Sleep Party People announces new album 'Heap of Ashes' due Nov 11th via Joyful Noise and shares first single & video "Tide".
Sleep Party People, the musical alias of Brian Batz, will release his new album Heap of Ashes on November 11th via Joyful Noise - a record that crackles and burns, a bonfire of digital decimation and sky-cracking emotion. Today the first single from the record "Tide" has gone online alongside a video directed by Susi Haaning.
Preparing for his new album Sleep Party People banner knew that his “usual” process wouldn’t suffice.
“I was in a weird place in my life where I felt like I was some kind of observer. I was watching people around me getting sick, grieving, falling a part and the world was somehow disintegrating as well,”
“I wanted to make a record mirroring and coping with the way I felt.”
The setting of the music video for "Tide" is a childhood home and follows the journey of a man who has decided not to take part in the world anymore; director Susi Haaning asks "How do you say goodbye to someone who is already gone?". Across five beloved albums and nearly a decade and a half as Sleep Party People, Batz had developed a tried-and-true methodology for writing and recording spine-tingling shoegaze and dream pop. But when he began work on his sixth record, Batz threw out every part of the playbook.
“I had a dogma that I was not allowed to write a song on piano, guitar, or anything else that I was used to,”
he says. Instead, Batz amassed a library of self-produced tape loops—and then sat and tinkered until something came together that he liked.
“It took an entire month to make the first song,”
he laughs. Writing lyrics came with its own self-imposed complications, with Batz writing in his native Danish and then translating into English.
“Of course it's easier for me to express myself in Danish, and while the translating was difficult it got me somewhere completely different than anything I would ever have written,”
he says. From lead single “Tide”, it’s clear that the process and meaning fuse powerfully, reaching pained depths and rattling heights beyond even the already-expansive reach of Sleep Party People’s past. While Batz has flirted with the darker edges of orchestral pop, here he leaps into the shadow. The track opens on a looped burble, disorienting electronic noise pitched like waves, Batz’s icy vocals staring into your soul. “Your shattered dreams make you embrace the silence,” he sings, before rich strings from contemporary quartet Halvcirkel drip and smear around the electronic core. And then it happens: bassy electronic burn washes over everything, percussion thunders out, and Batz’s voice turns to buried screaming, a bloodrush akin to experimental metal duo The Body. And after the cathartic burst washes away, that icy voice returns, suddenly a strange comfort in the pain: “I know you'll die alone/ Someday in your chair/ I know for a fact/ That I'm telling the truth/ I'm sorry.” Those screams may come as a surprise for the soft-spoken Batz, but he says that’s just a testament to how far the world has pushed people over the past few years. The interplay between exposing that primal darkness and indulging in orchestral beauty plays out through Batz’s influences for the album, primarily Bulgarian choral music, the worn-out sound of old tape like the haunting sound of The Caretaker and the darker sides of Scott Walker's releases. Second single “Spider Cracks” highlights that full spectrum, balancing haunted clang with soaring vocal harmonies and slow-burn cyclical rhythms. Opener “It Won’t Be Cinematic” betrays its own title, finding widescreen beauty even in the dark melancholy—a cross between Lingua Ignota’s operatic burn and an apocalyptic lullaby. The mellotron’s ripening hum provides a layer of cloud, Batz ushering the album forward only for the track to quickly break apart. Elsewhere, “Labyrinth” similarly finds ecstasy through the smoke, a piano loop casting a rippled halo echo across the deep water mix. Later, “Moldering Fragments” features duet vocals from k Hover of dream pop group Sound of Ceres, adding a Julee Cruise-esque angelic counterpart to Batz’s insistence that he is ready to yield his body to the lake. The track offers the deepest breath of fresh air on the album, the embers from the fire swirling ever higher into the sky. The weighted wooziness of “No. 3147” similarly swirls and arcs away from the fire, emphasizing the anonymity of its title through snatches of voices buried and smeared in the mix. As the album closes on “Needle”, the pain and loss return, the embers turned to ashes heaped on the ground. Drummer and close collaborator Anders Bach’s project GNOM rounds out Batz’s composition, a pair of distorted and pitch-shifted voices breathing every ache deeply. “My child, where are you? My child, I see you,” they intone, the strings and electronics smoldering away. There’s some relief in the idea that everything’s gone, even the pain. “My child, where are you?” the voice asks, finally, the flames are completely extinguished. In Heap of Ashes, Brian Batz has excavated and processed deep, resonant pain, exposing every facet, every moment, every wound, finding the beauty even when the last glow of hope looks like it’s ready to fade into the ashes.