Sleep, one of Kim Pieters and Peter Stapleton's collaborative efforts, comes up with a fine album in Enfolded in Luxury, assembled from various recordings done between 1997 and 1998. Accompanying the two are violinist Susan Ballard and guitar/"bush" saxophone player Nathan Thompson, with Pieters on bass and vocals and Stapleton handling various things, including the radio. It's not just Flies Inside the Sun with a slightly different lineup, happily -- there's a greater sense, partially due to Thompson's mournful sax playing here and there as well as Pieters' barely audible vocals when they surface, of letting a little more space into the songs, shading murk with sly touches. But certainly there are connections and those who love that band as well as the general appeal of New Zealand's murkier noise scene will have something to investigate here. Stapleton's use of audio sources can be enjoyably disconcerting in the right context -- "Soleil," with its random collage of voices set against a teeth-grinding Ballard violin part -- and at other times adds to the mysterious, echoed flow of the songs. Ballard, if anything, is the standout player on the whole album, ranging from her Middle Eastern-inspired swirls and dives on "Lines of Flight," building to an exquisite, fragile solo, to an subtler addition that still stands out from the rampaging clangor which starts "Bandit Macaw." It soothes the song as a whole, creating a marvelous tension between noise and restraint, though toward the end, admittedly, she's off on a much wilder streak altogether. A couple of tracks don't really go off as well as they should, notably "Geography," which is aggressive improv that feels out of place with the more deliberate style established elsewhere.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett