Much like the elusive Theory of Everything in physics, with Hills‘ universal psychedelic premise is underlined by almost unaccountable gravity. Released in 2011 through Intergalactic Tactics and Transubstans Records following a 2009 self-titled debut, Master Sleeps basks these 10 years later in its breadth of influence and establishes its aesthetic on a per-track basis, presenting two vinyl sides of resonant, spaced-out intergalactic fare with an awakened nature that’s nothing if not contradictory to the title. It’s a record about which much was said at the time by the in-the-know-telligencia, and that’s cool, because it’s cool, and, hey man, cool, but any and all past hype aside — it’s amazing how the years turn these things into wisps of recollection; the fervent talking-up of records fading to echoes even as attention spans are criticized for their shortness; hypocrites to a hyperlink, everyone — it’s a cool record and to deny it is to deny oneself the pleasure of a 35-minute, mostly instrumental outward journey of jams and in-on-it-early-next-gen heavy psych. Suffice it to say, if this shit was due in June instead of a decade gone, you’d still see as much desperate preening of feathers in order to curry its vaunted favor. And fair enough.
I have the CD, which was the Transubstans version, that I apparently picked up later in 2011, but I’ll be damned if Master Sleeps doesn’t hold up. It was ahead of the game on vinyl structuring, presaging the larger-platter-as-format-of-record (pun absolutely intended) explosion by a year or two, and each of its two sides brought three tracks in a nearly even break of structure to what seems to be utterly fluid throughout the listening experience, opener “Rise Again” and closer “Death Shall Come” creating a loop from one to the other that feels all the more geared to encourage multiple listens in a kind of sonic reincarnation. Accordingly, the more you hear Master Sleeps, the more you hear in it. First? Swirl. “Rise Again” fuzzes and unfolds a careening spaciousness that calls out early space rock and psych drift with shoegaze vocals buried in the mix à la The Heads where you wonder if anything’s really being said or you’re just imagining it and does it really matter anyway. I don’t know...
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