White Sleep - Nocturnus I
This review was commissioned. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
Industrial techno and ambient producer White Sleep made a bit of a splash in these niche genres when their debut album “Everything Is Lucid” slammed on record label Decaying Spheres in 2021. The eight-track album easily blended and flowed between deep techno cuts and atmospheric ambiance; one of the bundles the cassette version was featured in sold out; another only has one copy remaining. A year after “Everything Is Lucid”, almost as a bit of an anniversary, White Sleep is hitting back with their brand-new EP “Nocturnus I”. Which, judging by the title, should receive a sequel or two. By the gorgeous sound design embedded within “Nocturnus I”, this is both a producer and direction I would love to hear more from.
“Nocturnus I” kicks off with ‘Unorthodox’. Background ambiance, what sounds like faded music in reverse, brings us around a one-minute build-up into the bulk of the song. Without subtracting that eerie focus, White Sleep breathes in a hypnotic, deep techno beat that you might find at an underground cult clinic. White Sleep’s power lies within their ability to constantly warp their songs. Hearing a techno beat for longer than a minute can be an exercise in patience at best as you wait for the next thing to happen. However, even if it’s just another experimental noise added in, a slight pitch difference, or completely dissecting the song for a stretch of ominous, rhythm-less ambiance, White Sleep manages to keep my attention throughout this five-minute and fifty-second piece.
What comes next is ‘Panus Lecomtei’. White Sleep takes us into a deep rainforest or jungle as the crashing of thunder, what sounds like the whisper of harsh winds, and tribal drum beats drew me into the track. I think that the first half of the song is rather slow, with unnoticeable touches making it a bit of a slog. This changes around the two-minute mark when ambient synths play a larger role and give the song a brighter curiosity.
‘Adriatic Sea’ comes in as the next song. Queer bleeps and blips start off the track, as if coming off the soundboard for a 60s sci-fi B-movie. A steady doldrum of bass leads us into the bulk of the song and we’re once again thrust into a creepy dance track. Flashing darkness amidst the stutter of bright lights; another excellent demonstration from the project. ‘Solar Flare’ rids itself of most techno influences and heads right into ambient territory. Elongated synths and experimental plays; the sounds of an electronic insect chirping away during the early morning hours. A science fiction play on nature, in my opinion, and a cinematic piece at best.
The last track on the album is the polar opposite of the previous. White Sleep asks for the dance floor to be opened up as a rapid-fire industrial techno track is unleashed onto the masses. Quick and ready, non-stop, with only a twenty-second break near the middle of the song to serve as a breather. Whether slowing things down to let the beats sink into your veins, or completely dominating your speaker system with unhinged beats, White Sleep can do it all.
White Sleep’s “Nocturnus I” is a swole beast oozing with experimental ambiance and deep bass cuts. It’s one of those rare industrial techno releases where the artist understands that constant four-on-the-floor beats or back-to-back hardened dance tracks isn’t enough to get the job done. Seven-and-a-half out of ten.Nov 06 2022
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I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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