Don’t worry, this isn’t some random recommendation to visit a centre for treating sleep disorders in a coastal Canadian city. If you haven’t heard of Vancouver Sleep Clinic yet, let me enlighten you. The adopted moniker of Brisbane’s Tim Bettinson, is an atmospheric pop project interweaving soaring falsetto vocals with ethereal R&B production to create an ambient backdrop of electronic beauty.
Vancouver Sleep Clinic is younger than you, more talented than you and probably has more girlfriends than you. Like 10 or 12 or something.
We first heard of Vancouver Sleep Clinic a while back when we interviewed him for Happy last August. Since then, the immensely talented 17-year-old has played supporting slots with London Grammar, Daughter and The Naked and Famous as well as a debut showcase at Austin’s SXSW festival this year.
As if that’s not enough, the rave reviews for the indie folktronic singer’s newly released debut EP don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The six-track Winter EP is a stunning first offering from Bettinson, a collection of powerful emotion and wandering nostalgia, evocative of the chilly Canadian landscape from which the airy soloist drew inspiration.
Vancouver Sleep Clinic first landed on the scene last June with first single Vapour, an atmospheric soundscape of introspective melancholia framed by delicate samples and an intricate guitar refrain, skilfully followed by the slow-burning, quietly sombre Collapse.
Not to sound like a broken record, but the Bon Iver comparison just has to be made. It’s uncanny how similar the young Aussie and the American indie folk heavyweight sound, but Vancouver Sleep Clinic is a little more youthful, raw and a fraction less depressing. However latest release Flaws catapults the ambient-folk artist into a league of his own, conveying minimalism with wistful restraint.
Unifying gentle guitar, ambient synthwork and pattering percussion, Flaws is a seamless balance of electronic and acoustic, with not a flaw in sight.
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It looks like Vancouver isn’t the only thing Canadian that Bettinson is a fan of. The result of a collaboration between Vancouver Sleep Clinic and fellow Aussie producer GXNXVS (give his Lately Remix EP a spin!), Hold On We’re Going Home (below) is the brightest jewel in the treasure chest of dime a dozen Drake covers. They take the Canadian crooner’s 2013 smash-hit, reworking it into a spine-tingling, silky smooth track that will pervade your senses.
It’s awash with downtempo, emotive bass, echoing vocals and layered beats, indicative of GXNXVS’ experimental, electronic R&B, Shlohmo-like influence. Vancouver Sleep Clinic is the only artist I’ve ever heard do a Drake song justice and I love Drizzy, so that’s saying a lot. After you listen to Vancouver Sleep Clinic’s Hold On We’re Going Home, it’ll become clear that this isn’t just your average cover, it’s an entirely new track of its own.
Having seen him perform at 170 Russell last month, if that set is anything to go by, I can tell we’ll be seeing big things from Vancouver Sleep Clinic. A promising young artist to watch in 2014, Bettinson is currently working on his debut LP. Winter is out now through Create/Control.
Vancouver Sleep Clinic is currently on his first headline tour to support the release of debut EP Winter with special guest, Wafia – dates below:
Friday, 30th May
Goodgod Small Club, Sydney
Saturday, 31st May
Shebeen Bandroom, Melbourne
Sunday, 1st June
Shebeen Bandroom, Melbourne
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