Sleeparchive, Hadron EP

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[Sleeparchive]


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You have to give credit to Roger Semsroth for the balls to label his austere minimal techno brand Sleeparchive and to categorize his label with the onomatopoeia for sleep (Zzz). It should be easy ammunition, but save for a track or two, like my personal un-fav “Track 4 (Recycled),” Sleeparchive has never been willing to just drift off. Even before the first note of the project, Semsroth knew how to set the tone for his debut, “Elephant Island.” Accompanied by a of a turn-of-the-century crackle, Ernest Shackleton’s description of his South Pole expedition laid out all the foundations of Sleeparchive: clean geometry seen to horizons, melodrama in a lone beep of life and unexpected flurries of white noise.

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I’m not going to butter it up, though – the “Hadron EP” is disappointing. Somewhere along the way, Sleeparchive lost the scale of his South Pole. You can hear the same vocabulary throughout – a stomach churn of glissando synths, a stabilizing bleep, and snares filed down by granular shards – but “Baryon” and “QCD” never sound barren or urgent enough. Likewise, the unease of “Meson” is squashed into a quiver. The focus on the micro has some advantages – the locked grooves of the “Sleep Cycles” get their Aphex Twin-like revenge on Buddha machines loops and “Particle” finally comes full-circle to Shackleton’s recording. But hopefully Semsroth doesn’t worry so much about putting people to sleep that he can let his records breath a little easier.

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