Reviewed: Ant’lrd / Bastian Void – Dream Forest Somnambulist [Muzan Editions]

Words on contemporary releases. Seeking to offer an honest description of works which manage to exist in their own space and time.

Ant’lrd / Bastian VoidDream Forest Somnambulist [Muzan Editions]

Dream Forest Somnambulist, released late 2017 on the Japanese Muzan Editions, seems to be the sonic embodiment of the duality of REM sleep: erratic, vivid, yet relaxed and fluid. The Rapid Eye Movement phase in the sleeping pattern of mammals and birds is where most dreams are made; accounts of incomparable feats and unusual behavior. All the while the body remains in a state of relaxation, patterns of heartbeat and breathing going on almost indifferently.

We could go on about praising the output of Muzan Editions, a label operated from the very apt surroundings of Nara, Japan, which happens to be one of the oldest cities in the country. Drenched in a century-old culture with an abundance of Buddhist temples, the calming and meditative music on Muzan Editions could not wish for a better physical context. A physicality which is also represented in its small run of tapes and careful selection of artwork. Minimalism goes hand in hand with purposefulness.

In this split, Ant’lrd presents the micro-acoustic, raw, active sound of falling into a dream with its desynchronized brain waves. A rather specific environment of a dream in a forest surrounding has been chosen, but the music is powerful enough to take your imagination anywhere. Ant’lrds tracks are rather short and can be listened to in any given order, which makes them flexible to use in arrangements. The eponymous track Dream Forest Somnambulist is that perfect example of microtonal electric pangs spoken about in the beginning, which one might envision when asked how dreaming might sound. Recognizable sounds of birds merge in and out with taped field recordings of objects clanging and clapping. Towards the end of this track sounds increasingly overlap in beautiful confusion. As we go deeper into the rabbit hole, Free Forest Somnambulist and Spirit Forest Somnambulist rely heavily on tape loops, a wonderfully lofi, warm sound, especially on the ritualistic oriented Spirit Forest Somnambulist. This track mirrors the later Prcssvs III of III, reminiscent of some Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement on acid. Both have the wicked, schizophrenic sample textures already heard in Dream Forest Somnambulist, a vibe continuing on toward Cirrrca. Slumber Forest Somnambulist brings the trip to a wholesome, calm ending, leaving enough headroom for Bastian Void to interpret the dreamlike state.

Bastian’s Seeing Twos is exactly what complements the previous effort. Stretched out, slow beats matching the pace of a heart, combined with remnants of varying electric pulses create a rich landscape. This track is already more of a mindful trip in itself, partly due to the longer duration of the piece. Before You Knew Me has a thudding, heavy bass leading the listener to shadowy waves of deep nocturnal relaxation. The closing track of the split Garden Level II continues the slower mood, creating a mental image of natural surroundings perfectly fit for full body relaxations.