Review of Sleeping Pills [12k1054]

Coke Machine (.COM)

Don’t do it, René Margraff! Put down the razor and switch off the gas. Things are never as bleak as they seem, particularly when you’re such a dab hand at painting your lovely often-melancholic, post-rock-influenced ambience (© Pillowdiver 2009). Yes, while one part of Berlin applies deluxe IDM to the city’s bustling skyscapes, here’s a German producer who toys with reverb and watery space-rock instead. The debut Pillowdiver LP, Sleeping Pills, is a warm and sensual line-graph showing hikes in Diphenhydramine use, each track named after the quantity of sedatives its writing attempts to mimic. “Twenty-Seven,” then, is the point at which things come to a head: it seems the sleek beats/soft music combo won’t let Margraff’s eyelids settle, the only option left to him being to fog his brain with a hazardous number of caplets. It’s an alarmingly pleasant sensation, a lingering, Cocteau Twins texture, slow like the bombs at the end of Apocalypse Now (1979) and a somewhat idyllic realization of what such a dangerous ingestion would provoke. In real life, sleep would be out of the question: taking between ten and thirty-five 50mg keeps you awake, livid, and zombified, making you imagine transparent fleas have infested every corner of your room. No room for any sparking Morricone guitar and drone sunrise there, of course, but fleas don’t make for good listening. This does, and very good. Best mixed with vodka, worldly goods, and a made-up map to a treasure chest.

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