Evan Caminiti - Dreamless Sleep
If you've heard Californian psychedelic act, Barn Owl, you know who Hanging Thief are, and, if you know who Hanging Thief are, you'll know who Evan Caminiti is. With an impressive array of collaborative projects and a young solo calling, Caminiti already has quite the discography. Defined by an attractive, gloomy approach to his native instrument, the guitar, many music courtesans have began citing vast idiosyncrasies. His reverb-drenched style is summed up no better than on his solo record When California Falls Into The Sea from last year. So, on the back of numerous releases, another chapter in his solo career has been written in the form of brand new album Dreamless Sleep.
Album opener 'Leaving The Island' doesn't begin, it assumes; plunging you into a soundscape that wouldn't sound out of place in a Clint Mansell soundtrack. Peculiarly enough, though layered and textured, you can hear each component in its own organic space: an irregular, gripping characteristic when you consider how largely synthetic ambient music has been for the last decade. The first eleven minutes of Dreamless Sleep consist mainly of repetitive passages, which are entertaining and smooth, but third track 'Symmetry' is an early high. Though it picks up relatively similar to where 'Bright Midnight' finishes, there is something heavier and more beautiful about this piece that makes it absolutely outweigh its predecessors. The rolling motifs revolve around arpeggios, eventually working in a lovely harmony with one another and achieving some kind of serenity, this is arguably Caminiti's finest moment yet.
Maybe the simplest way to describe the emotional themes within these pieces would be to imagine the life of a rock left to lie on a river-bed. Though initially concerning and vast, after a short amount of time you realise that you're going to enjoy many similar occurrences and, whilst it's irregular that Caminiti's currents will dislodge and shudder you, there's a certain amount of solace to be found in these tasteful touches of repetition, so you begin to trust the flow - epitomised by the amniotic frequencies and tape-sounds that shroud you throughout 'Absteigend'.
Some movements on Dreamless Sleep quite clearly ostracises some of Evan Caminiti's listeners. When listening to 'Veiled Prayers' I could almost hear a tick-tock in my subconscious and, after three back-to-back encapsulating pieces, it's strange that something of such a similar ilk is unable to capture the same. Whilst moments of oriental tonality made me smile, when pitted against the same stubborn forecast of guitars it unfortunately becomes bereft of a natural flow – when stripped of piano, or synthesiser one of the weaker points of the record always tends to emerge.
The album ends on its strongest track. 'Becoming Pure Light' is both stirring and defined, allowing a natural intensity to establish it with the listener. Introducing the foreign element of piano here really reaps the benefits, ironically giving the guitar more space to manoeuvre. Broken minor chords displaced throughout creates a feeling of bittersweet grandeur, and without trying to fool the listener, develops into an ever-changing wall of sound and completes the record.
Today, music built solely on misty, atmospheric foundations is a rare occurrence. Whilst we were once regularly exposed to minimalist composition rearing its head in the mainstream, over the past decade incidents of this type have become even rarer, but Caminiti might just be the new flag-bearer. When he wants to be, he's unbelievably tranquil, yet if you listen to the root to Dreamless Sleep , you could say it was built on one simple principle; slow progression.Dreamless Sleep has a strong conceptual quality, and that's what makes it open to interpretation, there's nothing special about this release, unfortunately, but an intimacy between music and listener creates a pleasurable experience.