MIMO - When Music is Your Fix

Raffertie “Sleep Of Reason” – Album Review

Ninja Tune (2013)

Previously a go-to remixer for the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Wild Beasts and Wolfgang, a grimey dubstep whiz kid and a student of classical music, London-based singer/producer Benjamin Stefanski, aka Raffertie, continues his chameleon-like career approach by venturing into avant-garde electro-soul for his full-length debut album, Sleep Of Reason.

Inspired by a childhood growing up in a remote English coastal town, the majority of the album’s thirteen tracks inevitably make for an insular and desolate listen, whether it’s the ominous sci-fi drone of opener “Undertow,” the train-track rhythms, ice-cold synths and anguished cries of “Last Train Home” or the hushed maudlin lullaby of “Trust.”

Raffertie’s relentless misery-wallowing might come from a deeply personal place, but there are times when Sleep Of Reason sounds like it’s aping someone else’s blues. The eerie sound effects and off-kilter piano chords of “Window Out” could easily be an out-take from James Blake’s impenetrable debut, while the shadow of The xx looms heavily over the echo-drenched guitars and slow-motion beats of “Rain” and “Known.”

However, when the 26-year-old adds a pop edge to all his doom and gloom, the album wakes from its slumber. Joining in with the current renaissance of 90s R&B, “Build Me Up” is a clever interpolation of Mariah Carey’s “Dream Lover” which combines the original’s sunny melodies with a thick fog of swampy electro beats and elasticated synths.

The most uptempo number, “Touching,” perversely provides the record’s biggest emotional impact as Raffertie admits to an obsessive love over a tetchy blend of two-step garage and solemn church organs. Elsewhere, “Principle Action” blends the pitch-shifted witch house of the in-vogue duo he helped to discover, AlunaGeorge, with an array of tribal chants that appear to have escaped from The Lion King soundtrack.

A couple of late excursions into widescreen post-rock suggest Raffertie will once again change direction for album number two. But in the meantime, Sleep Of Reason is a solid, if sometimes derivative, attempt to present himself as a bleak and introspective soul crooner.


3 / 5 stars     

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

Tagged: , , ,
Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music


No Comments