Morthem Vlade Art Slow Wave Sleep: Retrospective 1998-2002

Morthem Vlade Art are hard to categorise. This "best of” retrospective comes on a disc full of crystal clean production values, but what they are exactly or even what their sound is, isn’t quite so clear. In fact, it is as unusually murky as the music is strange. The album opens with "The Rope,” a moody track accentuated by heavily effected, spoken word vocals. Each of the cuts that follow veers off into similar experimentations of noise, electronic music and synthesised sound. At times, the Parisian duo seem like they are suffering from that ’80s displacement syndrome that wracks and haunts many gothic and dark electronic bands. And yet, their complex weavings of noise, with purer and more refined auditory elements, feels entirely new and of their own creation. Slow Wave Sleep is a disc that is haunted by blips and bleeps and odd little sound contortions that seem to spontaneously drift in and out of the musical forefront. The stark mechanical atmosphere is blended with warmer electronics and vocals (often reminiscent of David Bowie’s circa the Outside/Earthling years). While generally upbeat, Morthem Vlade Art also manage some surprisingly bleak and sombre moments within the 14 tracks of this release, like "Antichamber,” which falls only steps short of industrial. So all over the map, Slow Wave Sleep, requires a whole new one drawn for it. Weirdness and pure unbridled creativity are contagious though, and as such, definitely worth spinning for those who enjoy getting their brain spun. (Luminal)