Sep 01, 2022
By Matthew Berlyant
Recorded in Noah Deemer’s native North Carolina and partly in New York upon Deemer’s return during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, you won’t encounter too many records (though, technically, this is a cassette-only release that’s also streaming everywhere) that you just KNOW must have been made when we were all living in isolation from one another. Sounding like a broadcast from the deep, dark recesses of a cave deep underground, this 3 A.M. noise/collage montage evokes, in no particular order, The Blue Nile, some of Destroyer’s recent output, and when Deemer sings (as on the second track “Lay Your Hands”), it doesn’t hurt that he sounds like a concussed Alan Vega at times. There is also skronking, almost quasi-metal guitar heroics here that reminds one of groups like Pelican, Trans Am, or even Fucking Champs. When a squawking ’80s style sax comes on shortly afterwards, the overall feel is one of disorientation.
The title The Sleepwalker is no coincidence, as it constantly evokes that not quite awake but not quite asleep state throughout, not just when Deemer shouts the title over and over again on the title track. It starts out innocently enough, though, with ominously-titled opening track “Modern Ruins” featuring prominent analog synths sounding like something from Michael Rother’s side of NEU!’s third album NEU! ’75. By the third track, “Underwater Green/Coming Down,” we’re almost in ambient jazz territory with Deemer once again crooning. This is music that rewards close and repeated listening and by the fourth or fifth time, you will be hooked. (www.noahdeemer.bandcamp.com)
Author rating: 7.5/10
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