ant'lrd: Sleep Drive
Whited Sepulchre

Issued in a sparkling, clear vinyl edition (the acquisition of which is supplemented by a split cassette with braeyden jae), Sleep Drive is the latest collection of synth-encrusted drones and beats from Portland-based Colin Blanton aka ant'lrd. What we've got here are three long-form tracks birthed into being using op-1, samplers, magnetic tape, percussives, and pedals. Mastered by Odd Nosdam (cLOUDDEAD, anticon), the release comfortably fits the twelve-inch format, with two pieces splitting a side and the other occupying the full twenty-minute sprawl of the other.

Though you might be tempted to check the RPM setting on your turntable when “Hood” initially crawls into view, don't touch the dial: Blanton's purposefully set the tempo to curdle in order, one presumes, to better maximize the hypnotic effect of its grinding pulse. For eleven minutes, slow-motion waterfalls of grime-coated synthesizers cascade alongside a lurching drum pattern, while opaque, rippling waves of distortion extend themselves in all directions. “Kasuisai,” by comparison, kicks up its heels at what at first feels like a rave tempo, though that's only because “Hood” is so slow. On the second track, Blanton opts for a slightly less fuzzy presentation, though there's still plenty of grime to go around, and with wiry synth patterns declaiming more clearly than before, the material begins to give off a potent psychedelic quality.

With twenty minutes at its disposal, “Msdass” can afford to take its time, which it does by giving its opening minutes to an oceanic swirl of ambient washes and dub-wise textures. Pulsations gradually extract themselves from the murky undertow and contest the ambient mass for supremacy until a harmonious balance is struck between them. Ultimately, the pulsations recede, allowing the swirl to reassert its dominance and ease the listener out on a wave of blissed-out calm.

September 2016