Monday 19 April 2021

Dark Ambient Review: The Sleeper's Night Journey

Dark Ambient Review: The Sleeper's Night Journey

Review By Casey Douglass

The Sleeper's Night Journey

The Sleeper's Night Journey is a dark ambient album from The Great Schizm, an album that takes our nocturnal dreams as its theme, depicting all manner of strange vistas with its drone and field-recording-laced soundscapes.

The tracks of The Sleeper's Night Journey seem to loosely fall into two categories: some feature smooth, delicate tones and drones, the others are more field-recording heavy and scenic. The Platform is track two of the album and is a great example of this latter type of track. It opens with the sound of wind and echoing creaks. A low drone emerges, accompanied by a clock-like chiming that is quicker at times than others. I think this is my favourite track, as it creates such a feeling of being high up on a precarious platform, maybe looking down over a stone ruin of some kind. The creaking comes at regular intervals, almost like breath filling wooden lungs. In the second half of the track, echoing impacts sound, like something bouncing off the collapsed stone walls. An atmospheric and ominous track.

Perception Shift is the track that follows. It starts with a growing low drone that vanishes to be replaced by light, almost quirky tones. These tones for me, felt like the reflection of golden sunlight on gently rippling water. The drone and these tones seem to interplay for awhile, but around the midpoint, the track changes to a darker space. A lower drone takes over, distant squeaking and clattering metal can be heard, a roaming buzz roams, and the sound of voices and distant hammering can be heard. The track lightens again towards the end, a light melody knocking out into the darkness. I liked how the feel of each part of the track seemed to tie into the perception shift mentioned in the title, like seeing things anew each time.

An Unexplored Land is another track that I enjoyed. It opens with a warm drone and faintly clattering chimes. It feels airy yet echoey, and later gives the impression of wind or breath. Around the midpoint, a low pulsing howl or animal call can be heard, echoing drips and a roaming hiss of air. Then comes an industrial “trundling” sound. What this track suggested to me, was someone emerging from a cave-like passage and cresting the hill of a shadowy industrial landscape at night. I found it to be a peaceful track, but also another ominous one, making me wonder what might be happening in the darkened factories that still belched white smoke in the moonlit sky.

There are two other tracks that I also wanted to quickly mention. Distant Realms of the Continent is one. Early on in the track, and throughout for that matter, a strange distant shrilling call can be heard. I really enjoyed this element as it felt like some kind of exotic dreamscape full of strange creatures, but at a safe enough distance to be enjoyable. Sunken Civilization is another very atmospheric track, but this time plunging the listener into a bubbling, water-filled space, with drips, drops and at one point, a strange fun-fair type melody. Both tracks were really fun to experience.

The Sleeper's Night Journey is a collection of dark ambient tracks that really embody the strangeness and ethereal nature of dreams. Whether it’s the lullaby-like high tones or the rushing wind of otherworldly vistas, if I had a night of dreaming that followed the impressions that these tracks gave me, I’d wake up a very happy person.

Visit the The Sleeper's Night Journey page on Bandcamp for more information.

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: The Sleeper's Night Journey

Album Artist: The Great Schizm

Label: Cloud Hunter Records

Released: 14 Sept 2014