Sleeper – Oram Mode / Level Up [SYSTM022]

One thing I appreciate about electronic genres that don’t put the accent on all (usually 4) counts of the musical measure is the fact that, by shifting attention not to the continuation but the diversification of the sounds, it creates a whole new interesting layer to listen to. Now, it is true that there is experimentation within and without all genres, however, I feel that the category Sleeper is in is a magnificent blend of interest and danceability. When I think of Sleeper, I think of texture. Not the kind of texture that you can hear per se, but you can almost -feel- the soundwaves connecting and translating into your eardrums. The way Sleeper treats his sounds gives them personality and story. It makes them talk to each other as different beings.

The vibes on ‘Oram Mode’ are mainly dark, but this time Sleeper goes deeper. He creates a space that feels worn and faded. Crackles, shakers, bells and bellows set the stage for the dive we are about to take. When it hits it takes you on a trek. A hike. One that takes effort to continue. You keep pulling yourself forward. The surreal, dissonant keys and ‘wooden-boxy’ drum fills bewilder and pull you back respectively. On the dance floor, I feel like it could work, depending on the mood. The intro is solid, but I think a more interesting way to try and mix this track would be to start it around the 1:50 mark. The track is more of a ‘puller’ than a ‘pusher’ that way, and I think that that fits the motive. The ending works, if it is meant to ‘pull’ in a set. It feels a bit off, however, if you approach it as “listening” music. I don’t know what it is exactly but I expected another, less ‘abrupt’ ending.

The texture I referred to earlier shines through on ‘Level Up’. Throughout the intro there are a couple of sounds that tickle your ear, scratch out the earwax and if they are dirty enough, form another copy of ‘Level Up’ on a 7″. The kick, even though seemingly bitcrushed, remains natural. Sleeper knows how to crush his kicks. The main ‘Brumpf’ is nice and crackly and it keeps its snappiness on it’s delay. Very nice work in the layering on that part. The second part of this tune is the highlight of the track, and maybe the whole release as well. Every sound has its own place, and fulfils his role. The track seems more open than I’m used to from Sleeper, a bit brighter, a bit more sharp. It’s more danceable than the A-side, and sound wise, a bit more interesting. However, when it comes to overall consistency and atmosphere, I’d give ‘Oram Mode’ the upper hand.

SYSTM022 is released June 1st and available from the System Music Store.

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