DASK: Hope of the Sleeper (2020)
“An unexpected tale about dreams and awekening, DASK goes beyond limits that even Parallel Worlds has never set foot!”
1 Hope of the Sleeper 5:28
2 Deep Cryo 2:55
3 Sleep State 4:23
4 Lost in the Dream 4:24
5 Broken Biosphere 3:49
6 Corrupt Biode 5:42
7 The Last Broadcast 5:58
8 Awakening 5:01
9 Flower for the Sleeper 4:49
10 The Lonely Traveller 3:41
11 Hope of the Traveller 4:28
12 Rose for the Traveller 1:52
A year after Elemental, DASK gets back to us with a different album, very different took the trouble to insist David Marsh. HOPE OF THE SLEEPER is an album he started writing a few years ago. His inspiration came from a possible soundtrack about a dystopian fictional character in a movie. And when he was done, he found out that the music was more like an awakening process. And he hopes to convey this perception to those who will listen to this album where even Parallel Worlds has never set foot!
The title-track is a good invitation with its very theatrical opening. The music marries a demonic lento to which is grafted a heavy orchestration a bit mephistophelic. A piano radiates with a melodious vision that orchestrations make rather gloomy. A strange sound choreography settles in a phase where the harmonies and the rhythm of the orchestrations become exhilarating. Never, the other side of a mirror would have been so beautiful! Deep Cryo invites us to relax with rubbery pads and chords that embrace a vision of ambient Electronica. A nice psybient! Our subconscious begins to slide with Sleep State. But still, this last work of DASK resonates well in a concept which is rather familiar to us. Things are going to change in HOPE OF THE SLEEPER and it starts with Lost in the Dream which depicts with reality these dreams where different doors open to our subconscious which smells the darkness among paralyzing shards. Always without rhythms, we are supposedly sleeping, Broken Biosphere offers a sound universe of the most boeotian. We are at the frontiers where sound distorts and stretches its suffering collected in distorted field recordings. Ditto for the appalling opening of Corrupt Biode where a crawling being gurgles with hunger at the mere sight of our fear. We hear screams and electronic effects that feed this astonishing complicity that we can have with fear. If the first part is heavy with iconoclastic sensations, the second half of Corrupt Biode is more illuminated but still inhabited by this coarse gurgling character of a long human centipede. Wooshhs, primary and secondary, run alongside the drone snores in the opening of The Last Broadcast. The rain, pouring down, and these drones put images of Blade Runner 2049 in our brains. Bright, sibylline and radiant with its nitescente beauty, this wild shower turns into an intense hum of metallic screeching. It amplifies so high that I had to turn down the volume in order to keep it tamable. A short obligatory passage for a usual sequel and a finale full of beeps and electronic distortions.
Awakening brings us to the other side of HOPE OF THE SLEEPER where sounds still don't unite, and where we feel the music needs it. Its overture resonates with its piano notes whose echoes flirt with embryonic sound hoops. Sketches of sounds take on a false appearance of vuvuzelas' trumpets, stigmatizing the processional atmospheres that follow this distant march of the piano. There is an apocalyptic beauty in this title, the first one here, which reconciles us with the enigmatic, noisy and disturbing phases of the 4 titles preceding Awakening. Slowly, Flower for the Sleeper adopts the tangent of Awakening to guide us towards this piano bursting with life which animates the ambiences of The Lonely Traveler. A wave of heavenly voices muddies its melody, like those screeches in The Last Broadcast. Why what is not essential steals some of the most beautiful moments of this album? Because that's what it is to live, I imagine. Speaking of beautiful moment, Hope of the Traveler is certainly the most beautiful one of this musical dystopia masterfully created by DASK. Crumbling its melody lines into a musical canon that we would like to hear hypnotize us for long minutes, this beautiful title guides us to silence, while Rose for the Traveler lets articulate a similar melody in a quavering apathy.
Yes, the second part of HOPE OF THE SLEEPER really saves the skin of an album whose screeching and dissonant ambiences of a 25 minutes' phase almost got the better of my patience. But knowing the creative world of David Marsh, I hoped for better somewhere further down. But not that far.
Sylvain Lupari (January 1st, 2021) ***¾**
Available at DASK Bandcamp