Posts Tagged ‘Unprotected Sleep’

Unsounds Records – 1st November 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Andy Moor has been nothing if not prolific over the course of his career, which is now well into its fourth decade, and his collaborations are truly multitudinous. He’s one of those musicians who clearly thrives on this approach to working – as comfortable contributing as steering his own path.

I’ve covered a fair few of his efforts over the last decade and a bit, both here and elsewhere – with my belated introduction in 2011 arriving via his appearance on Anne-James Chaton’s ‘Transfer /2: Princess in a Car’ single release.

Moor’s style is by no means accessible or easy, and is as distant from mainstream as is possible, but it’s highly distinctive, and this is unquestionably a significant part of his appeal, both to listeners and fellow musicians.

For this work, the accompanying notes explain how ‘Christine Abdnelnour and Andy Moor have explored the notion of hypnagogia or ‘unprotected sleep’ to drive their process for this improvised album, delving in their own experience and memories. Unprotected sleep is commonly defined as an altered state of consciousness that occurs beyond the proper or intended time of waking up, not sleeping in your own safe bed, or even sleeping without a blanket. Being slightly out of phase, one is vulnerable, fragile, but the mind is at the same time very fluid, ultra-associative with an extraordinary memory. In their music making Abdelnour (saxophone) and Moor (guitar) explore the possibilities of real and hallucination sounds and ranges that might come with deep dreaming.’

I had never known that this was a term before, but that it exists speaks on multiple levels, and on a personal level. Sleep is one of the most vital of human functions, but also the most neglected. I’m writing this at 11:30 at night after starting work at 6:30 this morning; five hours of sleep disturbed by lengthy anxiety dreams and broken by the occasional nocturnal anxiety attack is standard. I’m by no means alone in my difficult and often antagonistic and troubled relationship with sleep.

On Unprotected Sleep, Christine Abdelnour and Andy Moor soundtrack the traumas of troubled sleep magnificently. Moor’s scratchy guitar is both metronomic and agitatingly atonal, forging an aural representation of the head-nodding fatigue that so often sweeps over while challenged by needling thoughts that prick a way to wakefulness, or otherwise nag at the psyche

The heavy, grating drone of ‘80db is Loud if You’re Snoring’ ret with scraping guitars and squawks and scrapes if feedback before surging amongst the clattering of cans and escalating to a peak that will inevitably collapse. It drones and groans, and ultimately fades out.

On ‘Compartment 5’, the drone reaches an oppressive level, and it’s enriched by a blank, drony thrum. The density grows, as does the intensity, and it reminds me of the hours spent turning over and over, unable to find that right position, unable to get comfortable, and unable to that headspace conducive to settle to rest: instead, everything is an awkward, uncomfortable churn, accompanied by an unsettling sense off impending doom. The ‘Exchanging Oversize Chrome Objects’ brings a head-pounding crashing beat and uncomfortable churn that’s deeply unsettling, and there’s an uneasiness that permeates the album as a whole.

For many, the experience, if not necessarily the specific sounds, will resonate. Unprotected Sleep is a far from relaxing or soothing sonic experience, built on drones and dissonance, lurching atonal wandering guitar parts and inconsistent tempos that butt against low-key but uncomfortable saxophone drones and honks. Enjoyable is not the word, but compelling most certainly is.

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