Monday, March 05, 2007

The Search For Sleep

Some time ago I developed the tendency that unless I put music on before going to sleep, I will lay awake half the night trying real hard to do so. Of course there have been times when I have attempted to do so, and even when my fatigue was so potent that my body just ached to sleep, I simply couldn't, not without music. Strange, but also amusing how we develop these needs, these dependencies and habits. However, to make the quandary even more of an ordeal, I find that I can only fall asleep to certain types of music. If its of the hardcore or metal genealogy, forget it, sleep will be nigh on possible to achieve, it has to be something gentler, more soothing, enter Jessica Bailiff.

Again, another Kranky gem, this gorgeous siren released a pair of ethereal records in 98 and 99, these being 'Even In Silence,' and the one featured here, 'Hour Of The Trace.' To me these have remained her finest work, although I have thoroughly enjoyed her last 2 records, and her collaborative project Clear Horizon with Dave Pearce (of the totally brilliant Flying Saucer Attack) from 2003. Still, those first 2 records, have endeared me the most through the years and have often been a popular choice when deciding what record is needed to lull me into slumber.

Musically, Bailiff occupied a fine line between gentle acoustic driven material and lush, shoe gazing drifts ala My Bloody Valentine and other early 90s luminaries such as Ride, Slowdive et al. 'Toska,' is one of her most beautiful songs that she has ever written, its glacial tones cradle and carry her voice which is buried amid minimal strumming. The spirit of My Bloody Valentine duly possesses the bones of 'After Hours,' a drugged out mantra that stealthily slides throughout its duration whilst Bailiff's voice again lingers in the ether of the track's drones. The final track I have chosen here, 'Amnesia,' is a stumbling search through the fabrics of time itself, Bailiff sounds encased inside the ghostly guitar melodies as if she herself is looking to recover her memory.

Now you decide whether my descriptions resemble the music, - Jessica Bailiff - Toska - Jessica Bailiff - After Hours - Jessica Bailiff - Amnesia

All of Bailiff's records (and the Clear Horizon record, which if you like this, then I recommend) are readily available (and through paypal) here,, and there are some used copies here,

Her last record 'Feels Like Home,' came out last year, four years after the self titled, hopefully she will bring forth more ghostly tales soon.

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