SLEEP RESEARCH FACILITY – Deep_Frieze (2007)

Review by: Andreas Georgi
Album assigned by: Michael Strait

This album sounds the way it looks. I needed a hot tea after listening to it:) This is dark ambient, and as with all ambient music, it’s somewhat difficult to discuss in specifics. There are no chord progressions, to say nothing of melodies or rhythms, on this album. There are, in fact, very few musical elements, in the traditional sense. Only occasionally does one hear an extended note or chord on a recognizable instrument, which fades in and out of the background. The roughly hour-long album is divided into 5 pieces, all titled after the latitude and longitude coordinates of places in Antarctica. Not having the liner notes I have no explanation, but I’m not sure if it would make much difference to the listening experience. The division into 5 tracks honestly seems arbitrary, because they entire album consists of a continuous wash of sounds which ever so slowly and subtly changes. The mood, as I suggested, is indeed icy and it doesn’t really vary from one track to another. There is no point in trying to give a track by track summary. Nothing “happens” in this music. 

Listening to this album I think it does very effectively elicit the stark beauty and forbidding and threatening vastness of Antarctica. Apparently on the inside of the booklet is the following text: …there is a certain comforting warmth in the encroaching slumber of hypothermia . This is DARK ambient after all 🙂

SRF is the creation of Kevin Doherty. Apparently Mr. Doherty intends his music to be sleep-conducive. It might be an interesting experiment to have this playing on repeat at a low volume while you sleep, but it might lead to some harrowing dreams. I’ve listened to it a few of times – the first time with headphones, and the next couple of times while reading. I don’t think the album stands up to repeated “active” listening but, as with any ambient music, perhaps the best way to approach this music is not to “actively” listen, but to let it wash over you as you go about your day, letting it draw your attention from time to time. This is intentionally “furniture music”, to use a term coined by Erik Satie. 

This is not an album that I am likely to go back to repeatedly, but it is an interesting listening experience, and I do think that it effectively achieves what it was meant to do, so THUMBS UP.

This review is also posted on Amazon:
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Author: tomymostalas

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