Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag England - Full Moon 211 - 11/17/13

Sand Snowman
Sleeper's Hide & Seek
Reverb Worship

The Luna chef recommended this album, because lady Judy Dyble participate on a couple of tracks. And the fact that Bobbie Watson of Comus sings lead vocals on the opening track "Sleepwalker's Seal" didn't made the album less attractive. A quick listen to that song as soon as the disc arrived, was more than convincing, as mellow, haunting and melancholic a dream as can be. There are a few more guest vocalists here as well, unknown to me. More of them later. The Sand Snowman himself seems to be a scholared classical guitarist. In addition to his acoustic guitar, he plays electric on some of the songs, percussion, piano and organ here and there. This is the first of his albums I've heard. He has released more than ten albums since 2005 it seems. Sleeper's Hide & Seek was originally released as a download by the man himself in 2010. Now it's available in a physical format for the first time, at least for a little while.

The album might easily fit into the acid folk category, mainly acoustic and quiet, and extraordinarily beautiful, with some more lively folk-pop offerings and a couple of experimental offsprings in between. The two tracks where Judy Dyble sings are other contests for the most beautiful songs of the album. On the haunting "Me & The City" she sings alone in a bit stiff way that to some extent reminds me of the one and only German chanteuse Dagmar Krause of Slapp Happy. Exquisite! The other one along with Amandine Ferrari and Moonswift, "All The Faces Of A Crowd", is a hushed little something, with vocals of the alternate almost madrigal and seductive wispering kind. A beauty almost out of this world! On "Sound Of Spirit" and "Broken Moments" Amandine sings on her own. The former is of the same calibre as "All The Faces Of A Crowd", whereas the latter is more lively, the most up-beat and pop'ish of the lot.

"Wide Awake" and "Fractal Fever" find the sandy snowman in a more experimental mood, closer to nightmarish dreams. His brilliant guitar playing leads into jazzy and progressive terrain, the former with lyrics and experimental vocal efforts by Demian Castellanos. Neither work as well as the remaining songs and make the album less cohesive. But they add to the variation and demonstrate that Sand Snowman has more aces up his sleeve. "Gift Of The Sun", "Wheatfield With Crows" and "One More Spring" induce some slowly rolling effect in me, on the verge of getting seasick, in a similar manner to some of Robert Wyatt's work. Maybe it has something to do with the relaxed feeling, the halfway distant vocals by Monswift on the first two and the way the piano is played. Anyway, it can hardly sound any better. "Wheatfield With Crows" is another candidate for the most beautiful song of the album with some sublime forwards and backwards guitars towards the end. The title track rounds off the album in an almost sacral way. An instrumental dominated by a church-sounding organ with some baroque-pop elements from the electric(?) guitar and some elegant backwards electric guitar that adds a timeless vibe to the track. Excellent!

Sleeper's Hide & Seek is the first album I've had a close encounter with off the vast Reverb Worship catalogue of nearly 250 CD-albums in very limited editions with handmade covers. It's the fourth by Sand Snowman Reverb has released and a limited edition of 100 copies in all. Very nice cover sleeve illustration by the Snowman, too. So no need to hesitate. If the album is sold out, it can be downloaded from the Snowman's home page. Very recommended in any format. It has to be the most beautiful album I've witnessed this year and it is a firm contender for the album of the year title, too, being it 2010 or 2013!

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You may also want to check out our Sand Snowman article/review: Otherness.

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