Ethan Helfrich, recording as Rest You Sleeping Giant, serves up a big cupful of guitar drones on his debut release, Peppermint Tea. This album makes for an excellent backdrop listen. Helfrich’s drones and washes are very quiet, moving slowly and gracefully. He layers in just enough distortion in spots to give it some texture and edge–the closing track, “Under the Desert Sun,” is a great example. It’s about the loudest the album gets as Helfrich piles on intense layers of harmony, yet it retains a calm overtone. There’s a lot of depth and dimension in these five tracks, and Helfrich does a great job of controlling their interactions. Everything feels balanced, with an organic growth and decay. The only small mis-step here is the abrupt start of “Those Who Come at Night With Dagger in Hand.” Feels like a blown edit, and it results in a jarring moment—all the more noticeable for coming at the end of almost 30 minutes of off-to-sleep drifts. Granted, what follows is the album’s most uptempo piece, an interesting break in the flow that gives us acoustic guitar in a post-rock, folk-inlufenced tune washed over with electronics. But the start could be smoother.
Peppermint Tea is a very good introduction to Rest You Sleeping Giant’s music, and I’m hoping to hear more soon. It’s very good ambient guitar, perhaps almost a bit too hushed in spots, but with the ability to quiet a room and change its vibe. Loop it a few times and see for yourself.
Available from Bandcamp.