On A Not So Clear Day You Can See Forever
When man conjures up imagery of the future, as we may or may not live it, the minds with a slightly more creative bend tend to allow the realm of sci-fi to colorfully enhance the mental pictures and possibilities. Whether idealistic and optimistic (i.e. food replicators and flying cars) or doomsday-ish and apocalypse-inevitable (Mad Max on meth), the imagining should always come with a soundtrack to jam to. (soundtracks make all things more bearable)
“Recorded in the woods of Delaware over a 3 week period in October of 2011.”
In a secluded man-cave: Isn’t that how all instrumental post metal, prog rock is made these days? With that notation elicits the visual of multi-instrumentalist Ben Kaplan of Sleep Maps (who played every instrument on Fiction Makes The Future) almost mad scientist-ing his way through the album’s five-track soundscape of allusion. The trick of composing what the hopes and fears of our messy existence sound like makes for no easy task yet- for the most part- Kaplan can tout success.
Where Iceland’s For a Minor Reflection drops bombs of thunderous, yet blissful post-rock melodies, Sleep Maps’ thunder rolls darker- simultaneously playing with knowing man’s abstract potential for glory and accomplishment as well as fucking up into oblivion. So by way of the weighty and ambient crush of the churning guitar, explosive drums, a curtain of synth and cool detach of sparse and pointedly placed dialog narration, tracks like “Men Against The Stars” walk a line similar to- say- Mars Volta on Xanax. That’s hardly to say that it lacks ferocity or metallic edges; Sleep Maps merely tapers them in order for the listener to zero in on the emotions: bleakness, far reaching fear, hope. Guided by a voice foreseeing the day when we vacation under the sea as opposed to merely by it, if there’s one message of comfort in “The Eternal Wanderer,” it’s “The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic.” Boom.
The only trap that Sleep Maps and Fiction Makes The Future occasionally slip into is the one that it probably can’t help: being an album of five tracks, all of which run an average of eight minutes each, it’s easy for the construct on the songs to begin to ring almost too similar to differentiate. But it’s a minor worry as, overall, the Arthur C. Clarke-esque picture is painted, the story is told, and humanity lives to wrestle with itself another day.