Von Sell's "Digital Sleep" encourages us all to shake off the stupor and think/feel for ourselves.

On "Digital Sleep," the luscious, dreamy second single from the New York/Hamburg/New York bedroom pop producer Von Sell sings,

"wake up,
lose my broken heart
I will prey no more
Just break away into the sea
with your feet in the clouds
going through this mesmerizing field of blue."



It's a tall order, a sonic evocation of the Buddhist concept of ahimsa, "do no harm," a bedroom dream pop vision of Primum Non Nocere, practiced by Doctors as part of the hippocratic oath and Androids under Asimov's Laws Of Robotics.

Of course, like the Buddhists realize, investigating the interconnectedness of all things, it's difficult to be a living being and not wreak some form of damage. "Life feeds on life," as Tool reminded us way back when on Undertow's "Disgustipated." Living life means leaving some form of footprint. A pure, blameless existence is only available in the realm of the abstract, the heaven of Pure Platonic forms.

Electronic music is particularly adept at conjuring these theoretical worlds, however, as synths, samplers, sequencers, and drum boxes are not beholden to the laws of acoustics. Oscillators and filters become the building blocks for a new (sonic) ecosystem, seemingly built on clouds in the case of "Digital Sleep."

Von Sell is an up-and-coming bedroom pop producer coming out of Brooklyn. Von Sell's tenure in this influential burrough marks a full circle, with music drawing him back to the states after an itinerant life. Von Sell was born in NYC, moved to Hamburg, Germany then off to Berlin, then back to the States to study at Berklee in Boston. Music has propelled Von Sell forward, pushing him back to where he started from. Perhaps he has good reason to sound so idealistic, so impassioned, on "Digital Sleep."

Musically, "Digital Sleep" sounds in-line with some of the 21st Century's finest bedroom art pop, most notably Grizzly Bear's first (and best) record Horn Of Plenty and Panda Bear's emotive Young Prayer. Like both, Von Sell turns his delicate teenage symphonies to God to the pursuit of an ethereal realm. It'll leave you floating - remember to tie a rope around your ankle.

We Are: The Guard admires Von Sell's purity and idealism. We hope he finds his pearlescent perfection, hopefully in this world as well as the next.


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.