By: Daniela Patrizi
Arms and Sleepers | website | facebook | twitter | soundcloud |
Released on October 28, 2014 via Fake Chapter Records
Here is another wonderful record from my favorite electronic duo called Swim Team. This latest Arms and Sleepers release is full of songscapes with glorious intricate melodies and upbeat rhythms.
If you don’t know who or what Arms and Sleepers is, then I have no idea how you got here but you are more than welcome and I’ll bring you in the Arms and Sleepers’s world. Arms and Sleepers is a duo consisting of Max Lewis and Mirza Ramic that play many music genres, from trip-hop to ambient, from electro-pop to electronic and downbeat. Their sound is a unique blend of all these styles and they manage to deliver the best sounds from each of them. The productivity of the duo is quite impressive – 18 releases between albums and EPs from 2006, collaborations with several artists (Tom Brosseau of Fat Cat Records, Philip Jamieson of Caspian, Ben Shepard of Uzi & Ari) and a lot of remixes (Caspian, Helios, Ef, Tape Deck Mountain, and others) – and luckily the hiatus they announced in 2012 lasted only few months.
The Boston-based duo is now back with a long awaited album and listening to Swim Team is a pleasure for my ears and for my heart. Swim Team ‘s sound is an ocean of lush melodies, pitch-shifted vocal samples, ghostly choirs, warm melodies driven by dense and relaxing beatwork combinations between downtempo and wonky beats. Arms and Sleepers are famous for their very organic and warm sound that often creates melancholic, and at times nostalgic atmospheres – The Organ Hearts is a clear example of it. On Swim Team Arms and Sleepers continues to play around with warped effects of stretched magnetic tape, light sprinkled beats, ghostly melodies and echoes of distant voices but the new album marks a change in style of the band.
Films have always been very inspiring for Max and Mirza and Swim Team has very much been inspired by the TV show Miami Vice and by J. Dilla, becoming one of the most dynamic albums of the band. Despite its relatively short length – approximately 35 minutes – the eleven movements that compose Swim Team provide a wide range of sounds perfectly combined to deliver lush textures, complex beats, and subtle harmonies that sometimes make me think of Sun Glitters, other times of Gold Panda, or Tycho.
The album’s opening track, ‘Unbound’, is a perfect example of glitch pop whilst the gorgeous title track, ‘Swim Team’, has a celestial, trip-hop rhythm.
What makes Swim Team a great release from Arms and Sleepers is how it hits listeners on a subtle, almost subconscious level. You’ll easily find yourself dancing its rhythm even once the album is ended.
The elegant track ‘Forever Only’ is one of the most emotive songs of the album, as it skates across a canopy of electronic sounds. It’s just too short. Another brilliant song is ‘Nobody More Than You’, a piece of sparkling music that sounds like it is being caressed by waves. Likewise, a track that will bring listeners closer to the nostalgic realm of Arms and Sleepers’ warm, sensual mood is ‘Hurry Slowly’, whose ambient tones make it my favorite track from the album.
Swim Team is an album that separates listeners from reality as Max and Mirza create an illusion of dancing on clouds or immersing into the ocean floor. If you are a fan of them you’ll love the way they invented and reinvented themselves. If you are not a fan of Arms and Sleepers, you can’t be my friend!
Swim Team is released by Fake Chapter Records and is available for order in digital, CD and LP formats on the band’s website.
Arms and Sleepers are again on tour to support the album release. you can see the tour dates here