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Team Sleep
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2005
Well, it took half a decade to come out, but finally, we can all enjoy the debut effort from Team Sleep, the side project of Deftones frontman Chino Moreno. It seems like forever that we've been all waiting for this softer-side of the Deftones to be released. Aside from a little bit of touring and a spot on 2003's "Matrix: Reloaded" soundtrack, it's been a dire situation for those interested. To be honest, with all of the bumps in the road and conflicting news, I am very shocked that I am able to hold this album in my hands and listen to it. But oh, how it has been worth the wait.

If you've been following this project since it's inception -- roughly around the time the Deftones released "White Pony -- you know what to expect here. Team Sleep is, essentially, the side of the Deftones that Chino Moreno can't really express without alienating some of his fanbase. For those of you who enjoy Deftones tracks such as "Teenager," "RX Queen" or "Lucky You": Welcome. This album is for you. Team Sleep is less riff rock, and more emphasis on ambience and electronics. Hell, some of this doesn't even sound like it came from Chino at that. Aside from songs like "Ever (Foreign Flag)" and "Blvd Nights," which will appeal to all or most, this is a very unqiue and challenging experience. Comparisons to The Cure and the Smashing Pumpkins have been made, and even noted as influences, but Team Sleep manage to find their own niche. You never quite know where this album is heading, and that's a good thing.

The most important thing, aside from the fact that this album, even upon first listen, is better than the last Deftones album, is that it was worth the wait. It's definitely different, and it takes a while to sit, but those who have an open mind will be rewarded. Just be warned: This is an album that's more directed at fans of "White Pony." For those who think Chino's vocals go best with Stephen Carpenter's hypnotizing riffs (and I agree), don't go looking for the next Deftones album from Team Sleep.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2005
Moreno has always experimented with some strange elements in his music, and that has made him different, at least, in my eyes. Being in the mainstream of music with the Deftones, some of those elements haven't been readily accepted by fans of the nu-metal genre. Team Sleep allows him to experiment more freely with personal styles. I think that a lot of his hardcore fans have definitely understood his creativity and uniqueness that has shown through with everyone album he's made. The earlier Deftones albums are unappealing to me, but tons of nu-metal and hardcore fans love them. I'd like to count them as trial and error records and label them under that category. White Pony was really the first record that made them, 'exploring the space', so to speak. You could definitely tell that their influences from great artists like The Smiths and My Bloody Valentine were shining. But the Deftones still maintained their own unique "spacey-heavy" feel. With Team Sleep, Chino sounds like he borrowed a lot from The Smashing Pumpkins, as they have covered "The Aeroplane Flies High" at the few live shows they've done. It also sounds like he's ready to make another Deftones record, with the adding of a DJ (Crook). I still hear The Smiths, even some Radiohead, Garbage, Pinback (of course), and Failure influences on the record.

This isn't the record of the decade, but fans have been patiently waiting for it for quite some time. So, I guess they are expecting perfect execution. Well, they shouldn't be disappointed with the track listing here. "King Diamond" and "Tomb of Liegia" sound like revised versions and remixes of some older Deftones songs where Chino used female vocalists to create conversation-like pieces. I think he likes using them to link songs on the record, showing an alternate side. ("Knife Prty" is one). Another song in particular that comes to mind is "Mx" on Around the Fur. That shares a very similar resemblance to "King Diamond" in my mind, except "King Diamond" is a more mature version of it.

For this "side project", Moreno chose Zach Hill to be his drummer. Now, I'm not a master of any instrument, but if you've ever watched the man play the drums in Hella, you will realize that he's the greatest drummer on the planet. No, I'm quite serious. He's extremely versatile and shows his best on the record. Chino also had Terry Date, who has produced other Deftones record to maintain a similar sound and feel on this one, and it works well.

The singer from Pinback, Rob Crow, makes appearances on this record in addition to Mary Timony on "Tomb of Liegia" and "King Diamond". Crow is the vocalist on "Princeton Review", "Elizabeth", "11 11", and trades off with Moreno on "Our Ride to the Rectory" and "Ever Since WW1". I think that he gives the record even further diversity. Crow provides a softer and gentler side to Chino's intensity.

"Blvd Nights" was my favorite from the demos without the lyrics, and it remains my favorite because of its brilliant intro and build to the chorus. I could listen to that forever. It doesn't have the complexity of some of the others, but it's extremely accessible. The whole album is, actually. There's nothing here that can't be initially enjoyed. There's nothing here that you won't listen to time and again. The beat to "Princeton Review" is entrancing and hypnotically ethereal. The "Natalie Portman" demo has been completely changed - I won't let you know how, though. That's part of the surprise. The demo of "Mercedes" is brilliant, but isn't on here, so I assume it has been scrapped... I didn't hear anything that sounded like it.

Try to find the demos before or after you pick up the album. I think it will broaden your listening experience and give you a perspective on which direction the band decided to take with some of the early demo songs. Some are basically unchanged; some are overhauled; some aren't there. All in all, it's my favorite record this year. It makes no mistakes. It's an intelligent, immensely intriguing and deep record.

