ATTN: MAGAZINE :
Lie down. Close your eyes. Open them again. Seven or eight hours have passed. You might awake with the traces of a dream draining from your mind – flashes of forgotten faces and strange melds of memory – yet sleep is ultimately a period of absent self; a blank interlude between undulating passages of consciousness. From a biological standpoint it’s actually a time of intense activity (memory consolidation, hormone excretion etc), and by using sleep measurements taken by Lärmshutz’s two members as a graphical score, Sleepcycles work to amplify the expressive fluctuations that are inherent within such a seemingly static act.
Two tracks, two different nights of sleep: one marked by the brevity of its sleep cycles, the other characterised by the frequent appearance of nightmares. The first opens with a descent from consciousness to unconsciousness. Guitar feedback and drums mimic all the sharp edges and noises of sensory awareness, pressing forcefully against the ceiling of consciousness with sounds of vigour and insistence, before softening into pants of double bass and delicate rustling hi-hats. Darkness thickens as the performers mellow out, tracing the line of the graph down toward slower pulse rates and more gentle mental activity. The guitar starts to twang in intermittent minor keys, as the bass purrs like an old car motor running flat. Gradually cymbals and strums drag the music upward again – skipping along on the edge of krautrock as it holds a rolling, asymmetric groove – and then back down, riding the curve into troughs of REM and sleep-assisted biological recovery, amplifying the undulating song of bodily restoration that otherwise passes unperceived.
As well as mirroring the dynamic flow of sleep, many of the musical decisions on Sleepcycles feel like the output of the more erratic, suggestible dream-states. For instance, a trombone casually enters the frame like a marching band member sleepwalking off course, perpetuating his song in a mixture of embarrassment and bewilderment as he shuffles his way through the amplifier feedback. The guitar cuts in between crunchy tones and the hiss of metallic gain, saturating notes in distortion and fumbling through guitar solos like a drowsy, cack-handed thrash parody. The group feel thoroughly uninhibited, following eachother into lulls of rumbling noise and sudden fountains of excitement, released from a conscious mind that might have vetoed some of the more erratic and unruly turns of pace. It’s restless and raw set of music; an exhibition of the loose thoughts and restless processes that all flow beneath the façade of physical stillness. -
Frans de Waard - Vital Weekly:
One of the things I really like about the Dutch anarcho-impro-jazz band Lärmschutz is that they are so actively involved in getting their music released around the world, on the strangest of labels; I secretly hope that reading Vital Weekly helps them. At the core Lärmschutz is now a duo of Stef Brans on guitar and Rutger van Driel on bass, double bass and trombone, and for this release they receive help from drummer Thanos Fotiadis. This new release is all about sleep. One night after a gig they activated a sleep app, and it showed that one had a deep sleep and one a restless dream sleep. They used the chart of that app as a score for their
improvised music. Both pieces last twenty minutes, considerable shorter than a regular night of sleep, short or long. On the first side we find 'Deep Sleep' and 'Dream Sleep' on the other side. These pieces live quite up to the sleep-charts, even when we haven't seen the actual diagrams. One can easily hear the more chaotic, full-on action of 'Dream Sleep', versus the more introspective improvisations of 'Deep Sleep'; do not expect something that resembles ambient music; that is not the kind of music this group makes, nor is it music to sleep by. This music is all about improvised music, and the sleep/dream chart is ways of get some
inspiration and some action. Lärmschutz plays again some wonderful crazy improvised music, although I thought that at various points it sounded rockier than before, especially in the way the drums were played, but don't let that mislead you: there is enough mayhem and chaos in here to make it sound like proper Lärmschutz music. This is another excellent release by them. -
released June 1, 2016
Sleep disturbance might sound like a bad thing for improvising, since responding and sharpness are an important factor. But it doesn't have to be. It can change perspectives, as if you're putting on a different lens. Lärmschutz has a somewhat ambiguous relation to sleep, since one member often sleeps for only short durations of time and the other has a history of nightmares.
Lärmschutz consists of a core duo, Stef Brans and Rutger van Driel, aided here by drummer Thanos Fotiadis. One night, after a gig, Stef and Rutger measured their sleep using a phone app. The outcome was a deep sleep for one, and a restless dream sleep for the other. The graph chart from those nocturnal hours were translated into a graphic chart for improvisation.
Sleepcycles is the result of these improvisations. A coming to terms with their own sleeping patterns.
Stef Brans: guitar
Rutger van Driel: bass, double bass & trombone
Thanos Fotiadis: drums
Art: Frédéric Lacroix-Loiselle