There is a feeling of new beginnings in the debut album from Sleepsang. The artwork shows an eager young boy standing on the lake’s shore with a stick in his hand, looking curiously into what is front of him, like a traveler. Throughout the album, the samples of water hitting a shore and their musical variations remind of water’s ability to create a new life and its symbolic meaning as a pathway.
Indeed, ‘crossing the waters’ is a motif found frequently in mythology. From Homeric Greece to Biblical Egypt, it signifies a process of transition into the underworld. The phrase ‘eternal memory’ is used in Eastern Orthodox church to pay respect to the dead and pray for soul to enter heaven. The death in the case of this album is not necessarily literal, but a way of denoting a change in a state of being. Sleepsang opens the album with ‘Corruption’, a name that refers to a process of irreversible decay, but is sonically executed to hint at rebirth. Overriding the track’s initial ambience, the beats build up adventurous melodies but quiet down only to resurface in a new place.
A lot of ambient electronic music rests on similar principles due to its roots in drone. The characteristic monophonic sounds and translucent transitions are present throughout the album, but Sleepsang intertwines them with a multitude of details. ‘Submerged Electrical Cables’ is an interesting listen from the other side: lyrical piano and gentle croons transform into double bass and altered, sinister laughs. ‘Immortal Memory’ is build around clock-like ambient glitches in the continuous loop and a sense of urgency. ‘Spindelnät’ (Swedish for spider web) is as intricate as its name, with high-pitched sounds fluttering around its drone core.
Released on Sheffield-based label Interworld, this record confidently stands out among others on its roster with its expressiveness. It utilises a multitude of sounds which playfully highlight each other, as the story develops and gains more depth. Eternal Memory is a beautiful debut and sets a confident ground for more.