With some albums you don’t know what you’re in for, but you’re dying to find out the second you hear of them or see them. The latest Cryo Chamber release belongs in this category. Sporting a cover evoking thoughts of They Live (1988) and various early Pink Floyd records, God Body Disconnect’s latest effort Sleeper’s Fate raises expectations right off the bat.
Once the music gets going with the title track “Sleeper’s Fate”, it immediately becomes clear that the concept of cinematic ambient has been taken one step further than usual. Voice samples, field recordings, synth chords and sweeping pads quickly combine into something which is not so much a movie sound track as a full fledged movie, except without actual moving images. Plucked strings, falling rains, passing cars, darkness abounding. “Halls of Disintegration” keeps going in the same direction – more tough guy samples, rattling noises of unclear origin, subtle melodic sounds and a great sense of air, space, room and void. This being dark ambient, everything is rather slow moving and droning, but there’s still way more going on than you’ll be able to absorb in one sitting.
An interesting facet of Sleeper’s Fate is the combination of in-your-face, very concrete sounds and noises, sounding like they’ve been recorded straight from the source onto the mastering track, and carefully crafted, FX drenched musicianship of a very precise and well thought-out variety. From a purely “technical” standpoint, this is probably the coolest thing going on here – clamoring and junk noises hyper realistically reproduced by simple replay, melting into thick and dreamy drones and eventually being submerged entirely, as voices and synthesizers do their thing.
More important than any methodological considerations is of course the overall atmosphere of the album. It is based on what I take to be a vaguely Sci-Fi theme of a “comatose man banished to the recesses of his tortured mind”, and there is certainly no lack of emotions and mood in the thickly weaved tapestries of chords, notes, sounds, noises and voices. The only discordance here is possibly the fact that the album is in fact a very pleasant listen – perhaps giving more of an impression of a man visiting some less tortured recess of his mind and the world (have a listen to “Flesh of a Ghost” and “Drowning with God” for prime examples). This is hardly a flaw, though – as usual with dark music, it is not always obvious why it should necessarily call forth unpleasantness and misery all the time, and the fact that Sleeper’s Fate doesn’t is rather something which works in its favor. Perhaps it should be viewed in the tradition of the Gothic horror story, fitted with a modern exoskeleton, but still sending sweet tingles down your spine. Either way, it is pretty much a must-listen for anyone into the ambient of the dark.
As usual, this murky piece of absolute beauty is available as digital download or beautiful 6 panel digipak from Cry Chamber’s bandcamp.