Side project: hmm... yes.

Better than A Perfect Circle? Yes.

As successful? We'll see.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Typically this is the kind of album I would hate. I am an ex-metalhead turned Blue-rock, Jazz, prog-rock fan who plays guitar and thinks that just about anything electronic equals zero authenticity. OK, I dont mind a bit of electronic music here and there but I definitely don't take to it like a duck takes to water.

There was really only two reasons why I bought this album, 1. Because of Chino Moreno (like I said I used to be a total Westy Headbanger type) and 2. The album cover seemed kind of tragically cool in a sad, going nowhere kind of way (I have really got to stop making album purchases based on their cover art, totally stupid thing for an otherwise intelligent person to do).

And so I took it home and gave it a spin and sure enough I encountered music that seemed to me to be a dreary, electronic insomniac cure. But like all subtle, nuanced music that creeps up on you like a creeping death chilli dish (You know the kind of meal, at first you say, "Hey, this aint that hot" and then by the end of it your crying and sweating and screaming for yoghurt, "Somebody, anybody, get me some bloody yoghurt, I'M DYING HERE"), it started to grow on me.

Sometimes it takes a confluence of emotion, environment and music to really make a special moment and this happened for me the other day. I was passing over the Sydney Harbour Bridge on an overcast day looking out at the mist over the water, feeling as dreary inside myself as it was outside and I had Team Sleep playing on my discman and it all just came together. The perfect melancholic moment.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are feeling a little sad, if you are feeling a little lonely and it is a cloudy, gloomy day, whack on some Team Sleep and surrender to the groove of melancholy until your ready to slip into something a little more cheerful. You may as well make the most out of your moodiness and make an experience of it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2005
As with most people who learned about Team Sleep and either saw them or downloaded the bootlegged studio tracks, I have been waiting eagerly for this release for a number of years. And clearly the wait has been worth it.

"Team Sleep" stands to take the most criticism because of it's long conception time. The hype on this record is insane, and as a result it will no doubt get a lot of "wasn't what I was expecting"s, et cetera. Almost no record would be able to live up to this, and "Team Sleep" isn't an exception. Team Sleep are human and this is a human record. This is the first expectation you should drop before listening to this record. The second should be not to expect this to sound like Deftones (for those of you who haven't heard the Team Sleep bootlegs.) While some of that anxious Deftones vibe carries over, the songs are generally more trip-hop than rock based. There's SOME "heaviness" here, mostly in the way of live drumming. However, despite being frantic and energetic, these beats are still very much electronica-influenced.

Those songs that were among the leaked bootlegs and made this record are, of course, subject to the most scrutiny. Songs like "Tomb of Liegia," "Ever (Foreign Flag)," and "King Diamond" remain virtually untouched. They were simply cleaned up and recorded better, but the majority of the parts remain the same. However, "Live From the Stage" (formaly "Natalie Portman") has undergone significant changes. The familiar meloncholly clean guitar and Chino's pleading voice are covered in a wash of effects, and just when the fog seems to be lifting, the song suddenly turns into a wall of double-stop guitars and frantic breakbeat drumming similar to "Your Skull is Red" earlier on the album. I am split about this change - while I'm glad they refreshed one of my favorite (and equally overplayed) songs from the bootlegs, I miss the morose droning of the original.

The glaring omission of "Applonia" is my biggest problem with the record. "Computer! You're not a teammate on my team" was one of the hallmark mood-setting lines of Team Sleep for me. Still, it's possible that it, along with the Mike Patton feature "Kool Aid" (also a superb song) might still wind up as B-sides, so here's crossing my fingers, eh?

Fantastic record despite it's very small shortcomings. It's the only new release in the past few months besides "With Teeth" that I have been listening to on repeat. I highly suggest purchasing this album.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2005
Rating: A-

Wow, granted it has taken Chino like three or four years to finally release this side project which is more etheral, and ambient than any Deftones album ever put out, probably with the exception of White Pony which had its moments of melancholy bliss, (namely Teenager which was originally a Team Sleep track as well). The album flows together seamlessly thanks to the combined production values and just the whole feel of the music in general, each song is an excellent track and has a way of linking itself with the next track, making it just as smooth as the wind blowing through an empty graveyard on a dark cold night. With Chino giving up the mic on several tracks and letting others shine, namely Mary Timony and Rob Crow, who help out on a couple of tracks on the album, most notably Mary on The Tomb Liegia, a tribute to an Edgar Allen Poe poem, with echoes of murder, and one of the most catching beats and music on the album. It's like a collage of an artist who had so many songs that he didn't even kow what to do with, as the whole album is loaded to the brim with great tracks one after another. Most probably won't hear about this band until a few years from now when people will be like "Did you hear that side project from The Deftones" and people will be like "What? They did a side project?" Look at how many people have reviewed it already, and you tell me if this is not gonna be the cult underground classic of the year.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2005
Team Sleep creates a dream-like experience by taking the guitar and percussion style of alternative rock and mixing in ambience and haunting. Some moments are complex joining of musical elements, while others put emphasis on the vocals specific guitar/drum/electro rhythms. As a whole, they are wonderfully orchestrated.

