Asleep, Audience "¦ Dream! is a band in the grip of evolution, and its latest release, "Agent Change: Masquerade, Deli Cuts, & Other Poppycock" surveys the varying faces of the group since its first four-track recording was laid to tape in 1990.
"Agent Change" sprawls over 26 tracks, a combination of unreleased material through the years that never made it onto another recording. The sound quality varies, as does the vibe with the most striking differences coming after the band pared down to three members from six as they lost members to the Starlight Mints and to the scheduling hardships of touring. The more compact unit allows Asleep to amp up the improved elements and veer deeper into the dark side of psychedelic rock. The group will continue to flesh out the new sound with a new demo set for release next year, and "Agent Change" will serve as a bridge to the act's earlier incarnation.
The group's John Walker said that while working as a three-piece can be sonically limiting, Asleep is afforded more flexibility on stage and in the studio.
"When you have six members, everything has to be worked out in a precise manner," he said. "When you strip down to a three-piece, you have more opportunities to present the tones in a more effective manner."
At times, the group parks it in the garage, taking cues from Pixies or The Replacements, specifically during the album's early tracks. The songs then space-out into instrumentals such as "Cosmic Pyramid," which could serve as the soundtrack to a trippy sci-fi movie or emerge during a jam-band festival. The album then wraps up with a handful of live tracks of more traditional indie rock fare, recorded at The Deli in Norman.
Asleep Audience "¦ Dream! will perform a $3 show with The Hex 10 p.m. Tuesday at the Hi-Lo Club, 1221 N.W. 50th. For more information, call 843-1722. "Charles Martin