AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Sonologyst – A Dream Inside a Dream (2015; Unexplained Sounds Group)

Continuing our exploration of Sonologyst’s back catalog, A Dream Inside a Dream is a 2015 effort. This one consists of understated and quiet electronics and drones with a heavy emphasis on electric guitar. Percussion and voices also play a role on individual tracks over its 50+ minute span. Note that this recording was reissued in 2016 with two additional tracks.

But what sets A Dream Inside a Dream apart is how the guitar is incorporated. For the most part, it is undistorted and played using extended techniques. These are low enough in the mix not to dominate, and serve more of a rhythmic rather than melodic purpose. The result is the plucking, picking, and popping of individual notes and note patterns (with processing of course). In conjunction with long-held synth chords and percussive effects, this produces a wistful and plaintive set of atmospherics.

Harmonics in a lucid dreaming brain is an excellent example of this, and includes sparse percussion from Massimo Discepoli. In contrast, Beyond the Veil begins with tuned percussion, but rapidly integrates deep, dark drones with harsher textures, as well as throat singing and other vocalizations from Lorenzo Gasparella. The title track is split over two non-contiguous segments, each exhibiting even more electroacoustic experimentalism than most of the other pieces. The second part, in particular, includes a multitude of found-object sounds and manipulations, in addition to subtle yet suffocating drones. Slow frost – A mental recognition into the past is also quite exploratory with processed guitar and passages of static.

A Dream Inside a Dream is inspired by a quote from J. L. Borges describing a layering of dreams that also inspired movies like Inception and The Matrix. Thus, what we have on this album is a detailed sonic exploration of landscapes so alien that they span the waking, sleeping, and hypnogogic worlds. Very well done.