It’s amazing what can happen to us in a year. Something we did twelve months ago can mean something entirely different or fail to resonate with us today. Such a gap in time is what allowed Evan Caminiti to take a leap in compositional scope for Dreamless Sleep. While this album still exists in an ambient realm its stylistic shift sounds a whole lot more like Tim Hecker, someone quite familiar with drastic mutations of original source material. Whatever side of consciousness you’re on, this album is welcoming, though it is oh so clear that Caminiti composes at night and for the night.
Between Barn Owl and Higuma, his myriad solo guises as well as touring the world and the many musicians wanting to collaborate, it is easy to understand how the Dreamless Sleep recordings were put on the back burner. After recording guitar and synthesizer to a 4-track in 2011, life happened, and it was not until a year later that Caminiti revisited these compositions. Compared to previous records, including this year’s earlier release Night Dust, this album plots a different course to arrive at a slightly more articulate dream-space, one whose details are more memorable upon waking.
Shades of Caminiti’s psychedelic, western landscape can be heard through the sparkling drift, but Dreamless Sleep has cleaner edges to follow. The drone, both the subtle and the huge, are present, but rather than being left in the murk to one’s own devices, the listener is gently led by the hand into a rich narrative. “Symmetry” represents a defining moment in Caminiti’s emergence from static to clarity. It begins with tape hiss and soft cycles of fuzzy energies flurrying beneath the surface like an iridescent school of fish. A skyline opens up with a series of synthesizers and echoing tones before the staying voice of guitar appears. Only a few notes are used and sustained, but this guitar serves as a calming beacon, a calming thread to follow.
“Absteigend” uses hushed voice and breath to create shuttering percussion while guitars and synths create a nocturnal chorus. It’s easy to let Caminiti’s albums pass by without really noticing the details, but it is Caminiti’s clear voice on guitar that ensures that Dreamless Sleep does not solely exist in a hypnagogic state. “Veiled Prayers” has fading chords simmering through a hot amp to create a gentle brushing of sound. “Becoming Pure Light” grounds the album in Caminiti’s familiar sky-scraping guitar weather, and it’s the choral voices creating the blanket of stars that helps take the style to another level.
In all, this album is a healthy maturation. For many listeners, the guitar ends up being the familiar light to follow but with more time spent on each composition an entirely new world opens up. Fan are so often impatient for certain bands to just hurry up and release something already. Caminiti has been too prolific and active to even get to this release until now – much to our benefit! Once again it is clear that this man takes great care in expanding his craft. (Nayt Keane)