Sleeparchive | A Man Dies On The Street Pt.1 | Tresor.260


“Night does not show things, it suggests them. It disturbs and surprises us with its strangeness. It liberates forces within us which are dominated by our reason during the daytime.”

Like Brassaï, Roger Semsroth has spent the last decade trawling the shadows and writing in the dark. But where the seamy streets of nocturnal pre-WWII Paris provided the canvas for Brassaï’s widely heralded photography, it’s the sonic sluices of post-war Berlin and from the self-contained netherworlds of the city’s underground techno nexus that Sleeparchive derives from. After spending five years stealthy developing the project through a series of bi-annual and hand-stamped set of releases, eked via his eponymous imprint, in 2011 Sleeparchive joined Tresor with ‘Ronan Point’—an EP of tracks constructed directly from material from Semsroth’s live set. Now comes more fresh works from the master of haunting, compelling minimalism in this first instalment of a two-part EP for the label.

Taking its title from one of Brassaï’s famous sequence of prints, ‘A Man Dies In The Street’ translates the eight snapshots of a man collapsing on a Parisian sidewalk (captured by Brassaï in 1932) into a chilling storyboard of subtle fluctuations, ebbs and monochrome tones. As ever the genius is in the reductive palette, that here Semsroth paints into a rich splay of emotions mimicking the initial anxious discovery of the body, the curiosity of the gathering crowd, the excitement and building anticipation through to an aggressive and pummelling sense of realisation on the close. But is it at the loss of life, or the loss of spectacle? As Brassaï toys with ambiguity in his photographs, Sleeparchive’s music is just as hazy, deep and full of shady nuances that, like treasure, only appear if you’re willing to keep probing.

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