Evan Caminiti – Dreamless Sleep
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Fresh from releasing Night Dust only a few months ago, Evan Caminiti of Barn Owl continues his nocturnal deambulation with Dreamless Sleep. He leaves the intense and dusty drones that made the bulk of his recent work to embark on sideways explorations of “devotional hymns, Berlin school epics, and cinematic westerns”. In Dreamless Sleep, Caminiti layers tremolo and delay-laden desert guitars growls upon synths-based liquid undercurrents and shaped tape hiss. Whilst really standing out as a singular piece of music, the spectre of Oren Ambarchi or Aidan Baker can at times be deciphered in Dreamless Sleep amid the fury of intense drones and muscular guitars.
The musical ideas and sonic material were collected and recorded on cassette 4-track and show again the refreshing urgency and dark sincerity found in Caminiti’s earlier projects. For this new work, Caminiti composted the sketches he had first assembled towards the album as he was leaving his base in San-Fransisco to go on an extended tour. Upon his return, changed by months of traveling and new experiences, Caminiti re-worked the music into new forms whilst trying to further the themes he had started to explore at first.
Untrue to its name, Dreamless Sleep is far from the abstract and hypnagogic exploration of a forgotten oneiric life it could maybe suggest. Instead the whole album seems to draw its inspiration from a rich pool of vivid emotions suffused throughout with a residual anxiety and a sense of inescapable loneliness that achingly anchors it to its decayed fragility. There is no sense of cheap melancholia and cloying feelings of romantic isolation. Instead, the emotional machinery is worked from the bottom-up and seems to reach back to its very core as if Caminiti was holding an existential mirror with a rather humbling honesty.
Throughout the album, the contrasts between shadow and light, between zones of opacity and translucence, between mental clarity and unfathomable suffering are all perfectly balanced and give the music an exceptional sense of depth and density. Upon repeated listens Dreamless Sleep turns into this haunting piece of raw humanity cut back to its naked backbone, thus exerting upon the audience a strange but irresistible magnetic appeal. There’s something visceral for instance in Fading Dawn or Veiled Prayers where distorted guitars, erupting like mushroom clouds of stone in a cold desert at night, cast a dark and menacing shadow upon the undulating landscape evoked by always mutating droning synthesisers. They seem to echo primal memories of psychedelia deeply embedded within the listener’s psyche, hence resonating as if remnants of their lysergic past had suddenly found new ways of meaning.
Dreamless Sleep is perhaps Evan Caminiti’s most compelling work to date and should be appreciated in the solitude of the early hours when the world outside has receded beyond the horizon of consciousness so the music can finally occupy the delicate space that flows within the cracks. Dreamless Sleep is an exceptional album!
- Pascal Savy for Fluid Radio