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Sleep D - Rebel Force (Incienso, 2019)

Paradiso meets the unstoppable techno chugs on a fierce and confident debut LP from the Aussie wizards.

Sleep D certainly have been busy lads the past few years, and that effort is certainly rewarding in their plethora of spectral sounds. A duo that explore the lows, the bass so to speak, as much as the pulsating highs of synthesisers, their journey has been awesome to see unfolding. The pair feel very much like the missing link between Jagwa Mar and the blossoming Aussie contemporary dance music scene, that has flourished in recent years through a wide mantra of producers and nights. Such is their wide reaching sound, it slots in alongside the progressive, the moody, and the delicate. Their releases on their Butters Sessions label, such as 2015's awesome 'Velvet Vortex', and 2017s pounding reverbed to hell 'Red Rock' EP just a couple of a wide selection of varied and colourful releases to come out of the Sleep D cannon.

Now then, onto their debut LP, on the superb Incienso label. This label seems a perfect alternative home for Sleep D, as they consistently explore the nether regions of deep, progressive and experimental sounds. They released DJ Python's brilliant 'Dulce Compania' in 2017, along People Plus's weird and wonderful 2018 release 'Olympus Mons EP', and have placed an emphasis on the excursions made by the sounds of electronica and how they evolve naturally, or perhaps unnaturally. Sleep D here have crafted an album born from this identity, the notion of progressiveness guides each track as it begins and ends at somewhat different places. The subtly and feel is curated to maximum effect, with the listener just happy to be placed within a soft but powerful series of soundscapes. The beats change up, the groove slows down, speeds up, and its all so wonderful. lets take a dip.

First up is the opener, 'Red Rock (IV Mix)', which is a re configuration of their tune off their 2017 release. The essence of this tune comes from its power from underneath, the bass line remaining consistent throughout, never fading. The grooves on top bob along in harmony with this, adding an extra dynamic and importance to the bass moving beneath. Synths of other worlds swell and lap up the noise, chaotic in their graceful interludes, as they contently occupy the top parts of the song. Its very much an excursion into the depths of consciousness, us being lightly pounded by the ever evolving power of this tune. Then, it slightly switches up, with the drums adding in a hi hat, as a key line joins in with the fun. This is the second phase, and oh boy are we glad to be along for the ride. The hats speed up, double time, as the track once again shifts mood and colour. All the elements are now here, and they don't seem like peaking anytime soon. A late night dance floor shaker, thats for sure. Up next we have 'Central', and deep mood is replaced with the electro of new and old. The drums are shallow on top but go deep as hell, with a phat bass line thrown in to fill the void between. The pair like the notion of building it up, through the little things, the little noises. Suddenly the spaces are filled, that synth pad from another planet comes in hard. Damnnnn! its wicked, such a sudden intro, but it feels as if the opening part of the track was just waiting for this to come into play. Detroit as hell, this is so grand. As the the beat progresses, it moves slightly away from the electro and more into the realms of house, that is all the more surprising and testament to these two's abilities to craft tunes. Up next is 'Danza Mart', that feels like a combi of broken beat mixed with techno. Hmmmmm, it starts off in this manner, with a solid beat interlaced with all kinds of percussive and rhythmic sounds, that add intrigue and delight to the track. They jump about effortlessly, then around the 2:30 mark, these elements drop away to give into an acid line from above. Deep and chuggy, it grows in confidence, only to be taken away and the breakbeat starts once again. The number of scenes, transitions and feels in this tune is extraordinary. Relentless never felt or sounded so damn fresh. Next we have 'Twin Turbo', that takes the energy back down again. The soft and steady bass line acts as the backbone here, with the drumming patterns swinging from left and right, with the cymbals and trippy noises coming into play. Dubby as hell, this tune has it all, the uptight energy, the low down feels, the atmosphere that expands with every noises introduced. Dammnnn.

Next is 'Jazz', the interlude that we didn't know we needed. Beatless excursions are such a wonderful contrast to have on records, especially hen you have been layering the shit out of tunes like these guys have been doing to maximum effect. Sometimes, its nice to just let a keyboard breathe, let it guide itself as much as you guide it. A interconnected world is created, freeform and flowing, all wrapped in a slow and hazy environment. Even within this tune, the contrast between the evolving synths beneath and the distorted fuzz of the tunes on top is wonderful. The soft and the hard. Next we have 'Fade Away', and we are back in business. This one has a lovely slowed down tempo, but the elements within are doing their best to give it their all energy wise. Pads do the riddims, as the drumming patterns move and swirl around, before it all goes up a notch with a truly beautiful key line. Yes, this is the one. Where before these harmonic elements felt slightly more ingrained in the track, this one rides high, adding in an extra dynamic to the track. A real eyes closed, hands in the air sort of moment. Beautiful. Next is 'Reggatron', with the energy pumped up one more notch here. This is a big tune, the dynamics (an important word here) wide as fuck, allowing all the tonal work to do its thing between the hi hats and the kicks. The dark techno stabs give it that extra bit of malice, a menacing track that will keep heads moving deep in the night. With 'Special Sector', we move back into the electro side of things. Cymbals add in the extra groove, and again the track moves into the darker side of the dance spectrum. Synths grumble and bleep around, little cybernetic sounds give way for a true futuristic, other galaxy sort of synth line. These little lines serve the tracks on this record so well, and this writer can picture these moments really turning heads on the dance floor.

To finish up, we have 'Morning Sequence' ft. Kuniyuki, and 'Pearlescent Skyline'. Morning is a peach of a track, beginning off with that oh so familiar bass line allowing the track to develop around it. It chimes and dives, with the drumming kicking up a notch, before some proper paradiso pads come into play. Then the sax. That is the shit, the tune moving towards the proper Balearic end, as we dance and smile as the sun retreats. This is such a nice towards the end of the album sort of track; after various moves through an awesome selection of noises, the delight in this is its warmth, the emotion and the feeling. Finally, 'Skyline' brings that energy through to the last track, a combo of the previous tracks, a mix of pure energy with emotive delights. A perfect ender! big track! hands in the air! madness!

This album is as impressive technically as it is with its musical content. Sleep D here have developed an understanding of mixing vibes and genres together under one album, then sub dividing it further into tracks that overall provide us with an astounding experience. A journey through all that is good and wonderful, a spectrum that will be revisited time and again from different angles, locations and environments, and still provide us with the same level of power and grace that was given to us through the first listen. Sunny vibes, dark drums, rave extordinarie, a superb release. Bravo.

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