Sleep Fever (Panospira)
Ambient sound collagist prOphecy sun’s 2012 set Bird Curious featured a song she recorded as she rode her bike through the city, but her latest album Sleep Fever is leery of sudden movements. While featuring the same kinds of airy aural patchworks as her older LPs, sun’s fourth full-length in as many years is cloaked in claustrophobic paranoia. “Trapped” seems to be the most obvious argument for this, being strung together with corrosively eerie schoolyard chants about being buried underground. Trust issues also abound, as opener “Fall Down” has low-key but cautionary vocal loops insisting we not take a tumble, for “who will pick you up?” The 20-minute set features a few tender reprieves like “Follow Me”, whose soprano layering channels Léo Delibes’s gorgeous “Flower Duet” from Lakmé as much as it does contemporary vocal manipulator Julianna Barwick, but otherwise this is sun at her most distressed. Hell, “Killing Game” might unfurl in angel-hair wisps but it commands the extinction of “anything that moves”.
The recording process behind Sleep Fever had sun laying down tracks in one take while completely cocooned indoors for a three-day stretch, suggesting Cabin Fever could act as an alternate title for this satisfyingly challenging and nightmarish collection from the increasingly prolific performer.