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With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields


Sleeping Dog

  Gizeh Records  
Release Date:


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This is the second Sleepingdog promo that EvilSponge has reviewed, although it is the first one that i have really listened to. The previous one i gave a preliminary spin and forwarded on. But, as is often the case, that Minion has since left, and the burden of reviewing this follow-up release falls upon me.

With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields is the third release for Sleepingdog in the last five years. That kind of prolificness is all the more surprising when you consider that Sleepingdog is a collaboration between musicians who have other projects. Granted, one of the musicians is Adam Wiltzie, and his other project is Stars of the Lid, a band that takes lots of time between releases. The other member of Sleepingdog is Chantal Acda, and she is also in a band called True Bypass, which i have never heard of.

However, what is really important to note here is that this is an album featuring Adam Wiltzie. Aside from being one-half of Austin, TX's magnificent Stars of the Lid, he is also part of Dead Texan and Windsor for the Derby, two other acts i have enjoyed tremendously. Wiltzie's music tends to be slow and slowly transforming. I would call what he does post-rock, except that a lot of the time the music is actually more classical in nature. That is, these songs are made from movements of strings, piano, and percussion, all growing and changing like the type of thing you are more likely to hear at The Woodruff Arts Center than at The EARL. I find this type of music fascinating, and With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields is another fine addition to the growing catalog of this type of classical / pop fusion music.

The record starts with a drone and light piano in Untitled Ballad of You and Me. Acda's voice comes in, and the drone swells up into a massive sound, echo layered onto the voice. The song reverbs and throbs in an utterly beautiful way.

It Leaves Us Silent is more of a pop song, with Acda's singing accompanied by piano and guitar. Polish Love Song takes the piano to a very minimal level, adds in some strings, and lets Acda's voice wail. Both are lovely tunes.

However, Kitten Plays the Harmony Rocket, which comes next, is stunning. It is just under five minutes long, but is built out of sawing strings and low drones. There are layers and layers of sound cascading against each other, with Acda's voice layered in towards the end, very faintly. Simply beautiful, and not exactly like anything else.

Kitten Plays the Harmony Rocket seems to be a very Wiltzie song to me, in that it is typical of his many projects. So logically the band follows it up with a very Acda song, called He Loved to See the World Through His Camera. It harkens back to It Leaves Us Silent in that it is constructed out of voice, piano, and droning guitar, but does that same thing better. Well, maybe not better -- It Leaves Us Silent is a catchier tune, but He Loved to See the World Through His Camera is prettier.

From where It Was is next, and it takes the record into deep space. Masses of tremolo and organ create a spacey vibe that reverbs for two minutes, before fading out, leaving the song folkish with Acda singing and playing guitar, accompanied by some strings.

Horse Lullaby is another typical Wiltize tune, with layers of strings and tinkling keyboards. Acda's vocals work really well here. Finally, the record ends with Scary Movie, which is the most ambient track here, consisting of hushed piano, faint strings, and Acda singing very delicately. The whole thing just sort of fades out slowly, which is very appropriate.

I have to admit that i am rather impressed. This is a very lovely record. Sleepingdog is an interesting collaboration, and i hope to see more of them. I guess i need to track down some of Acda's other music as well...

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