Exit Music Review SectionMusic Review Navigation Menu
Dreams Top Rock

Dreams Top Rock
(Karaoke Kalk)

Due to some strange glitch in the fabric of time and space (or the fact that I've never watched much television), I actually heard the soundtrack for Twin Peaks before I saw or knew anything about the show itself. When I did hear that soundtrack, I was sitting in a dorm room in college and I instantly thought to myself, 'Hot damn, I think that playing this for a female would be instant seduction.' Something in the way that singer Julee Cruise's voice connected with the somewhat dark and haunting music of Angelo Badlamenti was just about perfect.

On the other side of things, the first I heard from Mr. Markus Schmickler was on his Pick Up Canyon release, a somewhat meandering slab of electronic/post rock that interested me at times and bored me at others. When tossing the two together, I really had no idea what to expect, but I don't think I would have imagined Dreams Top Rock. Simply put, if you're a fan of shoegaze or dreampop in general, you should march right out and find this release right away. It's warm fuzzy guitar stuff of the highest order with plenty of ethereal vocals laid down by Cruise to keep the whole thing floating into the night.

The first song on the release, "Time For A Lie," has some of the most gorgeous sounds in it since My Bloody Valentine, and that's no lie. The track swirls multiple layers of filtered guitars over a humming low-end and a quiet 4/4 kick while Cruise alternately whispers and coo's. "Noise Academy" keeps things coming with an opening of quiet strummed guitars before everything bursts loose in a wash of sound, with dense layers of guitars and vocals all swirling around one another while the rhythm section again keeps things simple.

And really, the release isn't about much other than texture. There are some nice dynamics in tracks (even the dense tracks give way to moments of delicate instrumentation), but the album is more content to conjure of a mixture of hazy sonics, whether that be a plume of thick guitars or a back-ally glitch-jazz meltdown (as in "Flageolea"). The second half isn't quite as successful as the first, as "Have You Seen Jill" falls into a faily standard sound (despite the flickering guitars) and "Hellow Shadows" drives ahead with much of the same force as the numerous others doing power dreampop. Even at that, though, Cruise is a unique vocal talent and Schmickler has created enough of a wrinkle in the formula (mainly by encorporating subtle electronic elements) to keep things interesting musically. The nearly 6-minute closing track of "Log" puts a dramatic exclamation point on the release by marching through walls of swirling guitars while slowly building to a nice payoff. If you're a fan of the aforementioned, hunt this thing down now, but if you're a fan of Pluramon's past work, you might be a smidge confused.

Rating: 7.5