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iTunes Review

The sounds and scenarios on Carmen Villain’s debut album, Sleeper, are enough to jar you awake and make your head swim. Villain seems far more interested in peeling back the layers of her troubled psyche than reveling in beautiful surfaces. On Sleeper, she walks through dense sonic atmospheres that bring to mind The Sun City Girls’ bracing clatter and This Heat’s ominous constructions. Her lyrics convey a sense of fear, desire, and dislocation that’s both seductive and disturbing. “Lifeissin” sets the album's tone as Villain caresses her venom-etched words against severe synths and tingling percussion. “Dreamo” and “Easy” are even scarier, bathing their eerie transgressions in metallic echoes and quivers. At the furthest extreme is “Made a Shell,” a lysergic interior journey embellished with swirling vocals and squalling guitars. Villain shifts to upbeat (though still abrasive) pop for “Kingwoman” and ends on a morbidly erotic note with “Demon Lover.” With production input from Emil Nikolaisan (Serena Maneesh) and Prins Thomas, Sleeper is a sustained aural hallucination by a true mistress of dangerous dreams.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '10s

The project of half-Norwegian, half-Mexican singer/songwriter Carmen Hillestad, Carmen Villain makes ethereal yet challenging music that boasts an eclectic array of influences ranging from Sun City Girls and Sonic Youth to Broadcast and This Heat. Also a model who has graced the cover of Vogue, among other assignments, Hillestad penned the lyrics to her songs in years' worth of notebooks, inspired by writers such as Charles Bukowski and Mikhail Bulgakov. Meanwhile, she had also been playing with...
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Sleeper, Carmen Villain
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