Mostly known for his work with Stars of the Lid, Adam Wiltzie has teamed with singer/songwriter Chantal Acda (one half of True Bypass) to form Sleepingdog. Their collaboration has resulted in With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields, a collection of eight serene and palatial dreamscapes with softly sweet vocals.
Incorporating vocals into ambient dreamscapes can be a tricky business, but Acda’s vocals take nothing away from this CD, being a pleasing and ambient aural experience; in fact acting as narratives to these musical soundtracks, forcing the listener to pay closer attention, and ultimately transforming the ambient pieces into mellow songs. Although with not so much a commanding or piercing voice, as a soothing, noir-folk affectation (think mum or Hello, Blue Roses rather than Bjork or Kate Bush).
Taking cues from Harold Budd, as well as Matthew Cooper’s work as Eluvium, most of these atmospheric pieces start with delicate piano and guitar sounds that are treated and assembled into richly layered sonic wallpaperings. Delicate swells of lush, orchestrated melodies (courtesy of dreamy synth lines) and some well placed, sweetly melancholic strings round out the sound, while delicate piano tinkerings and vocals imbue a bit of playfulness.
The songs unfold with an understated elegance as soothing voices emerge from the colorful, melancholic backgrounds. Ambient drones and spacey synths blossom with shimmering arrangements while the contemplative stylings form a winning combination of radiant sonics and lilting choruses.