SLEEP REPRIEVE – NEAR COMPLETION
Artist: SLEEP REPRIEVE
Album: NEAR COMPLETION
Type: Extended-play (EP)
Release date: 16 March 2017
- Digital download (HVRF, 2017)
Anyone else getting some massive Black Mirror vibes from that album artwork? If not, then maybe you will from the album’s description, courtesy of HVRF and the artist themself:
“Humankind has died off, but the robotic cheetahs live on. Having adapted to the natural environment of the Peruvian rainforest, the cheetahs exercise their cybernetic abilities to travel between dimensions without the constraints imposed on them by their former overlords. They plan to develop a utopian society where they can continue their evolution, transcend their bodies and ultimately reunite with the infinite consciousness which birthed them.”
Shit, dude.1 That’s a hell of a concept, and it fits in perfectly with the milieu of HVRF – a hardvapour label that specializes in quixotic and experimental music that especially caters to narrative music around themes of geopolitics and humanity’s end-times.
NEAR COMPLETION – the debut EP from SLEEP REPRIEVE – incorporates old-school IDM flavors in its hardvapour. The album doesn’t go hard like a lot of HVRF (and sister label Antifur), but around this time a lot of hardvapour began to incorporate more ambient influences anyway, so in context it isn’t too different from its chronological cousins. Tracks like “Stealth Mode” and “Expert Bridge Burner” display SLEEP REPRIEVE’s predilection from hard basslines that are prominently mixed. Overall, the EP’s five songs are rather uptempo, which is belied by the fatalistic concept. However, they aren’t as captivating as the story either, and SLEEP REPRIEVE often falls into the trap in which the search for “atmosphere” overrides the actual compositions. The boundless production and even ghostly affect displayed on “Authenticate” has potential, but that track (and the whole album) can’t help but feel as if there’s a lack of hook so endemic to hardvapour that makes the subgenre so powerful – compare XXb0)mbCiTyXX by [eye]GEISHA, which also features some downtempo/ambient parts yet still owns its hardvapour and industrial electronica roots.2 Perhaps if NEAR COMPLETION completely forewent its attempts at trying to be hardvapour and just played it as the cool IDM it seems like it wants to be, then it’d be an overall stronger release and have more of a cybernetic bite.
1. Expert Bridge Burner – (4:02)
2. Can’t Unsee – (4:20)
3. Stealth Mode – (3:38)
4. Authenticate – (4:27)
5. Near Completion – (3:33)
1Time to rewatch “Metalhead”.
2And it originally came out in 2013!