The effect of The Deftone's Chino Moreno working with Team Sleep is, to me, parallel to Maynard James Keenan branching to A Perfect Circle. You get this familiar voice set to less abrasive yet melodic, high-emotion driven music. It reminds you of the core band, yet it fashions a distinctive sound.

Superior songs on this self-titled album are "Ataraxia" (soulful, awesome guitar riffs combined with piano and electronica); "Your Skull is Red" (beautiful with a sort of madness to it, especially from the drums); "Our Ride to the Rectory" (I love the way this builds), and "Ever Since WWI." The album also contains a few instrumentals, which are subtle and add much depth, so I usually skip them. The lyrics are often abstract but manage to create moods and even tell stories (such as the Poe-themed "Tomb of Liegia"). Instead of an angry Moreno, we get a pensive and morose Moreno.

Not all of Team Sleep's previously unreleased material is on this album, which disappointed many fans. But they should be patient--this album feels complete. It does, however, suffer a disjointedness. Songs will end abruptly and the styles shift dramatically. While this turned me off the first couple listens, I began to wonder if Team Sleep intended it to be this way. Was it due to rushed or lazy production, or was there no way around this? I can appreciate the transitions because once you hear them, your ears adapt to the former awkwardness and it just seems natural.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2007
One of the best albums I've heard in years. Team Sleep captures the hollow sound of Joy Division, but in a 21st century vibe. Nice beats...mellow vocals...this is a fine piece of work. Give us another album...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Team Sleep is a side project of Deftones frontman Chino Moreno, and is quite a bit different from the music of his well-known band. I had never been a big Deftones fan, but this album has really seduced me, and recieved high marks and heavy rotation....

Team Sleep is a more avant-garde, almost ambient/electronica album full of very tranquil grooves sometimes reminiscent of the softer side of Isis, and soothing, rhythmic percussion as well as washes of guitar and electronic effects which are quite atmospheric and soothing. The singing style on this project (both Moreno's and the vocals of other guest vocalists) is quite ethereal and compelling- certainly not "metal" in any way. Comparisons to Tool and perhaps Sparta would be appropriate, and there are moments of heavy guitar, but the surreal, dreamlike pull of the music definately tones them down. It comes across like a fusion of the "post modern" rock of Isis or Tool combined with electronica, ambient, and an alt-rock twist. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2006
Forget who comprises the members of this band, it matters not. Nor does it matter who produced or did any of the technical "behind-the-music" work for the album, it matters not.

What matters is listening to this CD really loud in headphones in the dark of your apartment, or on a long midnight cruise in fall or winter, preferably winter. You will then see what this album holds in terms of beauty and a unique vision that will transport you. Most reviewers list off band members and their previous bands, who cares. What matters is the music that is provided on this album. It is true art. Being a blend of Alternative Rock, Eletronic, Trip-Hop, Turntablism and to a lesser extent, Folk music, Team Sleep fills a large void in our music driven world. Their sound is transcendant and ethereal, and complete on a level that is rarely achieved today.

Each song is an epic journey in itself, and displays talent beyond commercialism. There is an energy on this album that is very hard to describe. To me, this album seems Neo-future, like from a way distant futuristic landscape. Music of the Post Appocalyptic age, I guess.

I beleive that many people will not like this album though, because this is not "norm" music. It is beautiful and artsy, experimental and trippy.

No matter how you feel it though, there is no denying that this album is truly artistic and full of truly talented musicians who know and understand music theory, as well as knowing many different musical genres. Each member is from another band, with the lead singer being from one of the most popular bands right now.

Team Sleep sound like nothing else you have ever heard. I highly recommend this album to those with an open mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2005
Let me start by saying that I like this album.. Let me qualify that by saying I love Chino Moreno's voice and vocal arrangement, and I'm a huge fan of the Deftones. However, for as long as this Team Sleep record was in production, you would have thought it would sound a little less rushed to market. Some of the songs have haphazard endings, unfinished sound quality, and weird bridges and transitions. I understand it's intended to be a more experimental release, but it reminds me a little of Stone Temple Pilots fifth album (Sangri-La-Dee-Da, or whatever) which sounded like it was recorded, mixed, manufactured and shipped all in the same 4-day work week. That's the downside. On the upside, there are about 4 or 5 really cool, quality songs on this album. I'll leave it up to you to discern which ones they are, but I definitely encourage you to buy this album.. I haven't looked up the name of the drummer who recorded for this album but he's flipping fantastic. Track number 11 has some of the quickest, richest, most original drum beats you'll hear on any rock song these days, and Chino stays pretty true to form with his powerful, intricate vocal arragement. All in all, Team Sleep is a pacifying, if not satisfying, appetizer to hold you over until the new Deftones record comes out late this year.
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