Gabriel Bruce ‘Sleep Paralysis’

Art & Culture

Gabriel Bruce’s debut ‘hybrid book and record release’ Sleep Paralysis / No Love Lost is out December 5th on Off Modern Records.

‘At home in the record box or the bookshelf’ The fifty page book features three different paper stocks, colour photos, a variety of different printing methods, a card cover, facsimile of rare writings on Sleep Paralysis and work from the artist himself. The cover is hugged by a belly band, available in scarlet, royal blue, sapphire or mandarin.

We caught up with Will from Off Modern – the label and collective putting it out –  for a few words on their release.

To the unitiated, briefly describe Off Modern, its aesthetic and what it stands for?
Off Modern is a collective of creative people with five core members and many collaborators. We began working together on art and music events while at university at Goldsmiths/ Camberwell, we wanted to give people a platform to show art, create a discourse and also have a good party – there weren't enough of them believe it or not!

Did you always want Off Modern to be something that was involved in a range of cultural output or have you just chosen to take oppurtunities that led you towards these areas?

Our output reflects our interests, and over the years it has reflected how our interests have changed. We still promote art and music and the work of people we find interesting but the way we do this is different, we're now promoting new musicians as we did at our clubnight but we're doing it in a more tangible way – by releasing their music.


Now that you've got your first physical release on the way, I was wondering if it's always been part of 'the plan' to grow into this area, or has it happened organically and you guys have just gone with it?

A few of us have been interested in starting a label for a few years, it's difficult for five people to have a 'plan' because we all share in the name together and not all of us want to take things in one particular direction. 

Gabriel Bruce – Sleep Paralysis by Off Modern


Let's talk about Gabriel Bruce. How did you come across the man and why do you feel he fits with the Off Modern ethos?

Gabriel is someone I've known for many years, he approached me asking if he could release a book of poetry through Off Modern. Around the same time he played me some of his demos and my head was turned, so to speak.


Why haven't you comissioned 6000 remixes for the single like every other label does?

Do indie labels do this? I guess we've released a 50 page book instead of eeking out a load of difficult sounding remixes.


Coming to the book that the release is housed in. Can you tell us a bit more about phenomenon of sleep paralysis that the book explores and the track draws the title from?

Sleep Paralysis is a human phenomenon we know very little about, rather like deja vu. It's not something I've suffered myself but obviously from making this book with Gabriel I understand a little more about it than I did before. It's a kind of half awakening, a dream that seems so lucid that it's real; you dream that you're paralysed in bed and can't move and believe that you are to remain in this state forever. The soul is in limbo, a state of coma you can describe.


Let's talk about the typographical possibilities of arrangement and Dada’s cut-up technique that were popularised later by everyone from Burroughs to Bowie.  How does the book use these elements?

Without giving too much away about the book, yes it does. The book features cuttings and ephemera of peoples recollections of the sensation, sourced by Gabriel. I wouldn't call it a factual book though, the technique of cutting the text up, interrupting it and coupling its sequences with design and pictures renders its effect in the realm of the poetic. For example, reading a graphic novel is different to reading a short story; you open the page, your eyes pick up elements of the story from across the page and your brain pieces them together as you read left to right. The book has the same effect, it offers a unique reading experience.


Was putting out records something you guys felt like you knew what you were doing with or were there moments of insecurity when putting together this release?

Many moments of insecurity and lots of learning, as with anything new.

Have a little listen to the rather wonderful sounding release above. Below that there's a selection of images from the book. Enjoy and I'd go hunt a copy down when it comes out next week if I were you. Sleep Paralysis is available to pre order for a special discounted price via the Off Modern shop.