Arms and Sleepers – Matador

Arms and Sleepers - Matador

Arms and Sleepers is the New England, electronic avant-garde duo of Max Lewis and Mirza Ramic. Matador is their intriguing new album that sees them exploring new musical avenues by including more vocals and guest musicians with a broader assortment of instruments.

The result is a cinematic fusion of electronic, classical and acoustic music that incorporates gently rolling drums, glitchy beats and delicate piano passages into a surreal sonic mixture that is not easily classifiable but could fit somewhere between the atmospherically dark trip-hop of Portishead and the gorgeously sublime and meditative orchestrations of The Album Leaf.

Musically as dark, but perhaps not as smoky and certainly not as ostentatious as Portishead, Arms and Sleepers effectively weave piano, guitar, and strings with experimental electronica and slumberous timbres to create shadowy soundtracks to mysterious worlds. Fortunately though, the songs are bathed in a wash of delicate electronic soundscapes and loping, scratchy rhythms as warm melodies percolate through the mix. It’s similar in style to Boards Of Canada and is easy on the ears while captivating the listeners with a seductive charm.

The vocals help establish moods and range from hazy and nondescript male singing to angelic and dreamy female cooing, as the band does not have an established singer. While the nondescript male singing neither adds nor detracts from the music, the angelic and dreamy female cooing greatly enhances the proceedings with tranquilizing and ethereal atmospherics.

The multi-textured electronic soundscapes on Matador are tuneful and entertaining but are more suited for early morning or late-night listening with a sonic ambience that at times is soothing and shimmering, but can also be both disquieting and peaceful, but ultimately is an auditory adventure worth taking.

Recommended If You Like (RIYL): Boards Of Canada, Aus, Marvin Ayers, Portishead, The Album Leaf and Labradford