaddle, but the telltale hints of post-metal by way of doom by way of industrial by way of avant-garde are as present and impactful as always. The video itself features a series of seemingly disassociated locations and events--not a narrative per se, so much as juxtapositions that mirror the overall spirit and emotion of the particular moment.
But! Before I scare you away with my ramblings, we slumbering scribes highly recommend that you fire up "Improvisation 2. Take 1. Ce Qui Dure" post-haste. As always, we'll meet you on the other side.
Look, let's be transparent here. If you've already listened to the existing three(!) singles from Breath's forthcoming debut, yet still aren't convinced, I don't know if anything I write here today can change your mind. In any case, if this bad boy isn't on your release radar, you are certifiably missing out.
But, more to the point: what's this? Another Breaths track premiere? As if Lined in Silver's killer title track wasn't enough to get our collective blood a-pumpin' here at the Sleeping Village? When you're dealing with the quality stuff, sometimes you just need to help yourself to seconds, and that's exactly what we slumbering scribes are doing here today. "The Forgotten Ones" is next up for a little love, and we're pleased and honored to present it here today for your listening pleasure. Without further ado, then, cast yer earholes and eyeballs below. We'll meet ye on the other side!
In the experience of this dutifully somber scribe, somberness alone does not quality death doom make. While the genre in question clearly relies on emotional heft, staying power is all too oft nonexistent when the sheer weight of sadness is all a track has going for it. But in the case of Rise to the Sky, one-man atmospheric death doom outfit from Santiago, Chile, emotionally one-dimensional songwriting and a lack of lasting impact are most certainly not of concern.
Case in point: "Liebestod." This lead single from the (excellent) forthcoming Let Me Drown With You delivers the depressed and downtrodden air one might expect alongside a funereal aura...but also carries itself with a subtly triumphant air. It's a killer track, and before I scare you away with more talk, please do yourself a favor and check it out below. As always, we'll see you on the other side.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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