Label: Wil-Ru Records
Eric Adrian Lee is a designer, painter, DJ, label curator and member of such diverse bands as Metal, Ozarks, Wolf Choir and Gauss, but before he was all of those things, he was Biathalon. After years of hibernation, Biathalon has returned with a spacious, hypnotic single – appropriately titled Sleepless – backed with five remixes produced by the likes of Lamont Kohner, Forrest, Grischa Lichtenberger, Gold Coast and Coppice Halifax. Sleepless is a twelve-minute elegy of drifting tides of synthesizer chords that never quite come back to the shore. Light drips of bass provide a hint of rhythmic buoy and give the listener a sense of the passage of time – time that is dutifully stretched thinner and thinner via careful repetitions and slight modulations. Sleepless is so washed out and obscured that it’s difficult to tell whether the melodies you hear are actually being played, or if your subconscious brain is filling in the empty gaps automatically. Biathalon’s work has always been about suspension of the present in favor of an atmosphere so comfortable, it could just last forever. Are we standing on a moonlit sand dune, with the sound of an ocean somewhere in the distance? Or are we really asleep in some cosmic cradle, gently waiting beneath the face of God to collect stars as they fall from His eyes like tears?
The remix works that follow do not answer these questions – rather, they choose to use Sleepless as a point of no return, with which new paths and trajectories are established and followed without hesitation. Lamont Kohner begins this ritual of transfiguration, burning the bones of Sleepless down to a glowing dust, then recording the sound of it flowing downward inside an hourglass. Slowly but surely, time is displaced once again and Kohner fills the void with a constant throbbing rhythm of primordial drums. Forrest unearths his distillation of Sleepless, buried for years beneath a broken radiator in his backyard, somewhere in a sweltering hot, orange suburbia, perhaps in the 1980s. The dirt-covered artifact begins to burn, and within the smoke an arch of neon radiation pulses and hums. Grischa Lichtenberger achieves an alchemical harmony that straddles the line between preservation of the original elements, and augmenting them with crystalline tethers of bass, piano and crackling ice. Yet another facet of Sleepless emerges from the waters of Long Island’s chilly shores, as Gold Coast operates special submersible equipment to bring the sunken pieces of bass and glass panes of tonality to the surface without disintegration. Across the long ascent, vibrantly colored sea life swims circles around the aquatic treasure, casting playful yet calming patterns of diffused light from above the sea surface on the silent blue ocean floor. Yet, there are still Halifaxian fragments of Sleepless that remain forever lost, unseen and unclaimed. Washed to the sands of remote and uninhabited desert isles, where they sit like seeds beneath the grains, slowly growing into a gigantic white tree. An alien megalith of mutation and mass, eventually blooming with a hundred or more bright blue flowers that send their strange provenance upward, outward, to go home in the stars.