Reviews Daniel Menche Sleeper

Daniel Menche


With a career spanning for almost three decades, Daniel Menche is a distinguished experimental artist. Implementing abstract themes within a minimal setting, applying noise to build an asphyxiating environment, his music takes on a physical manifestation to the listener. Creating an illusion of claustrophobia and anxiety, taking away the warmth of any safe spaces and leaving all exposed to the elements has been Menche's modus operandi for the majority of his works. 

Following his excellent collaboration with Mamiffer, Menche travels into a different trajectory with with his new record, Sleeper. Instead of bringing to life and creating manifestations of stressful and angst-ridden situations, the focus has shifted towards an ambient record one could fall asleep to. This is the main concept behind Sleeper, and Menche goes to lengths in constructing the appropriate ambiances and motifs in order to complete the task. 

To that end there is a certain duality that comes across. At one side delicate synthesizers appear, resembling the scenery for a dream state, as tracks like “Sleep XI” reveal. Without remaining static, the sounds mutate through time, following an ever-changing, ever-evolving path. A very nice addition to this end is the minimal percussion implemented in the background, very nicely used in “Sleep I” through wind chimes slowly resonating, and in the timbral, ceremonial-like progression of “Sleep VII” which provides a primordial tone. 

That does not mean that Menche has tamed his sound, and the record goes through a plethora of harsher overtones, where the relentless noise comes through. The ending of “Sleep X” is an instance of this tendency, distorting reality with its colorful presence, while in more extreme fashion “Sleep VII” the noise takes its purest form and infects the surrounding soundscapes to their core. But, it is not only the harshness of the sounds that speak of Menche's past but the grandiose peak that his tracks reach at times. Even though the album is adorned in minimalism, both in terms of progression and instrumentation, with sounds solitary placed and isolated in the surrounding environment, he still finds the space and timing to go for a bigger outbreak. The ending of “Sleep II” is such a moment, with the synthesizers swooping through frequencies and granting a transcendental effect to the music, or with the open, spacey quality of “Sleep VI” bringing a sci-fi take to the fold. 

It is the underlying duality that Menche highlights in Sleeper that makes the work enticing. Caught in a state of existence between the harsh reality and the nebulous dream realm, the two entities contradict and clash in a very fitting fashion. The further exploration of each side individually, but also of moments when one state passes to the next, as is the case with the harsh awakening in “Sleep IV,” showcase the extent of Menche's investigation in this concept.

The length of the album, spanning for about three hours, is a touch daunting, and it does not help in retaining the listener's attention in one sitting. Listen to a couple of tracks each time and explore the themes of Sleeper gradually, and I doubt anyone will be able to fall asleep listening to the record.

7.5 / 10Spyros Stasis
Radio K 2
Leave a comment



7.5 / 10

7.5 / 10

Share this content
Related features

One Question Interviews Daniel Menche

Posted Nov. 20, 2013, 7:38 p.m.

Daniel Menche SPB: Who is your favorite 1980s artist? Menche: Well, in the entire ‘80s I was age 10-20. So, of course, that was a ...

Radio K 2
Recent reviews

The Smith Street Band

More Scared of You Than You Are of Me

8.2 / 10 The Smith Street Band - More Scared of You Than You Are of Me album cover

There’s something oddly humbling and comforting about listening to the Smith Street Band, it’s like they’re that hometown band you watched put on shows in garages and living rooms growing ...

Rotterdam Ska Jazz Foundation ft. Bosco

Big Horns EP

8.5 / 10 Rotterdam Ska Jazz Foundation ft. Bosco - Big Horns EP album cover

Just look at the name of this band. Any associations? Mine was: ah, Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation, Killimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, must be working along the same lines. And in a way it ...


Burning Desire to Draw Last Breath

7.4 / 10 Gulch - Burning Desire to Draw Last Breath album cover

Here we go, something horribly maniacal approaches. An out of focus haunt looking like a Goya sketch funnels all the screaming souls from hell at the threat of a Gatling ...

Related news

Bands 1QI: Henry Rollins, Daniel Menche, Hood Internet, Buildings

Posted Aug. 13, 2013, 9:06 a.m.

We're proud to introduce a new series here at Scene Point Blank: One Question Interviews. Follow us at facebook or twitter and we'll post one interview every Monday-Thursday ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.