After The Rain EP – Sleep D & Albrecht La’Brooy

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Naming an EP “After The Rain” seems like a pretty boring thing to do. It is simply a theme too universal. But it also holds a lot of meaning – everything is washed out, cleared. Or it could be flooded, drenched and chaotic. Either way, rain leaves things changed. And this is what Sleep D and Albrecht La’Brooy work with over the course of these five tracks.

“Marshland” evokes an image of a field in the rain, under a grey sky with only small fragments of light shimmering through. A slowly pumping, tribal beat drives things forward, while field recordings of water trickling and birds chirping serve as ever-present supporting actors. Albrecht and La’Brooy, the two founders of Melbourne’s Analogue Attic, have recorded these themselves. They are present in each track, always in the background, soothing the nerves of stressed-out city dwellers.

The title track “After The Rain” indulges in this moment of quietness, when the steady rushing of the rain has ceased. It has a very basic structure: Deep pads as a base and a slow synth-melody as a second layer. Plus very quiet noises, which remain mostly in the background: Someone muttering words, light drums and high-pitched bleeps. The firm calmness, especially of the pads, make it an incredibly meditative track, but it still somehow sounds like generic yoga music.

Life really returns to the scenery in “Limestone”. Monotonous, recurring bass notes and crystal-clear snares drive the track forward into a sound that finds a home somewhere between dub and ambient. Tranquility is still the main element however – that is made sure by countless blazing drone sounds. Unfortunately, ever-present piano melodies somewhat counteract the coolness of this track.

“31 Degrees”, probably the best track on “After The Rain”, keeps this serene vibe and blends it with wobbly, dub techno-esque sounds. Drums rattle, synths bleep, echoes die away. The elements are slowly layered on top of one another and thus there is really enough time to create an immersive atmosphere.

The EP closes with “Bogged”. The title is to be taken literally, because these four minutes simply don’t know where they are going. A naive melody is weirdly combined with a wobbling bass and insect-like bleeps, which emanate from the corners of the soundscape – it feels as if the rain has finally passed. Now the sun is sucking the energy out of the soil, and while the conscience flattens out, confusion settles in.

Taking into account that this EP is the result of the work of four people, two duos, it is surprisingly coherent. The atmosphere is carefully curated over the course of the EP and the texture of one track matches the next. Yet sometimes the melodies and combinations seem all too familiar. Being a bit more daring would have rounded “After The Rain” off.