Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sleep Maps premiere video via Consequence of Sound, powerfully poignant Medals EP out today

Click image above to watch video

"Much of the best art comes from visionary individuals following their instincts into strange and dark places, and that's certainly the case with Sleep Maps, whose Fiction Makes The Future debut is an unexpected treat. These are definitely ones to watch." -- Rock A Rolla  

New York City heavy-psych band Sleep Maps premiere the first video from their new long-form EP Medals today courtesy of Consequence of Sound. The clip for the song "The Final Weapon" is particularly poignant this Veteran's Day week. Watch video HERE

Medals is available starting today on CD and download. Stream the full release on Bandcamp HERE

The latest from mastermind multi-instrumentalist Ben Kaplan is a deeply moving work, both musically and thematically as it addresses the shallow pageantry presented to war veterans, many of whose lives have been forever shattered by their experiences. 

Medals is based upon the Winter Soldier Investigation from 1971. "A group of Vietnam vets held a press conference in Detroit to discuss the atrocities they had seen and sometimes participated in," Kaplan explains. "This was meant to bring attention to the mainstream public about what was really happening in Vietnam. Of course after it was over the government did everything in their power to discredit them and claim they were liars." The powerful, slow building fury of "The Heavens Gaze Empty" underscores the statements made by these war vets as they dispose of their awards of battlefield valor. 

"The image of throwing the medals back is the refusal to be placated by a trinket when your entire life has been ruined," says Kaplan. "The parallels between an era supposedly long gone and the wars of today are too blatant to be ignored. Soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq have also participated in medal throwing ceremonies, although mainstream media will not cover it." 

Medals builds a chronology across the first three songs using audio snippets from various speeches laid over Sleep Maps' masterful control of dramatic tension as spindling guitars, ominous keyboards and crashing drums weave the sound and theme into a vivid sense of intense emotions. Kaplan again performed all of the instruments on the EP, as he did on the band's debut Fiction Makes The Future. While the group has expanded to a full 4-piece lineup live -- playing its aggressive yet atmospheric songs with poignant visual projections -- Kaplan remains the sole creative force behind Sleep Maps. 

"The Final Weapon" opens Medals with the pulsing sounds of war drums and the all-too-familiar rhetoric used to spur citizens to "fight the good fight." Soaring guitars and anthemic melodies cascade into a military march as things segue into "Blackout Eyes", sounding like a strange hybrid of Sigur Ros and Boyd Rice's NON. The syrupy tune traces a soldier's return to 'normalcy' and the lead up to the tortured intensity of "The Heavens Gaze Empty". Bonus track "Horror In The Telescope" is the band's recent single, previously only available as a download. 

Medals was produced, performed and mixed by Ben Kaplan. It will be available on limited edition CD and download on November 13th, 2012.

Artist: Sleep Maps
Album: Medals
Label: Lost Future Music
Release Date: November 13th, 2012

01. The Final Weapon (VIDEO)
02. Blackout Eyes
03. The Heavens Gaze Empty
04. Horror In The Telescope (bonus track)

Artist: Sleep Maps
Album: "Horror In The Telescope" single
Label: Lost Future Music
Release Date: July 18th, 2012

01. Horror In The Telescope (MP3)

Artist: Sleep Maps
Album: Fiction Makes The Future
Label: Lost Future Music
Release Date: May 1st, 2012

01. Men Against The Stars (MP3)
02. The Eternal Wanderer
03. Forbidden Light
04. A Greater Fire
05. Last Future (VIDEO)

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