Sleepy Rich – “Solaris” (Ilian Tape Records) [July 27, 2021]

“Solaris” by Sleepy Rich is a moody exposé of funky patterns, sophisticatedly pieced together to create a mind-altering journey bounding through space and time. Known for their unique style when it comes to techno out of left field, Ilian Tape continues a hot streak of solid releases with the latest offering coming from “Sleepy Rich” the poignant duo of “Sleepy Boy” and “Packed Rich”.

An esoteric output of groove and rhythm maintaining just enough relatability to remain completely accessible, while reaching into the far distances of sonic composition. Known for their unique style when it comes to techno out of left field, Ilian Tape continues a hot streak of solid releases with the latest offering coming from “Sleepy Rich” the poignant duo of “Sleepy Boy” and “Packed Rich”. Both representing the often-overlooked Munich scene with slick, captivating takes on future electronica. The release plays out similar to an exercise. Peaks and valleys of high energy outputs and introspective breakdowns.

The soundscape starts with static guitar picking along with vibrant, warm tones cutting through noisier pitches and supplemented bass groans. The “intro” doesn’t waste anytime expressing the science fiction foundation in which the release builds itself upon. The arpeggiated chords churn through a cycle before separated knocks and hits of boom-bap era percussion display their prowess. The tempo remains low in “Enter Orbit” but creates a projection of velocity that sounds like the beat is trying to catch up with itself. A brief intermission gives way for jazz-esque chord progression signaling the bang of the drums to join in unison once again. Chimes dissipate calmly as the tale turns the chapter into a melancholy jam titled “Enaglyx”. Encapsulating that 90’s New York flair in its laid-back atmosphere, “Enaglyx” continues it’s jazz homage with warped synth and calming resonance. Bouncy bassline couples with slightly broken percussive rhythm spawning an ultra-swingy aire to the groove. Intricate timing is called on throughout the release, maybe best represented in its third track. Rounding out the A side is “Lunar Skit” an enticing minute long instrumental akin to that of a “9th wonder” beat tape joint. Rocky MPC funk that leaves the user crawling back for more with its calculated transition to the opposite side of the record.

“Hyperspace” kicks the groove into overdrive utilizing busier synth pads and a barrage of sweet warbled keys. Heady algorithms of organic bass combine with chopped up snare ditties, efficiently bringing good vibrations to the forefront of the track. The amount of substance riddled in the track is impressive, playing more like a seven-minute ensemble instead of its mere four-minute lifetime. Guitar strums carry the track out wonderfully, leaving a sense of awe as to what will come next. Ethereal overtones and natural waves signify a transition in the onward journey as “Interstellar” beckons depth and wonder. The ambient aura “Interstellar” commands makes it stand above as a relaxing thinker track. Almost as soon as it begins it ends abruptly leaving the listener unsure of where they have been, and where they are going. Before the story allows too much of a disconnect, “Starlight” warps in spacey dub techno bringing us back to square one. The off kilter hip-hop drum samples provide a homeliness which transport us back to the first few tracks. Envelopes are opened and shut with a sly cadence commanding respect to the intricate patterns presented. The title track “Solaris” is a grandeur finale bringing together all of the albums respectable pieces and showcasing the seriousness of the work. Opting for the most straightforward rhythm yet seen on the album, “Solaris” grandstands as the blooming flower which has been cared for and looked after in the previous 7 tracks.

Overall, the release is shrouded in a swagger that is part futurism and part knowledge of a craft. “Sleepy Rich” nails the arc of storytelling in “Solaris” all the while injecting formidable bounce and touch deep into the soul of the Album’s ethos. From start to finish “Solaris” breeds provocative feelings and an urge to nod your head.

-Jack Plumb

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