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Black Sleep

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Album Review

Consisting of six songs all sharing the name of the album — and it's one of the most appropriate titles in a long while — Black Sleep is a wonderful, mournful fifth album by Jasper TX, something that is at once a blend of familiar sounds and styles — guitar textures calling to mind acts ranging from the Durutti Column to Roy Montgomery to the Cocteau Twins to any number of shoegazers and neo-psych acts — and its own shadowy, contemplative style. With the stark name and cover design setting the mood to begin with, arguably all the one-man act had to do was simply live up to it, but each of the six songs has its own distinct sound and approach; instead of repeating itself, the album takes on new forms as it progresses. The steady progression of a rhythmic note pattern and distant wailing feedback on the second part bears little resemblance to the crumbling, choppy start to the fourth part or the compressed, deep-anchored drones of the fifth. Hearing the conclusion of the third part in this context — a steady, quietly anthemic chug that sounds almost like an isolated part of a Mogwai song circa Rock Action — is monumental, while the spare, minimal echoes of murk and crackle that help end the album on the sixth part further extend the quietly varied impact of Black Sleep as a whole.

Black Sleep, Jasper TX
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