Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
The velocity at which forgetfulness occurs post-slumber is insulting. The tiny embers of flickered scenery and drifting nascence cool and pop out of existence like flashbulbs and tails of fireworks finales, robbed of their luminance with nary a discussion of what's best for everyone. Treated as unnecessary clutter or wistfulness, the images that float in the waters of our heads as we snore and shift, are barely worth talking about for so few of them actually exist in relationship to the number that they were accompanied by in the litter. The poor survival rate makes them ideal for writers looking to channel those parts of the thinking brain that rear their heads only when the blinds have been drawn, darkness has enveloped all and we just can't stand any longer. The body rests as the head takes a figment of that body through more places and predicaments than it could ever get to on its own, coasting over impossible trails, navigating shark-infested hornets nests, into and out of fights, into and out of arms and loves, and even into a secondary existence where the body that's already sleeping finds itself sleeping there as well. Make no mistake, when some thought goes into the workings of the whole dream world, it gets kind of trippy.
Markland Starkle, a London troubadour, is a scientist of these very brief swatches of things that never happened, things that never will happen. They aren't premonitions or visions, just waning echoes that somehow are as appealing as the most sparkling diamond. They are the lost gold of something that was never bequeathed to you in the first place, but for a few hours behind closed up eyelids, the gold was as tangible as anything else you've ever known in the waking world. Starkle is a slight young man, slumped and folded, rightfully haggard in the late morning hours - for even noontime is earlier than the acceptable. During the hours that he and his hastily assembled trio were in Rock Island, they were riding exhaustion to a new point, pumping themselves full of coffee they couldn't afford and getting to intimately know weariness. Starkle could carry the same look about him wherever he goes, though one day does not make a distinction or a certainty. He takes on a lazy daze that Jonathan Richman and Jens Lekman are known to slip into, assuming the sleepy, sleepy camper. He looks in a state of nearly constant rest - sleeper by day and sleeper by night. He admits to frustration for not having better retention - for not being able to call back the things that take wings during the physical down time -- of those dreams that he affords a high priority. One has to forget something to let something new in and it's not exactly positive if dream catching is a concept with weird, feeler, beacon traits. The smaller than normal nets are for the amateurs and the real professionals. There the Open Spaces, Starkle's newest project, is reliant on those clipped "memories" that may or not be seeping through the logic, though he'd rather they feathered their way into his lit orbs in high definition, not a weak or invisible signal.
"The Daytrotter session happened in the second week of our tour. Which also happened to be the third week since we, as a band, had first played together. My guitarist for the tour, Ashod, and I go back some years and we had often talked about how much fun it would be to do a tour together. He knew this girl, Dana, who played the drums and so last year we started to set the balls in motion -- I would fly from London (where I live) to Portland, Oregon (where Ashod and Dana live) a week or so before tour started and we would hole up for that week and get things down and then strike out on the road and have fun with whatever we came up with. And that's just what we did. The Daytrotter session we did is pretty rough and ready in a way that captures all the mistakes, inaccuracies, out-of-tune moments that come from a fledgling band hitting it. But Sleeping States has never been about perfection (if it was, then meeting my bandmates a week before the first show was probably not the best way to go about things). I'm much more interested in documentation. And for me these recordings document the beginnings of a tour that had a lot of fun times. Yay fun times.
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