May Fall Presents “Sleep”

Sleep is a great mystery. A necessity so fundamental in the human experience, to a point that after enough hours of awakeness any one would surrender to sleep’s powerful grip, and get sucked into its magnificent promise like a black hole. Sometimes paralleled to a short visit to the infinite void or to the afterlife, sleep can offer a tempting, comforting, and pleasant getaway from reality, an opportunity to shut down and experience an adventure that waking life doesn’t afford — a kind of unearthly excitement that can only be reached through the imagination.

And leaps of imagination have never been a problem for May Fall. The Tel Aviv indie/alt/synth-pop singer-songwriter has always been an expert sound-scaper: his recordings shimmer with dreams’ beauty, terror, and mystery. Though most writers don’t stop to wonder about something as mundane as sleep, May Fall is fascinated by it, drawn to the infinite depths of subconsciousness. As is true about many of his thoughtful songs, “Sleep” is the product of an intellectual inquiry — a candid look at sleep as refuge, sleep as introspection, and sleep as escape. He’s matched his reflections to heart syncopating beats that carry ethereal harmonies toward a cathartic chorus, sung in a voice that communicates the yearning to a beautiful descent to the dark side.

“Sleep” is the mesmerizing centerpiece of Submerge, May Fall’s second EP. Like lead single “Determinist,” which was released to critical acclaim in September 2023, it’s a turn inward — a surveying of the territory of the mind. Even if it sounds as tasty as a new wave classic, this is cerebral music. May Fall demonstrates an unerring ability to make psychological topics feel as urgent and intoxicating as anything in modern pop.

To amplify the themes of “Sleep,” video director Thanos Kallianiotis needed a dream-drenched location, and he’s found one in Thessaloniki, the ages-old Greek city on the northern shores of the Aegean Sea. Kallianiotis’s lens finds May Fall in the shadow-shrouded rooms of a centuries-old house. With his videography wizardry, Kallianiotis creates captivating visuals that bring dreams to life, perfectly matching the musical and thematic atmosphere. May Fall’s subtle performance captures the lure of slumber, the dread of wakefulness, and the creeping madness of the insomniac. In one beguiling and unsettling shot, an alert May Fall sings to a May Fall who is slumbering in a chair. The first version slowly turns his head to face the camera — and all at once, the second May Fall wakes up.

Photography By Adam Oscar

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