Zaumne, Dreams of Teeth Falling Out, Russia, Perfect Aesthetics, cassette AEST-057 (2021)
The title of this solo work by Polish artist Zaumne aka Mateusz Olszewski certainly got my attention! According to the Bandcamp link for this album, books on interpreting dreams state that dreams about teeth falling out are indicative of the dreamer’s needs going unmet or neglected. Such dreams are not necessarily to be dreaded; they may be the first step to rebirth or regeneration if we recognise and attend to the underlying issues or problems of our subconscious. As Zaumne, Olszewski has been active since 2016 and “Dreams …” is his fifth album in a project dedicated to creating music from Youtube videos made to stimulate autonomous sensory meridian responses: the physical tingling sensations people get from listening to soft repetitive sounds, a phenomenon increasingly being studied and exploited by marketing companies.
The album starts in darkly dramatic fashion with “Let’s Go Home”, a steely piece dominated by an ongoing noise drone loop over which two other loops of whispering voice and a melancholy saxophone continuously repeat. An atmosphere of shadowy lonely isolation is established. From then on, the pattern is set: each succeeding track is a soundscape mood piece of repeating rhythm, melody and spoken-word sample loops. Several short tracks are titled “Dream” in parts one to four along with the last track “Last Dream”, and are interspersed among longer tracks: these short “Dream” pieces appear as exercises in establishing and maintaining a mood or atmosphere, or capturing a moment in time, and can seem quite obsessive in their repetition or in drawing attention to a sample of banal spoken dialogue that might have taken straight out of mid-day television soap operas with all their exaggerated emotions.
Listening to the whole album as is can be tedious with all its repetition and little sense of progression in some individual tracks – but then that can be the nature of dreams, dwelling as they are presumed to do on aspects of the dreamer’s life that may be habitual or ritual in nature. The more interesting tracks tend to be those that have a bit more variety and which change and introduce new elements almost up to the end; these are the long pieces like “Let’s Go Home”, “What Are Friends For” and “Upwards”. The atmosphere across the album is mysterious, shadowy and hypnotic and may be the most memorable aspect of the recording. “Dreams of Teeth …” can be an odd beast in its own way: if you hear it a few times, you might be fed up with it, but if you persist with it, you may well find yourself being drawn slowly and surely into its strange intense worlds.