Peruvian Sleep

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I Thought I Had It All Together (2014), 5/10
All My Friends Eat Cereal in the Parking Lot (2014), 6/10
I'll Tell You Later (2014), 7/10
Folk (2014), 6.5/10
Charnock Rd (2015), 6/10
Reminders Are Everywhere (2015), 7/10
12 Hours (2015), 6.5/10

Los Angeles' ensemble Peruvian Sleep featured a multitude of amateur musicians on heavily fragmented albums of deconstructed folk and country music. The highlight of the 17-song I Thought I Had It All Together (2014) is the dissonant chamber country music for strings Mulholland. The longer eight-minute Student and nine-minute Pine are spoken-word pieces with free-form accompaniment. The rest is a series of unfinished ideas.

The 72-minute 16-song All My Friends Eat Cereal in the Parking Lot (2014) opens with the abstract ten-minute soundscape She Smelled Like Trees built around a simple folkish guitar pattern. Songs like Cellular Despiration and Stance of Noir are deliberately amateurish, and A Major Sentimental Shit is a demented cover of La Bamba. The ten-minute Experimental Door Walkers is a promising jazz jam until the singers, or, better, talkers, take over. Free-jazz however percolates into the inconclusive and incohesive eight-minute jam Makor Wasu. But the point clearly is not to play professionally. The point is to play whatever comes to mind.

I'll Tell You Later (2014) switched decisively to the format of long pieces. Hence the tumultuous psychedelic rave-up Stop Menage (17:41), the sinister and exotic shuffle Mandible Canyon (9:22) the childish country & western excursion The Sticky Body (11:27), the tribal Riptide Suite (9:02), with jazz clarinet and apocalyptic ending, etc. Some of this anti-music is just non-music but several of their delirious post-psychedelic explorations are delightfully otherworldly.

The 78-minute eleven-song Folk (2014) is another sprawling album that contains both eccentric flights of imagination and self-indulgent doodling. The Beefheart-ian pow-wow dance Lawsuit Lunch Is Over is cute but brief. The nine-minute blue-jazz jam College stops halfway and then gets lost. On the other hand, the cartoonish neoclassical music Counting Sleep (13:30) transitions to ragtime in a creative manner. Glivtrust (8:33) returns to the neoclassical theme. The Flask Whence the Rain Doth Cometh (8:08), which intones a moribund march around more or less random piano notes and then destroys it methodically, is the standout.

The EP Third Page (2014), which streamlines a bit their manner, contains the Captain Beefheart-ian blues jam The Butcher (7:49) and the chaotic and spastic The Ship (12:44).

Charnock Rd (2015), surprisingly limited to six lengthy pieces, boasts the eleven-minute On Charnock Road (11:20), whose noisy eruption quiets down in somnolent drones, and the pulsating nine-minute jazz-rock jam Conner, with adequate explosive finale. Other pieces, like the ten-minute Alone in the Doorway Digging the Street are inconclusive as usual.

The 106-minute 14-song Reminders Are Everywhere (2015) begins with a sort of "om", But It Is Incomplete, which seems like a declaration of intent. Although it may sound like an oxymoron, the album features much more cohesive free-form jams , like the ten-minute Mystery Meat and the eleven-minute Voina, dreamy and hallucinated soundscapes that evoke both remote primitive regions and astral spaces. More down to earth and pastoral, the guitar solo of the 13-minute Moribund evokes John Fahey's "fare forward voyagers". The twelve-minute The Spicy Tree is instead the usual chaotic and childish mess, although more exuberant than ever. The nine-minute Hot Tub Fever opens at frenzied tribal pace but then seems to mock the Rolling Stones and then simply accelerates epileptically. The 16-minute Shapeshifter is a majestically demented mandolin solo with occasional violin counterpoint, a jovial fusion of neoclassical, folk and jazz styles.

Peruvian Sleep's music became increasingly "serious" towards the end, and 12 Hours (2015) was their most austere work yet, only remotely related to the Dada attitude of the beginning. The album was recorded in 12 hours, between 7 in the morning and 7 in the evening. The music has sometimes the feeling of a cinematic soundtrack (the grotesque march of the 15-minute 7:00 AM with its ghostly finale), other times it feels related to the jazz "improvisors" (the polyphonic cacophony of the twelve-minute 8:00 AM), and other times it enters new-age meditation mode (the 15-minute 11:30 AM with gentle chords and droning vocals). There are also hints of folk dances in the twelve-minute 1:00 PM and the twelve-minute 6:00 PM.

They still released Two Years Ago Was Better Last Year (2016), which collects leftovers from the early days, Ultra Intelligentsia (2016), which collects leftovers from the sessions of Reminders Are Everywhere, and Yolk (2016), which collects leftovers from the sessions of Folk and Charnock Rd.

Mud Hen's Itís Still That Way (2023) featured Matthew An and Jackson Spargur of Peruvian Sleep besides Vigilance Brandon and Charlie Smith.

(Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )