Review Summary: Providing the perfect soundtrack for the changing seasons, Arms and Sleepers craft an exquisite and delightful EP that says so much without actually saying anything at all
It's been two years since Arms and Sleepers' Matador
lazily crept across our subconscious with its laconic daydream philosophies and sunlight-tinged ambiance. Two years spent honing their craft, bolstering their trip hop tendencies and post rock-like buildups with seasonal tinges of minimal melancholy and emotively tender excursions through earthy piano tones and delicate winter-like romanticism. Nostalgia For The Absolute
represents the first release under this new guise of Arms And Sleepers, the first of several planned EPs that will ultimately culminate in their third official full length to be released in the coming months. And while the duo (sometimes trio) have always been adept at crafting pieces of incredible intimacy, here they are a little more immediate at the task. No longer hiding behind glitchy beats and standard trip hop percussion, this new ghost-like disappearance of a beat has allowed a new breathless and swirling nature to take hold in their music. There's an almost unspoken excitement to be found in this new sound, a kind of hopeful yearning hidden in the wordless darkness. Like a silent anticipation waiting to explode, but quickly snuffed out before the inevitable release.
Which of course, has something to do with the run time of each song. Strictly an EP, each track ranges only between a minute and a half up to roughly three minutes. As a result, the EP seemingly races through various motifs and identities, constantly shrouded in mystery yet still effortlessly changing before our eyes. Whereas opener 'Crash' slowly works its charms through yearning and haunting piano notes, 'Lisbon' stumbles along under the click-clack of an idm beat caught in mid-step. Or how 'Nova' bites with its cinematic flourishes and orchestra-like live tension, and 'Lovers Arctic' finds its anchor of somber keys attacked by the knife like sharpness of trembling violin interruptions. There's a sense of wonderment to be had within the short run time, like the glimpse through a window to a world changing before your eyes, everything happening in a sped up fashion akin to that notion of a world passing you by. Every song (or should that be thought) plays out like time lapse photography, like 'Clayton' and its frantic acoustic guitar finger picking providing the non-visual idea of a nature in its inevitable seasonal destructive mode.
Nostalgia For The Absolute
is music for a transformation; be it the change from water to ice, or to watch a sand castle disappear in the blink of an eye, it's the sound of a landscape in motion. Wordless yet still breathless, the EP is an observer of a world within reach yet still so shrouded in mystery and not-so-subtle delight. And while these tracks may only be a teaser, with their full run time still to be revealed, the sharpness with which they arrive and for the brief period of time they remain, they do the almost unthinkable task of somehow evoking an incredible sense of isolation while seemingly providing a certain kind of warmth and comfort with them; an almost intoxicating kind of catharsis in a way, at peace with its loneliness and disparity. Beach music for the dead of night.