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Wake:Sleep

A Lily

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Album Review

It's an appropriately titled album for this one-man band (real name James Vella, also a member of Yndi Halda) — Wake: Sleep does capture a combination of energy and lassitude as a phrase, and musically A Lily's debut album is an at times inspired blend of various strands of ambient and contemplative music, from Brian Eno's original experiments to the epic gentility of groups like M83 and quieter Rock Action-era Mogwai. The chimes, slow beats and reversed guitar on the opening "I Am to You" suggests the latter in particular, but Wake: Sleep's mixing and matching through many styles creates something in its own world. Thus the children's voices, chopped up and tweaked with glitch effects, on "Lights Shone Brighter, My Delicate Sun Is My Sparklin' Sun," calls to mind efforts by Biosphere and Boards of Canada while the music in general continues in the chilled vein of the opening track. Elsewhere there are hints of Eno's peerless work from Apollo with the awesome beauty of "The Sleepers" (mixed with gentle acoustic guitar) and the dark "isolationist" style of the mid-'90s on the drones of "Aeriels Quiet and Death-Defying." An intriguing touch lies in song-length — the first seven songs collectively are the same length as the final one, a half-hour long bliss-out called "The Shipwreck" which is actually worth its entire length, thanks to the hypnotic elegance of the end result. Brief singing cameos add more to this promising work, and if A Lily is still clearly in debt to many sources, there's already much to build on for the future.

Wake:Sleep, A Lily
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