James Welburn – Sleeper In The Void

Distant cymbals are left to thrum, emerging from a dark and eerie cold spot on ‘Raze’, which kicks off James Welburn’s new LP, Sleeper In The Void – a record that also has the honour of being Miasmah’s fiftieth release. Its shadow-filled beginning soon rises into a beast of a track, where primitive, animalistic rhythms rock against a wailing wall of noise. Cold seeps into the record, filling every nook with frostbite and a numbing, unrelenting surge of raw power, delivering punch after punch until only dead muscle remains.

Sleeper In The Void has an insatiable appetite, and it feeds on its music in an almost lustful way, ripping gristle and distorted meat from its body and splattering its surroundings in overdriven debris. On the techno-bitten ‘Falling From Time’, the beat strikes over and over again, hard, while still managing to construct a tiny, spritely melody, which emerges halfway through the track. Something sick and poisoned lies within its nocturnal notes, aggressive but not necessarily violent.

Welburn’s textures sit at the centre of the record’s all-powerful vortex. At every turn, tidal drones deliver shocks to the system and the drums kick with black belt accuracy and consistency. Welburn’s explorations into decaying textures unearth queasy, dark discoveries, and the music of Sleeper In The Void lies close to the ground, its face almost covered in specks of soil. This dark, fascinating atmosphere has also been crafted with the help of Tomas Järmyr (Motorpsycho, Zu, Barchan), Hilde Marie Holsen (Hubro Records), and vocal artist Juliana Venter (W/V, Phil Winter), who all step up and help to shape its shadows. The scrunched-up, garbled vocals seem to struggle against the onslaught on closer ‘Fast Moon’, where the propulsive, toxic beat virtually spews its tonal acid onto the street.

The textures swirl, building skyscrapers out of clouds, seeming to endlessly morph in a place out of time and an uninhibited space, but they’re also strong enough to feel like tough bone; the skeletal beat helps the tracks to stand out, define them, and make them feel like stable constructions, capable not only of standing but of running.


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