Write down your dreams before they slip away. The advice is wise, for as soon as we awake, we begin to forget. By keeping a notepad next to his bed, Günter Schlienz was able to begin writing his Book of Dreams. The album preserves both dreams and impressions of dreams, the titles merely fragments of memory. The music is somnambulant, possessing the fleeting nature of clouds, as stylized on the cover by Rutger Zuydervelt. But as phantasmagorical as the images may become (“The Female Coffee Drinking Dwarf”), the music remains soothing, suited for a nursery. By this we intuit that Schlienz has made friends with his dreams ~ in fact has fallen in love with the liminal time between sleeping and waking. And how could he not? Conjuring orange pools, white dogs and lovely companions, his mind seems a place of endless creativity, just what we might expect from such an inventive artist.
It’s amusing to think of someone drinking coffee during a dream, as if dream coffee might help one to stay asleep. This ten minute track is graced with the sound of twinkles and bells. One can imagine it on an endless loop, gliding through the night. “Stilleben” rides glistening waves of synthesizer across a seemingly endless sea. A siren sings a lullaby, inviting the dreamer to dock on her shore, but again the script is flipped; hers is a shore of safety. Only in “Mushrooming” do the sounds grow disorienting, the result of radio fragments embedded in the mix. But when music box tones take over, a sense of peace is restored. Best of all is “The Girl With the Cloud Coloured Shirt”, whose gorgeous strings imply love in the liminal realm. These dreams are worth holding onto, perhaps even returning to, which is why they have been preserved in such a fashion.
The album has only one down side: the final piece, “Awaken”, ends with an alarm clock. The reverie is disturbed, the peace shattered. Schlienz has created such a sweetly suspended atmosphere that it’s painful to see it disappear so quickly. As accurate as it may be to real-life experience, we prefer the beautiful stillness. (Richard Allen)