George Sarah: Who Sleep the Sleep of Peace

Who Sleep the Sleep of Peace manages to transcend music and elevate itself into forward-thinking art, and that's something we could use much, much more of.

George Sarah

Who Sleep the Sleep of Peace

Label: Pusan Music Group
US Release Date: 2012-04-17
UK Release Date: 2012-04-17

George Sarah has achieved something that has proved to be increasingly elusive lately in creating an album that feels not only original but goes beyond mere curiosity. There's been an abundance of music lately that's been slapped with the tag original but it hasn't stood the test of time that well. On first glance, it appears unique and refreshing and occasionally challenging. People become fascinated with these records but then they abandon them after a short while. Who Sleep the Sleep of Peace has many of the attributes of those releases but seems better poised to stand the test of time due to how accessible it is in the way it presents itself.

The electronic-classical hybrid certainly isn't a new idea, but the way its presented here feels overwhelmingly unique. George Sarah seems to have tapped into his own distinct style and its arrived at the perfect crossroads between the best of electronic, experimental, and classical. In injecting the classical orchestral elements, Who Sleep the Sleep of Peace is heavily imbued with a sense of personality and the human element that's most often missing from electronic music. In a year that's offered up blunt boring standards and attempted statements from figureheads like Steve Aoki and Paul Van Dyk, a record like this feels downright revolutionary. While those artists were too busy and too self-involved in their own pasts, George Sarah already seems to have arrived in the future, which is much more interesting terrain.

Importantly, this album realizes early on how to perfectly complement the various styles at play and that most certainly doesn't include the annoyance of the same pulsating 4/4 beat that dominates damn near every electronic/dance album, and takes its signature cues from people like Jon Brion instead. "Cloudy" actually sounds like it could have been lifted directly from Brion's original score work for Where the Wild Things Are, which is high praise. Not only does it prove George Sarah's talent as a composer but it also sets an early high water mark for the album that he consistently tries to topple but never quite can. Fortunately, most of his attempts come within inches of surpassing it, creating tension that keeps the listener on their toes.

Who Sleep the Sleep of Peace is at its absolute best when the classical influence takes priority over the electronic influence but at its truest when the two meet in the middle and balance each other out perfectly. At a bloated running time of 76 minutes, it's incredibly impressive that the record never really loses momentum. It's compulsive and its transformations provide for truly fascinating moments that consistently reward attention. Trying to dissect the individual parts of Who Sleep the Sleep of Peace and separating them out becomes a time-consuming challenge but only ends up proving how good of a composer and mixer George Sarah truly is.

While Who Sleep the Sleep of Peace may not be a perfect record, it tries to be and it damn near pulls it off, creating something incredibly powerful and singular in its vision. With moments like "Tomorrow Never Came" and its battling melancholy strings and frantic, near-schizophrenic electronic battles creating a simultaneously beautiful and terrifying contrast. Unfortunately, the most standard, most boring, least original, and most electronic-heavy track "Drag Ass" is saved for last, dulling the impact of the rest of the album with its nine-minute run-time that all but erases the brilliance of prior tracks from memory. Apart from that horrendously misguided misstep, Who Sleep the Sleep of Peace manages to transcend music and elevate itself into forward-thinking art, and that's something we could use much, much more of.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.