Review: The Sleeper Has Awakened – S/T

Just as the opening beat of “Kill Me First, Fast And Again” begin to sound laboriously mechanical, The Sleeper Has Awakened unexpectedly tear their momentum into shreds. The first couple of minutes heave and ho like the hydraulics and weighty impact of industrial routine, lumbering between beats like a robot on unswerving onward march. Out of nowhere, the music floods open into delicate acoustic fingerpluck and babbling vocal samples, reducing rhythm to a simmering bitcrusher hiss before bringing it crashing back into life with an ominous urgency. They sound like angular stylistic turns, but TSHA expertly manoeuvre them into very natural arcs; not rendering transitions predictable exactly, but certainly providing ample forewarning.

It’s densely layered stuff, and arguably reaches excess at points (inundations of pinch harmonics, glitch beats, babbling intercom, trickling water), but the sheer eclecticism of the resultant musical landscapes makes the intricate detail worth the effort more often than not. Particularly engrossing is the juxtaposition between organic warmth and aggressive electronic elements, like the boisterous processes of a factory displaced into a lush and vibrant natural setting; bold, rectangular blocks of grey stranded within a personable, emotional warmth.