Dasha Rush
Sleepstep: Sonar Poems for My Sleepless Friends LP
Raster-Noton

8.0/10.0

When music becomes more about experiencing and feeling, rather then listening, it can be hard to put into words what you’ve just witnessed. Dasha Rush’s album ‘Sleepstep – Sonar Poems for My Sleepless Friends’ is one of those works.

As the title suggests, the Russian DJ and producer’s aim was to create a dream-like atmosphere, fully immersing her listener, drifting in and out of different states of mind. The result is an ambient piece of music that captivates with subtlety and fragility, making time obsolete.

Where opener and vocal-oriented ‘Dance With Edgar Poe’ slowly lures in the listener, twisting and turning as we try to fall asleep, ‘Scratching Your Surface’ pulls us even deeper, with a dark loop and vocal that seem to be waiting for a techno beat that never comes.

‘Time Whispers and Albert’ then engulf the audence, brought together in a glitchy atmosphere that leaves plenty of space for the mind to wander, after which ‘Sail Away to Her’ further dissolves time and space with it’s choral vocals and strings. In ‘Life Time Poem’, an entity addresses us, resulting in a sense of complete peace and tranquillity, followed by ‘Lucy in the Sky, Lost Diamonds’, that seems to embody the REM sleep, when the mind becomes more active as the body enters a state of paralysis.

‘Abandoned Beauties and Beasts’ affirms this feeling with a sound aching to a slowly beating heart, followed by ‘Antares’, starting off dark and somewhat heavy, going in and out, gradually becoming softer and less threatening. If supported by a 4/4 beat, ‘100 Hearts’ would be an absolute techno stomper, whereas the stripped down version seems to hint at life inside the womb . ‘Micro Universe’ then offers a soothing release of tension, reminiscent of waking up or being born.

On the CD, 4 more tracks that aren’t featured on the vinyl make the journey complete. ‘Sleep Ballad’, which again uses loops to create a relaxing, almost meditational atmosphere. ‘Fog, Dogma and Bread’ then feels more tense and industrial, whereas the keys in ‘A Minute After The War’ balance between desperation and hope, creating an incredibly touching sense of emptiness. ‘Lumiere Avant Midi’ is the centrepiece around which the entire album revolves, frail yet firm, like the first rays of sun in the morning, everything and nothing at the same time. ‘Sleepstep’ might be hard to describe with words, but does all the talking with the music.

It’s clear that Rush has established herself as one of today’s most avant garde producers, capable of intelligent, emotional ambient soundscapes. This is a must have for any fan of the genre.

Tracklist:
01. Intro – Space Privat for Cosmonauts
02. Dance With Edgar Poe
03. Time Whispers and Albert
04. Scratching Your Surface (Revisited)
05. Sleep Ballade
06. Antares
07. Abandoned Beauties and Beasts
08. Lumiere Avant Midi
09. Sail Away to Her
10. Lucy in the Sky, Lost Diamonds
11. Fog, Dogma and Bread
12. A Minute After the War
13. Life Time Poem
14. 100 Hearts
15. Micro Universe
16. Outer Space