Sleep Dealer – Imminence

When I signed up to review Sleep Dealer’s “Imminence” I’d only heard a few tracks in passing. I was too busy looking at pictures of cats to pay attention to what I was listening to. I didn’t know anything about this one-man band from Russia, but I figured that it isn’t too dissonant to be annoying, so why not?

Let me tell you why not.

I decided to get acquainted with his work, comparing his previous releases to his latest. Saying that his sense of song structural is elementary is an understatement. Every song was over 2 minutes, and under 6. The songs that were under 3 minutes had no major change in sound, and they’re generally the more orchestral/neo-classical pieces. Every song over 3 minutes long had a very subdued and basic intro for the first two or two-and-a-half minutes, then suddenly shake things up and play a different set of minimalist segments over and over, louder and louder until it suddenly becomes quiet, and the song ends. It happens so many times, I stopped listening to the whole song, and started skipping to the two-minute mark and wait for the change in tone. It never failed. After 2 EPs and 2 Albums of this repetitious rubbish, I stopped to listen to something more professionally executed. I couldn’t comprehend that someone could really record 18 variations on the same theme, and give them all different names, on different EPs and albums. It was strangely infuriating.

I slept on it, (no pun intended) and approached “Imminence” with refreshed ears.

The first thing I see is the albums’ artwork, and I noticed that it looks exactly like all of his other album covers. Some low-fidelity painting or picture, the band name on top in big lettering, and the album name below in smaller lettering.

Lo and behold, the first track is adhering to the standard Sleep Dealer structure. Two minutes into the album, and I’m already bored. I think this is what happens when a man becomes an island. He has no band mates to bounce ideas off of, and all his albums sound, feel, and even look the same. He’s stuck in a groove where it’s playing the same songs over and over, and he has no one to bump his proverbial needle. I don’t know if this is actually the case for Sleep Dealer, but I think it’s a very reasonable explanation for his permanent stagnation.

The remainder of the album is more of the same. Solo intros and minor tonalities abound. Never once will you hear complicated syncopation, never once will you hear distant vocals, never will you hear anything other than his reverb, delay, and distortion pedals, and never once will you hear anything outside of his comfort zone. I think this poem describes “Imminence” rather succinctly.

A photo or a painting
His band name in big lettering
The album in small lettering
This is Sleep Dealer.

You know what he’s going to do
You needn’t a hint or a clue
He changes his tune half way through
This is Sleep Dealer.
 
You could listen all day
But his notes do not sway
Distortion, Reverb, Delay
This is Sleep Dealer.

I’m finding it difficult to find kind words for Sleep Dealer and his work, other than the fact that he’s reliable. It looks like he won’t ever change style, and that’s a very good thing for his fans. You won’t hear any sour notes, and the production itself isn’t terrible, either. They’re all very professional recordings, so if you’re looking for a lot of music to fluff up your collection, or extend your studying playlists, Sleep Dealer might actually be something you’re looking for.

But if you’re looking for albums that break the mold or pieces of music that push the envelope, you’d better avoid Sleep Dealer altogether.

 

tags: rock ambient classical experimental rock instrumental post-rock город Москва