Biff Johnson and Shelley Andrews
Stupendous on so many levels. The Modular mix has probably the most amazing slow burn groove ever heard. Variant keeps creating incredible scapes that reveal new vistas on every listen.
Love the long form material over last couple of years. Like most of variant material this album can't be fully appreciated or perhaps even understood until you let go of time/space and disappear into wherever it takes you.
Favorite track: sequential sleep [modular mix].
Sequential Sleep is an ambient two-part CD release made for dreaming, a sonic travelogue set in multiple locations within a winter forest. Everything in its natural environment is magnified with a 7:1 field recorder that captures the purest form of nature. Utilizing newly developed forms of fm, granular and modular synthesis allowed this project to unravel in ways we never expected; like a visitor on foreign lands. Harmonic angelic sequences continuously ebb and flow, slowly moving, like the tides meet an estuary. Slowly evolving electric currents fluctuate in their purest essence possessing the closest reach towards a pure analog sound experience.
The interchange and combination of field recordings and spectrum of sounds via various 16-step sequences become alive, taking on an organic yet expansive, and three-dimensional sound design which is out of this world. In the space-time continuum, every sound travels back down to earth within the spatial expanse, where recordings take on their own natural life in paradisiac existence.
Based on the Sufi teachings of sound—appreggiation and vibration, this music's vibrational pull of oscillating frequencies are founded on chord repetition, so too like chants that heal and allow the mind to reach meditative states. These immersive zones are the platform for a pure, rejuvenating, aqueous trance-like experience of endless possibilities.
Freely flowing and comforted, just as a mother’s womb, the unconscious mind embraces all.
These are songs that warmly envelope, soothe and heal the soul.
Nearly 2.5 hours, both sonic journeys are adaptations of the other and the essence of the vision. And, its sequences are steps into a dream, the steps into enchantment.
Behind and beyond these recordings therein lies the inspiration of its mysticism:
“WHEN WE pay attention to nature’s music we find that every thing on the earth contributes to its harmony. The trees joyously wave their branches in rhythm with the wind; the sound of the sea, the murmuring of the breeze, the whistling of the wind through rocks, hills and mountains; the flash of the lightning, and the crash of the thunder, the harmony of the sun and moon, the movements of the stars and planets, the blooming of the flower, the fading of the leaf, the regular alternation of morning, evening, noon, and night, all reveal to the seer the music of nature.” - The Mysticism of Sound and Music
The opium of openness by which all that dream, in wakefulness, or in sleep become one in the same dream...
Gently swimming on the sleep-trails of Max Richter’s phenomenal Sleep opus from 2015, Sequential Sleep is an ambient two-part CD release ‘made for dreaming, a sonic travelogue set in multiple locations within a winter forest. Everything in its natural environment is magnified with a 7:1 field recorder that captures the purest form of nature’. Utilizing newly developed forms of FM, granular and modular synthesis, Stephen Hitchell aka Variant has crafted a glistening LP, one which pulls you under in a wash of cloud, and texture and bubbling dub-space. Tip for the dub tech heads = Basic Channel, Gas, Pole etc. Sonic insomnia cures. -Bleep
Echospace man Stephen Hitchell has been devoting much time to his Variant project over the last couple of years, releasing no less than nine, straight-to-tape explorations in 2015 alone. Here, he continues his seemingly endless voyage into the deep space where ambient, sound design and dub techno meet. Sequential Sleep is a double-disc affair, with each CD boasting one long take on the fluid, spacey, becalmed and hazy title track. The differences between the two are subtle, but certainly noticeable: the slightly longer Granular Mix (hosted on disc one) feels more fluid and spaced-out, while the Modular Mix (presumably titled in honour of Hitchell's chosen production method) is bolder and louder, with more distinctively layered electronic textures. -Juno
"Playing CD#2 of Sequential Sleep (ver1.2) and it's breathtaking. I really love this long form stuff. You're a master at this. Full immersion sound fields. Very organic. Robert Rich talked about "glurp" in an old Keyboards Magazine (about 1989 I think). He said this glurpy area is where sounds that are organic sound electronic, and electronic sounds seem organic. He strived to create a sound where you couldn't tell what was natural and what was electronic. You're in that zone. Am I listening to the wind, or am I listening to phased noise from a synth? I don't really want to know. I prefer just enjoying it and not over-analyzing it. Beautiful stuff." -Rod Modell
released May 28, 2016
written and produced by variant. mastered in echospace.