On their new EP Us, Upon Sleep, Toronto-based married couple and musical partners James Keith Norman and Beck Norman create lush, sweeping soundscapes that exist somewhere between wakefulness and dreaming, conjuring imagination, intimacy, and sense of poignant romance. Their first single, “Us, Wandering Wide Asleep” evokes a shimmering, windy snow-covered prairie that somehow isn’t cold. Check it out on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DUHo6RQ0Pc&feature=youtu.be
And then suddenly you’re running – joyfully, with no destination in mind as the sky changes colors and sleep envelopes you fully, and you realize that you don’t want to leave.
The five neo-classical music cuts on Us, Upon Sleep feature brief movements to simulate, and stimulate, dream-like imagery, and the spoken-word interludes on two of the tracks also suggest a sleep state. On “I Swear I Saw You Today,” Beck Norman uses her gentle voice to evoke the ache of a memory, or maybe just something imagined:
I swear I saw you today.
Leaving a car.
Running up great steps and into a house.
But that couldn’t be right, could it?
I never actually told you how I first saw you.
But it doesn’t matter, does it?
We’re here now and as long as I don’t wake up, we’re together.
“To us, the most important part of the EP is that it invites listeners to create their own visions of what’s going on,” explains Beck. “So, each time they listen, there’s the potential for it to be a different experience.”
Like their previous album Love In Times Of War, Us, Upon Sleep was mixed and mastered in London, UK by Grammy-winner Matt Lawrence. The album’s cover art was created by playing around with brand-new technology. “Beck saw AI as another way to create artwork, and after hours and hours of learning and experimenting, she created a fantastic image that we’re using not only for the EP’s cover art, but have adapted for videos,” says James.
Listen on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/track/3BHUieAwpow2T3M7IUOdGI?si=d5e263d4d3a44e2b&nd=1
Beck and James have been creative partners almost as long as we’ve been married, and that’s decades. This new EP is their latest collaboration and part of a history that includes a published novel, running an award-winning audio-marketing agency, and 10+ years’ worth of music.