Post-rockers and Fiona Apple, beware: Johann G. Winther is coming at you with the essay-length title of his latest work. If reading the album title seems a bit awkward, then it also seems fitting that the cassette is released on Awkward Formats. But what an amazing job they’ve done with the packaging ~ nothing awkward about it at all! I was pleased to receive mine in the mail the other day, and to find that it was as professional as it looked in the photo: an engraved wood mystery chest that is quite a bit larger than it needs to be for a card, a cassette, and a selection of photos. The label has been generous to a fault, and is to be congratulated.
Winther has apparently caught the Slaapwel bug. After a fine release on that label (last year’s exquisite For Ingar Gustavsson, lovingly dedicated to his grandmum), Winther has ventured once more into the field of sleep enhancement. A note inside the box indicates that these two half-hour tracks were “meant for you to fall asleep to if you were one of sixteen people in a dormitory in Utrecht, Holland on September 8th 2012”. The series of concerts held that weekend echoes the continuing series that Wim and his friends have held at Slaapwel ~ one only wishes that one could have been in the audience. The only problem, of course, is that when one is at a concert, even if one has been lent a bed, one wants to stay up to hear the music! The advantage of home listening is that one can test out the tones without the fear of missing something that cannot be recovered.
So does it work? Yes ~ I can definitely vouch for it. However, it is recommended that one take advantage of the download code in the box in order to keep from being awoken by the sound of the cassette ending. The tones are warm and inviting, varying by degrees over the course of the album but separating into tendrils and components in the midsection of Side A and at the end of Side B. When awake, these are the most appealing sections of the release, especially the near-silence at minute thirteen. The only distracting element is an echoed knock found at the start of Side A, but this vanishes in time to allow the dreams to come.
It’s hard to rate music that in effect one is not supposed to listen to, but the slow presentation of variety makes the music effective from an objective vantage point as well. Buy it for the packaging and stay for the nap in a box; then when awake, appreciate the keen artistry behind the music. (Richard Allen)