Eerie, evocative ambient inspired by autumn and winter that is at once isolating and beautiful.
Musing on nature and the seasons, Rix-Martin crafts a lush ambient album, reigning in her previous footwork experiments in favor of something more classical. There are romantic violins ("Sleepmoss"), stormy drum rolls ("Meadhead") and fluttering woodwinds ("Murmur"), often paired with samples of wind, rain and bird calls. While this makes for a soft and mystical sense of atmosphere, Sleepmoss's distinguishing feature is the sinister feeling lurking underneath. Each track tends to decay over its runtime, like artefacts left out in the elements, starting out with a billowing or glowing quality, and then ending up discordant and haunting. The sound design, too, has a sense of wryness. Soothing as it, there's generally something unsettling within—the ghostly animal squeals on "Night Rain," the tinnitus-like ringing on "Amethyst Deceiver." "Windross," with its muddy distortion, sounds like a chorus of angels drowned in a bog.
These moods and textures make Sleepmoss Rix-Martin's most evocative record to date. Her ethereal woodland is easy to conjure, as are her feelings towards settling into winter's darkness. It can be isolating and beautiful at once. While this LP is a promising development from a producer whose past records have chased difficult, abstract ideas, Sleepmoss stops short of delivering a certain kind of fresh voice. In the lead up to this album, Rix-Martin released a FACT mix, where a handful of her tracks, new and old, sat alongside contemporaries like Puce Mary, Caterina Barbieri and the Objects Limited artist RUI HO. Music from these women make up the mix’s stylistic and emotional highlights. Rix-Martin's productions felt less weighty, merely shading the spaces in between. Still, they're essential to floating the artist's wider vision, the dark dream world Sleepmoss also evokes.