Tim Woulfe, “Riptide”

Amelia Pitcherella

Some of the most delicate and elusive images and sounds play at the boundary between waking and dreaming. Philadelphia’s Tim Woulfe, who co-runs the label Apollonian Sound, seems to have taken it upon himself to catch some of these things and give them a home before they can slip from memory. “Riptide” narrates the first in a series of dreams that occur over the course of a night on Woulfe’s forthcoming full-length The Sleep Cycles, each of which is influenced in some way by the landscape in his home state of Rhode Island. This first dream follows “the cliche dream narrative,” Woulfe says. “That’s the one where you get lost.”

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In the video, we’re spun around and disoriented; everything comes in flickers. After Woulfe sings “I sunk in,” we plunge into a dream world that keeps us close in its gentle sway. Filmmaker Max Bayarsky leads us through a stunning and vivid dream in which time has no bearing. Krista Morgenson digs through the sand as if to uncover some mystery light source, then she’s pulled gently as if by threads along the shore and in the dirt before headlights. We’re drawn with her as she sleep-dances from the deep dark of night into either the close or break of day, and back to night. In the soft refrain of “It swallows you whole,” there’s something that both cradles and menaces. Its memory mingles at the song’s close with the crashing of waves and an eerie whistle which Woulfe says was recorded with a friend on an abandoned naval base in Prudence Island, RI. “We broke into an abandoned naval bunker that everything was removed from, and he just whistled and that’s how it sounded. I didn’t put any effects on it.”

The Sleep Cycles is due out February 26 through Apollonian Sound. In the meantime you can hear Tim Woulfe’s Riptide EP, which includes a new live recording of his 2014 song “Presence”.

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