Review: Sleeper – Ephemerol Delivery EP

In an addendum to his breathtaking ‘Simulation Theory’ EP, Sleeper chooses to go the DIY route, self-releasing a companion piece on his bandcamp page. Entitled ‘Ephemerol Delivery’, Sleeper again mines his way further down a tunnel towards something much worse than hell – past stone and dirt and the oil black, chitinous husks of insects, Sleeper finds himself reborn from half-stepper crown prince to the emperor of a realm where dubsteppers and techno fiends shake their demons out together.

The title track, ‘Ephemerol Delivery’, is a nod to the 80’s cult movie ‘Scanners’ in which the drug “ephemerol” bestows telekinetic and telepathic abilities, and for the heads who really know, Loefah famously sampled a select speech in the anthem ‘Goat Stare’. Anyway, Ephemerol Delivery heeds no time in inducing atmosphere or playing with pretty melodies, or making you find your happy place that your therapist or yoga teacher tells you to find, rather ‘Ephemerol Delivery’ aims to suffocate with pistoning subs that mimic the psychotropic qualities of techno’s 4×4 rhythmic chassis. In addition to the techno-esque sub workout, the hi-hat patterns mimic the same sonic tropes of techno, adding that little extra rhythmic kink to get those shoulders rolling. While the subs stomp their boots into your chest, arcs of electrostatic lightning course their way through your spinal column, cutting through the rivers, streams, and creeks of your nervous system, while a flood dose of ephemerol burns holes in your neurons until it burrows itself into the synapses.

In the piece, ‘Untitled 303 Reflex’, Sleeper indulges in some good ol’fashioned 303 tweaking. Imagine a harder acid house tune with a offset sub tailor-made for some dark basement during the last hours of night when you’re off your head on some weird new party drug. You become part of the 303 itself. You can see yourself from above as the acidic melody empties itself from your forehead in polychromatic, non-euclidean shapes that again morph into figments and shards of dream symbols. Eyes-wide as saucer plates, mouth agape, because your hallucinations (or are they?) are asking you to join them. Before you can say yes to their pleas, a pristine open crash swirls them back into your skull and you’re back in reality skanking side to side – though you wish your ‘friends’ could join you again.

‘Satoshi’ seems to be the more percussive and bare-bones version of ‘Ephemerol Delivery’ as the electrostatic lightning present within ‘Ephemerol Delivery’ slowly discharges itself across the length ‘Satoshi’. A lone, high-pitched whine of barbwire clouds has enough heft to chip paint off stone, as a constantly swelling bassline will collapse it’s fair share of speaker cones. There’s really no mucking about with ‘Satoshi’ – it’s a pure, uncut riddim solely focused for the floor.

Sleeper closes the ‘Ephemerol Delivery’ EP with the strongest track (well, besides the title track) ‘Desynchrony Protocol’. The soft whirring of machines opens while a needling, tunneling bleeps build themselves like a sentient nano-robot would. A thunderous clap rains brimstone and ash upon the dance as a uniquely offset dubstep x techno sub swerves with the finesse and power of a pugilist. Slowly, the hypnotic bleeps morph, changing tonal color as the chameleon would. It’s a deeply clinical tune that is cleverly subtle without being boring or repetitive, and like ‘Satoshi’ before it ‘Desynchrony Protocol’ is aimed for both your body and mind to become one with its heady sound design and heart stopping physicality.

Sleeper’s ‘Ephemerol Delivery’ EP finds a balance between the more ‘out there’ sonic agenda that (somewhat) mired his ‘Simulation Theory’ EP and the functionality of floor focused riddims. Luckily, the tracks present are more floor friendly, but just as deep without letting the sound design aspect overstay its welcome. It’s simple really, the techno fiends will crave more while the dubsteppers will finally be able to dance to techno.

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