Our Sleepless Forest is a trio comprised of three gents from South London who create some seriously heady ambient music. Sometime after a single release on Type Records, their debut has now finally arrived on Resonant Records (which is apparently taking a non-disclosed break in operations at the time). The group makes the type of music that easily slides between several different genres, touching on space rock, ambient, and a sort of shimmery freak folk at times while still carving out a release that sounds cohesive.
Field recordings and tons of reverb hold everything together, and in-between there are huge doses of billowing melodic loveliness that swirls out of everything from guitars to violins and who knows what else. The release opens with "Nomads" and an almost dub-inspired rhythm floats beneath a cloud of heavy, washed-out sounds, making it sound like a beat could drop at any time and push things into mid-era Orb territory at any time. Instead of doing so, though, it wafts off into a more textural section before almost tribal drums filter into the mix and the song takes several upward trajectories in reaching a sparkling apex that's absolutely stunning.
"The Tinderbox" starts out more standard, with a lovely guitar phrase that intertwines with even more guitar before spoken-word and nature field recordings make it feel like you're swooping over a trail guide somewhere and then off under a deep canopy of trees again and into the shadows. At times, the group falls into place where they simply try to overpower with sheer soft noise (such as the album-closer "Haze"), and it's in these places where the release sort of falls back in line with a lot of other releases in a similar vein.
They're at their best when they bring all their different sides into the equation and create something that's melodic, rhythmic, and overpowering all at the same time. The massive "White Bird" is a perfect example, opening with flutters of warm electronics before pulsing with massive washes of filtered guitar, muffled beats, and other dense layering. It's lush and gorgeous yet still leaves a bit of open space to create some tension. A solid debut, hopefully the second album from the group finds a more straightforward route to release.