Release Date: Aug 21, 2012
Record label: Thrill Jockey
If you crave sternum-troubling frequencies and glacier-paced riff invocations… well, this won’t answer your prayers, but there’s treats to be had nonetheless. You might know Evan Caminiti as half of Barn Owl, a San Fran duo whose music hints at the drone doom Earth abandoned in the ’90s. Solo, Caminiti is more blissed out: ‘Dreamless Sleep’ is every bit the comfortably numb sonic womb its title suggests, guitar and synth washing almost imperceptibly into each other.
As one half of Barn Owl, Bay Area experimental guitarist Evan Caminiti works in brooding and gloomy tones, creating doom metal out of equal parts spectral exploration and end-times anxiety. With his solo work, however, Caminiti has extracted much of the dread that goes into Barn Owl's paranoid metallic drones, opting instead for a more soundtracky breed of guitar sprawl. While early solo albums existed in a turbulent twilight somewhere between Brian Eno's moodiest and My Bloody Valentine's gothiest moments, the guitarist has taken a turn for the nocturnal beginning with Night Dust (also released in 2012), with his songs reaching not for the blackness-of-the-soul doom that informs Barn Owl's wailing walls of sound, but for the aural embodiment of dreams, sleep, and all things hidden deep in the night.
There's a reason second drafts exist, and Evan Caminiti's solo album Dreamless Sleep is a hell of a second draft. The LP was first recorded in San Francisco in winter 2011; a year later, Caminiti (one half of guitar duo Barn Owl) revisited the material—a collection of 4-track recordings—and reworked it. The layers that surface over the course of 40 minutes aren't only the result of overlapping analog and digital, or guitar and synth—they're also stratified units of time, like rings on a tree stump.
It's not always easy to predict what an artist's solo career will be upon postponing, parting ways with, or just taking a brief detour from his or her famed group. In the case of Barn Owl's Evan Caminiti, mind, it's safe to say that a sudden departure into electro-pop or country-rock was unlikely to be on the cards, and his solo output since 2008 has consistently delivered the kind of spacious drone that was the hallmark of his aforementioned duo with Jon Porras. In such circumstances, picking out where he diverts from familiar territory is almost as interesting as the music itself.
Owl soars solo on seductive cosmic flight. Spencer Grady 2012 As slow-motion psych maestros Barn Owl, San Franciscans Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras craft sounds akin to a Martian spaghetti western, noxious vapours snaking alien-like around desolate desert twangs. Vibes are generally ominous, recalling the doom-laden Americana of the increasingly Ennio Morricone-obsessed Earth, or even the macabre minimalism of drone’s dark lords, Sunn O))).