Sleepingdog – Polar Life
Leed’s Gizeh Records are fast becoming purveyors of some of the finest, darkest and dreamiest music around. Following up the double whammy of the Glissando and Her Name Is Calla albums comes Dutch songstress Chantal Acda, recording under the banner of Sleepingdog and set to the brooding soundscapes provided by Stars Of The Lid’s Adam Wiltzie.
Piano and vocals are well to the fore but delicate electronic noises permeate throughout, think Tori Amos lost in the dark. Acda’s voice is clear, pure and transfixingly beautiful, it evokes comparison to Lamb’s Louise Rhodes in tone, range and its ability to raise hairs on back of one’s neck.
The record barely reaches a tempo above glacial, but is in no way dull. The captivating and delicate nature of the songs compels the listener to pay attention. Tracks like ‘Your Eyes’, ‘The Sun Sinks In The Sea’ and ‘Sunshine Daylight’ gently draw the listener in to their warm folds, especially the latter with its stunningly affecting combination of gently plucked acoustic guitar and xylophone accompanying a dreamy vocal.
The album closes with a wonderful cover of Sophia’s ‘If Only’ from 1998’s ‘Infinite Circle’ album. Acda takes Robin Proper-Sheppard’s song, already full of introspective intensity, and adds layers of emotion and tension. Spine tingling.
It’s hard to put a label on this music. Is it Dreamy Nu Folk, Folktronica or just singer-songwriting after the finest traditions of Mitchell, Ian, Denny et al? To be honest though, a label isn’t really necessary when the quality of the songs and performance are such as this, just enjoy.
Top Tracks: ‘Sunshine Daylight’, ‘The Sun Sinks In The Sea, ‘Alleys’.
Released 29/09/2008 on Gizeh