If you’ve ever experienced an episode of sleep paralysis, you know how terrifying and disorienting it can be. It’s like being asleep and awake at the same time; you perceive your surroundings, but you can’t move or respond to them in any way. Many sufferers report seeing dark, demonic figures, sometimes at the foot of the bed and sometimes hovering right above them.
Holy shit, right? Now imagine that experience translated into sound. Vancouver’s Tiger Quilt (or TQ) made In Ruin after a bout of sleep paralysis, and if listening to the six-song cassette (also streaming on Bandcamp and SoundCloud) is as close as you ever come to waking up with the fucking Babadook leering at you from across the room, consider yourself lucky.
The distorted bass frequencies of “Holy Grail” and the clattering drum ’n’ bass–derived beat that drives “Burnt Jungle” capture something of the fleeting dread of a bad dream, but “Black Serpent” is perhaps the purest distillation of night terror into audio. After a slow buildup of synth arpeggios and alien squelches straight out of the Annihilation score, the song takes a sharp left turn into doom-rock territory courtesy of an amplifier-frying guitar riff that TQ had apparently been saving for a metal album.
“I hope this creeps you out,” the artist says on the album’s Bandcamp page, “and at the very least I hope it makes you want to dance.” I can report that at least one of those goals was handily accomplished.