Medlar – Sleep
A recent purchase that I’ve been meaning to post up about here on Irregular Crates is the outstanding debut album ‘Sleep’ by Medlar. It is available as a limited edition gatefold vinyl LP, still in stock at Juno.
Medlar’s work has been exclusive to Wolf Music Recordings thus far and last year’s ‘Wolf EP 016’ was a real highlight. Medlar’s approach to House music production is unmistakable, favouring vintage samples and recordings from old soul, jazz and funk records. If there are similarities to other artists, then you’d give a nod to Theo Parrish or Moodymann and I can also trace an influence from Madlib’s Shades Of Blue. However, Medlar’s intelligent programming here in ‘Sleep’ is something special an truly unique.
Opening with a beatless intro, as all good House albums should – the scene is set. Sleep blends smoothly as a listening experience and in that sense, it tells a story with a flowing natural progression. ‘Lines’ pits some seriously deep keys (reminding of ‘Govern’ from his Wolf EP) with saxophone, field recordings and slow beats. ‘The Escape’ injects a more upbeat feeling into the record with its looping piano. ‘1516’ hints ever so slightly at Hip Hop and from here, I get the Madlib influence coming in again – but Medlar is more of a House producer and this gives this work a whole new dimension. ‘Tides’ open with a field recording of seagulls and some vintage keys crackling before the infectious groove kicks in, complete with raw bass and chopped strings. ‘Tap Spring’ is one of my personal favourite tracks – using an unconfirmed soul singer sample to ride atop a deep and dreamy groove. It is all too short, but part of the album’s lure.
‘Listen’ gives a different feel altogether to ‘Sleep’, with chimes, bells and exotic percussion. ‘Blues’ is beautiful deep piano chords and electronic bass joined by field recordings, glitched vocals and atmospherics. ‘Nov Dub’ is more of a vintage, woozy synth affair, hinting at old school Ambient music – easily the sleepiest piece on the album. This excellent record draws to a close with another personal favourite – ‘Be There’. It opens on that vintage Ambient note with beautiful strings before the percussive House beats take over.
All in all, Sleep is one of the most exciting releases of the year in my books – thanks in part to the beautifully designed if a little confusing packaging but moreover, down to the way this extremely talented producer has crafted his debut record. There is so much detail to get to grips with – many of the tracks change tact towards the end, as a completely unrelated passage of music vies for the limelight. I’m sure that anyone who has or will purchase ‘Sleep’ will treasure the record.
Click the image above or HERE to stream/buy the release