In a weird way, insomnia is like a club. An exclusive collection of people who share a version of a psychedelic experience. Sleep deprivation has been shown in studies time and time again to lead to hallucinations and altered mental states. And where there are altered mental states, there is new territory to explore and things to learn. Insomnia may initially feel like a general dulling of the senses but those who experience it regularly are transported to a place where their mind operates differently, for good or ill. A waking dream state, living and observing while the rest of the city slumbers. It may be borderline torturous but there is a certain magic that lives there.

The latest release from Brooklyn-based electronic producer Paul Feder explores that mental space along with other dreamy auras which we pass through in our day to day. Armed with 80s and early 90s synths, Feder creates a soundscape that is part driving and present and part fuzzy and distant. His voice morphed by vocoder blends in and out of the evolving synth lines to create airy, flowing tracks. This EP reflects on the anxiety, coping behaviours, and losses that happened during the pandemic. The record is dedicated to Paul’s father Jack Feder who passed away in December 2022 and was a source of encouragement and inspiration for him.

The title track sets the tone for the release, placing the listener in a sort of Wonderland incurred by restlessness. Keys climb and fall in triumphant arpeggios as other synths whir in the background creating a misty aura. A persistent beat, like clockwork, keeps the protagonist from their respite. Feder repeats “I will never go to sleep” as filters comb through his dazed refrain. The overall mood of the track is light. Unlike some bouts of insomnia, this one seems to not get too deep into introspective darkness.

‘Home’ wistfully morns the reliability of the past with a certain trepidation for the future. The howls of digital beasts out in the cybernetic jungle call out through the sparse soundscape. Feder’s mournful mantra is a testament to the inevitability of change, despite our strongest desires for stability. On the closer ‘Wonderful Day’, Feder populates a familiar descending motif with a train conductor’s message that acts as an invitation to find your way back to a healthy place. Post-traumatic aftercare.

Paul Feder’s Never Sleep touches on dark themes but wraps them in a nebulous cloud of warm analog synthesis. An album that will resonate with anyone dealing with stress-related sleep issues or the loss of someone close. The lyrics are minimal but powerful, repeating thoughts in the way that an insomniac would relive ideas throughout a sleepless night.


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