If in the past I have described Nick’s work as being drifting and dreamlike, his latest album, Sleep Safari, is the logical extension of those signature sounds being nothing less than an exploration of the lucid dream state, a homage to unconsciousness and a mission to make music which reflects such a meditative condition. Ever since Joe Meek first conducted his homemade musical experiments at the start of the rock ‘n’roll era, musicians have been fascinated with trying to capture the idea of the otherworldly in sound, be it journeys into outer or inner space, and Nick’s musical odyssey into the subconscious stands alongside the best of them.
All too often such music has been the bastion of the progressive rocker or the wide-eyed avant gardener, the results wandering between the bombastic and the boggling, the pretentious and the purposeless. But the deft touches, creativity and wide sound palette that he employs here means that Sleep Safari encompasses much within its 10 tracks. It moves between futuristic dance and widescreen, cinematic soundscapes, rich psychedelia and stark clinical rhythms, eclecticism and electronica, plays with past glories and paints future visions.
It is a collection of musical scenarios built from a textural and conceptual richness plus a wonderful grandeur that exceeds the mere musical melodramatics which is more often the case when navigating such wide open sonic possibilities. As always Nick gives us something fresh and truly unique and again, as always, he is more than aware that even when you have such a wealth of sonic wizardry at your fingertips it is still all about producing something musical, something which has substance, purpose and poise as well as mere style. Thankfully Nick, as is his want, delivers all this and more.