Published Jan 25, 2017Arms and Sleepers — aka musical duo Max Lewis and Mirza Ramic — have released over 20 albums and EPs over their 10-plus years together. Compared to 2014's stunning Swim Team, whose 11 tracks clock in at a short 35 minutes, their latest, Life Is Everywhere, boasts 18 new tracks and runs just over an hour. As always, their latest employs a stylized blend of trip-hop, downtempo and ambient, but Life Is Everywhere is heavy on the hip-hop side, and pulls in MC Serengeti and Airøspace to take the lead on a handful of tracks. It's not something we hear often from the duo, but it's a reflection of where the two stand at the moment, both personally and musically.
The album was inspired largely by Ramic's experiences working with underprivileged youth through a non-profit in Chicago's South Side, and a reaction to the socioeconomic problems currently plaguing the U.S. Tracks like "Come Down Horizon," "Fall Asleep" and "Hollow Body," featuring Serengeti and Airøspace, add a sombre and defiant tone to the album, a bold juxtaposition with the lighter instrumentals like the scratchy, dream-like current of first single "Time Will Tell." The record is Arms and Sleepers through and through, but with politics brought boldly to the surface. (Fake Chapter Records)