Sleepingdog
Polar Life


4.5
superb

Review

by SeaAnemone USER (161 Reviews)
January 3rd, 2010 | 94 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is exactly what you want in your head as your eyelids begin to falter and your mind begins to drift... THIS... well this is bliss.

My favorite time to ponder life is right before I go to sleep. I wouldn’t describe it as full-on meditating, but I love tracking down some suitable music, grabbing my brand new headphones (Sennheisers for Christmas, what else?), and just concentrating on what comes to mind. Albums- usually post-rock - have come and gone as my staple listening material for this crucial point of my day. Lift Your Skinny Fists, Enjoy Eternal Bliss, Spiderland, and The Glow Pt. 2 have all graced the top ranks of these “near-sleeping albums” with their presence. I wish I could tell you that Polar Life is just as amazing no matter when it penetrates your cranium; but for me, it’s not. Because of its intrinsically pleasing nature and the eeriness about Sleepingdog’s Polar Life, I’ve found it to be extremely suitable for this particular facet of my life.

Sleepingdog achieves a rare quality throughout Polar Life- making a very slow-paced and calming record while maintaining the same level of absorption. Instead of extravagance and production being the vessel that allows Chantel Acda a pathway to utter serenity, Polar Life subscribes to a sense of purity and simplicity. The album in its entirety feels untainted and it allows Acda to sing (with her slight Belgian accent) songs that create a wide, clear soundscape- as pure as snow. While acceding to this particular order, the absolute chillness on Polar Life is achieved predominately through two different methods:

First is the simplistic ambience of pianos and drone created skillfully by Adam Wiltzie (better known of his Stars of the Lid fame). The melodies are superb; very soft and fragile, as to not ruffle any feathers. They create a lull, a valley of empty space for Chantel Acda to spill her austere voice. The notes are very sparse and they create a dessert-like musical landscape - much like Iceland, where Polar Life was recorded and influenced greatly by. Sleepingdog’s particular take on folk music is beautiful The defining quality is particularly the subtleties at work behind the vocals- the rich string arrangements, the repetitive pianos, and soft electronics, namely. Together, they create a tranquil atmosphere that perfectly complements the voice that graces Polar Life.

Perhaps it’s because of her soft, soothing voice, or maybe it’s every phrase she utters sends a little chill down my spine, but there’s something special about Acda’s alluring vocals. It’s unique, definitely, and even though it always feels like Acda is holding back the true power of her cute and subdued singing, it’s very gratifying. Her simple imagery in “The Sun Sinks the Sea” is elegant even when her voice wavers on the longer notes. Whether she’s describing a walk down a snowy street or tales of lost love, I’m entranced. Drifting off to sleep becomes all the better experience with an enhancing supplement like Polar Life. Sleepingdog, through entrancing and minimalistic methods, create a serenity and pensiveness that could make a hyper-active 12 year-old sit down and ponder the meaning of life. The absolute pinnacle of this sublimity comes at the cessation of Polar Life. “If Only” is a testament to the beauty and power of simplicity. Every song is enjoyable in its own right; but because of the interconnectedness of the instrumentals and the overlapping themes.

So try it out- turn off the lights, clear you mind, find your nicest headphones and listen to Sleepingdog inhabit your inner ear with Acda’s mesmerizing and beautiful melodies. As such, Polar Life is a very complete experience. It leaves you with a fulfillment that’s hard to find. As you drift off to sleep after the engrossing Polar Life, it’s difficult to feel discontentment- it just won’t happen. And in my personal, humble opinion, I feel like that’s the mark of a truly superb album- something so affecting it doesn’t leave you after you’re done listening to it. So don’t be surprised if you wake the next morning to wisps of dreams of a snowy plane, or the remnants of an entrancing voice still fresh in your mind.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
January 4th 2010


21429 Comments


Garsh darn kids and their superb indie records

ps - this is very highly rec.s, ESPECIALLY if you enjoyed any of the rec'd by reviewer over there

YouAreMySilence
January 4th 2010


3726 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yes! Probably in my top 10 maybe even in my top 5 in terms of favorite record of all time. Pos'd obviously, check out Azure Ray's Burn And Shiver for those who like this.

SeaAnemone
January 4th 2010


21429 Comments


cool, thanks for the encouragement... will do. I realized when I was looking for similar albums that I don't have nearly as much stuff like this as I want

PayneTiger777
January 4th 2010


4512 Comments


I'm gonna listen to this and I'm gonna like it. Pos'd.

YouAreMySilence
January 4th 2010


3726 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I still don't ahah. The only artists I can really think of are Glissando and Azure Ray. But there is only one problem I have with this review, no mention of how Your Eyes is one of the most beautiful songs ever.

SeaAnemone
January 4th 2010


21429 Comments


ah I know- I really debated whether I wanted to go into individual songs but I felt like it would've ended up much too lengthy
with another wieldy paragraph. And Your Eyes was probly my 2nd fav. after "If Only"

and yes, PayneTiger, yes you will

YouAreMySilence
January 4th 2010


3726 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yah that's kind why I couldn't do a review for this, I wasn't sure how to explain how amazing this record is. And yah If Only definatly takes second spot.

Prophet178
January 4th 2010


6397 Comments


Ha this finally has a review, nice.

I'm glad you went with the sleep point, that's pretty much what it's used best for.

SeaAnemone
January 4th 2010


21429 Comments


Yeah, i thought it was kinda obvious- but it works too well

joshuatree
Emeritus
January 4th 2010


3742 Comments


haven't heard this but if a stars of the lid guy is involved it seems that i need to

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
January 4th 2010


870 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

first track is just incredible, nothing else quite touches it but amazing album nonetheless

timbo8
January 4th 2010


630 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Never could get into this. Acda's vocals feel too overproduced and cold to me.

SeaAnemone
January 4th 2010


21429 Comments


ahhh so YOU are the outlier haha

Observer
Emeritus
January 4th 2010


8562 Comments


Good review.

I've been recommended this several times but always assumed it had a review.

Digging: Monobody - Raytracing

timbo8
January 4th 2010


630 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It is I!

Skimaskcheck
January 4th 2010


2364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ahh sweet, this finally got a review!



I think most of us can thank YAMS for this album haha.

zeppelinUSA
January 4th 2010


299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is just amazing. Credits to youaremysilence for my finding of this

cirq
January 4th 2010


9354 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Brandon rec'd this to me.. Still can't find it

Skimaskcheck
January 4th 2010


2364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Try Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers, cirq, it's on there.

cirq
January 4th 2010


9354 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Grassyass



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