Land of Nod

Inducing the Sleep Sphere

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The Land of Nod's abilities at creating varied, entrancing takes on shadowy psychedelia and reflective instrumentals are again in evidence on Inducing the Sleep Sphere; in combination with the Archive collection, it's a sign that they're probably the jewel in the Ochre label's crown. That the album so easily steers clear of a formula is one of its best attributes, especially in spacing out the more straight-up rockers with the zone-outs -- that the motorik chug of "Radiate" crops up almost halfway through the album is no accident. Listen to the way that "A Sequence of Speed," which has a faster, half-surfy rhythm set against stretched-out digital delay feedback, gets just the right contrast with the acoustic guitar-led "Close to Conscious," one of many apt song titles. There's also an air of understated aspiration about many of the band's songs, a reaching beyond to a wordless, higher state of grace that's incredibly attractive (especially in comparison to the limited bombast of bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Sigur Rós). "Half Light" lives up to its name perfectly, a slow-rising of sound as luminescence, several guitars blending in ringing melody and shoegaze dream over a gentle rhythm. "Le Sommet a Mont Ventoux," in a more stripped-down but as compelling way, suggests not merely a mountaintop, but in the use of distorted vocal samples radio waves shooting around the higher atmosphere. "Change of Mind," with its combination of dark drones and ominous keyboard melody, suggests something else entirely, a threat just on the verge of being launched. A nice touch -- the radio session effort "Eddy," which for all its separate recording provenance easily sounds like it was done with the rest of the album, mixing a crowd chant of the title and a random Frenchman's words with plenty of meditative feedback.

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