Written By: Hayley Mierzwa
A first listen through “I Go Missing In My Sleep,” a new record from the artist Wilsen, will take you exactly where you want to go. When I think of sleep, I think of darkness and dreaming and unrestricted thought. From the very first track, “Centipede,” that’s what this album feels like. A light, wave-like electric guitar line mimics the gentle motion of falling asleep, but immediately melts into a deeper place, featuring bass lines that feel like a natural part of your dreams.
The entire album paints vivid and unexpectedly relatable pictures of the darkness and brilliance of dreaming. In “Garden,” a variety of percussive sounds feel almost like a heartbeat, giving a sense of consciousness before the abrupt ending drops you into sleep. As you settle into the style of finger-picked guitar lines and floating harmonies, you are pleasantly presented with a beautiful moment where the artist hums a melody line doubled by piano in “Heavy Steps.” This provides an excellent change in tone as you roll into “Otto,” which features a refined and unique guitar line, coupled with thick, picked electric guitar phrases.
My favorite part of the entire album is the relationship of the songs “Otto,” “Light Between The Leaves,” and “Dusk.” My immediate thought upon hearing “Light Between The Leaves” was that it was a great follow up to “Otto,” extremely well-placed in the song order as a sort of epilogue to the latter. As you begin listening to “Dusk,” you will connect the lyrics (“So I’m often told the dusk, it clears the way somehow/Light between the leaves is casting this town green”) back to “Light Between The Leaves,” and so it becomes evident that this short instrumental track serves well as both an epilogue and a prelude. This album is my first exposure to Wilsen, and this moment of fluidity in the middle of the record really strikes me as a sign of a highly-skilled songwriter.
As I came to the track named “Final,” I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I noted that it was not actually the final track of the record. This song is easily the most “naked” on the album, with rarely, or perhaps never, more than two to three things happening at once. By the end, I wished that it had been put as the very last track. The simplicity of it and the lack of percussion made it an excellent palette cleanser that would leave any listener refreshed at the conclusion. It gave me a sense of satisfaction and closure, which I then had to toss aside for the final track, “Told You.” Admittedly, I had a hard time doing so. This last song felt as though it was setting something up, which clashed with my own sense of finality. In hindsight, that’s sort of what it feels like to wake up from a dream – you often wish you had either woken up a few moments sooner at a good ending point, or a few moments later after you followed what that moment was building up to. And much like waking up and hitting snooze, I’d like to go back to the closure of “Final” over and over again.
Overall, this record is well-written, well-ordered, and well-named. I felt lost in a dream state from start to finish, which is exactly what I was hoping to feel, given the title. Wilsen delivers a vivid experience that touches parts of our daily lives we often don’t consider, making this a truly noteworthy album.