Good Sleep by Rutger Hauser is a folk record from a totally other place. It is far easier to believe that it’s a lost album of the 1970s, the magnum opus of an underground CAN-Cluster-Tangerine Dream-adjacent krautrock group mangling with synthesisers for the first time, than the pensive new record by a band operating in south London today.
Good Sleep is a patient and spacious work, wherein improvised textures and otherworldly sounds glacially wrap themselves around John Harries’ drumming or Lisa Busby’s disembodied vocals. It’s a cryptic album; one that simultaneously evokes lonely cityscapes and dense countryside landscapes with its wilting and swirling soundscapes, and one that rewards repeat listens.
Sonically, the influences on this record are all over the shop. The steady motorik drumming of ‘A Goodbye (In Sunlight)’ is pure NEU!, the hauntological pop of the title track recalls Broadcast, and the discordant soundscape of cello, synths and electronic thudding on ‘Signs in My Hand’ recall the worlds of Twin Peaks: The Return or Mulholland Drive more than anything else. Meanwhile, Busby’s vocals, especially on the icy ‘Sue’ and the singular ‘Martins Hunting…’, channel folk songs from all over the world, from Ireland to Bulgaria and beyond.
Good Sleep is an excellent LP that crash lands in the uncanny valley; a dark ambient album with a full band, or perhaps a post-punk record that’s been lost in the woods for so goddamn long it’s forgotten its own name. The album is a real mystery – one that’s definitely worth unravelling.