Jan 2020 13

Album CoverChris Connelly
Album: Sleeping Partner
Category: Experimental / Noise / Rock
Label: Armalyte Industries
Release Date: 2019-11-11


Following one year to the day after the Bloodhounds album, Chris Connelly maintains his prolific pace with Sleeping Partner. But where Bloodhounds was a different exhibit in the same museum as the preceding The Tide Strapped Bare, Sleeping Partner is almost a completely different building, more akin to walking through the artist’s studio where one can obtain a glimpse of the process of creation. Unlike past homages to late ‘60s and early ‘70s art rock, this album proceeds in a grander stream of consciousness – the tracks are allowed to breathe, moving almost languidly through the audio haze of psychedelic noise, where melodies and chord progressions become a secondary consideration. Oh, they are present in the form of jangly strums of acoustic guitar, glassy trickles of piano, and symphonic string pads that hover above the myriad of discordant noise; moments like “Picassa,” “Obsession Stares Back,” and “The Belonging” present some rather pleasant tunes as Connelly’s lyrical wordplay covers a multitude of vocal ranges, but it’s always set to a backdrop of unyielding distortion, like chainsaw’s mauling a forest as the titters and squeals of synth evoke the wildlife passively joining in the assault on the listener’s senses. The eeriness and atonality of “The Black Hive” and “Maria Imbrium” is disconcerting but darkly fascinating, like being immersed in a nonsensical dream. Even the 10-minute-long “Young Magician” manages to ensnare you as the intermittent pulses of bass and noisy voices enter like a radio transmission fighting to be heard as Connelly both speaks and wails amid a sublime chord progression; it’s all quite nebulous for the first few listens, as if the artist is challenging the audience to find the music within the miasma. It’s not really until the final three tracks that those with a taste for the man’s more rock-oriented output will be comforted, both by the rocking remixes for “The Sun Is a Maze” and “Picassa” by The Joy Thieves’ Dan Milligan, and the last song proper; “L.W.W.” is an almost criminally short jaunt of bluesy distorted guitar and Connelly’s vocals, the song sounding almost like Lou Reed warming up before a recording session, unaware the tape was rolling as the chorus-drenched feedback creates as much atmosphere as all the synths on the album combined. Each track on Sleeping Partner weaves an almost impenetrable path of sonic discovery, each track a series of engaging movements punctuated by Connelly’s songwriting and esoteric lyricism, his words and his voice like a ghostly presence that mirrors the listener’s tension while also exasperating it.
Track list:

  1. Maria Imbrium
  2. Picassa
  3. The Sun Is a Maze
  4. Obsession Stares Back
  5. Private Screening
  6. The Belonging
  7. Young Magician
  8. The Black Hive
  9. L.W.W.
  10. Picassa [Fantoma Tranquile Remix by Dan Milligan]
  11. The Sun Is a Maze [M-Descent Remix by Dan Milligan]

Chris Connelly
Website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Bandcamp
Armalyte Industries
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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