LP Walkthru: Vancouver Sleep Clinic - Fallen Paradise
Take a deeper look at the stunning third album from Aussie indie r&b singer, songwriter and producer
Since making it as a finalist in the 2013 triple j Unearthed High competition and releasing his debut EP that same year, Tim Bettinson AKA Vancouver Sleep Clinic has been constantly working on his craft, as heard across a variety of media and platforms. Dropping albums Revival (2017) and Onwards to Zion (2019), supporting the likes of London Grammar, Daughter and Angus and Julia Stone, or featured on shows like The Good Doctor, Suits, Catfish and more, VSCs music oozes atmosphere and emotion, no matter the context it’s heard in.
New album Fallen Paradise is no exception, a record that saw VSC team up with producer Charlie Perry (Jorja Smith, BTS), resulting in ethereal soundscapes of electronic indie-pop and r&b vibes underpinning Bettison’s captivating, soaring vocals across the album’s 10 tracks. Upon listening to the music of VSC, particularly the new album, it’s no surprise to find out Bettison is a big fan of soundtracks, conceptualising music with visuals in mind. Tim expands on this saying “It’s almost like I’m trying to paint a different color palette. I’m trying to create a different mood and atmosphere with each song. When I write, I picture the colors I want to convey, what the visuals would look like.”
Out today, give Fallen Paradise a listen today, and find out the story behind each song with Bettison’s track-by-track breakdown below!
This song started as Charlie and I were just jamming on the piano and a microphone. I was instantly grabbed by the chords and the slow building & alluring nature began to form it in my mind almost indisputably as an opening album track. It took a while to put fully together and there was actually a long period of time when it wasn’t even going to make the final album cut, until day I rediscovered it in an old email and realised that the record just simply wasn’t the same without it!
Love You Like I Do
This song started with a chordal bass idea that Charlie was fiddling around with and again, I started to lay down some rough ideas over its bare form. Charlie is such an incredible musician, and I was having a ton of fun writing over the top of some more interesting progressions… it felt like I’d been given the keys to a whole new melodic city. Maybe the funnest part of this song process was tracking the drums with Charlie’s good friend Jos. He’s an incredible drummer, and with the drum kit being my first true love I was having a full fanboy moment watching him smash out some of those fills.
This song was maybe one of the simplest VSC songs ever put together. I think in total there might be only 6 or 7 elements throughout the whole song which was an oddly new and difficult challenge to me given my tendency to layer 14 different pad sounds with 12 different field recordings etc etc. However, I think it best literally reflects the connotation of the song of letting go, not over thinking things and surrendering to the natural ebbs and flows of life.
Probably the heaviest moment on the record and it came to me as one of the last ideas over the 4-month recording span. The album was recorded in a locked down London and although the experience of being cooped up in a studio in a foreign city for that whole time was almost a novelty at first - it started getting a lot harder towards the end and this is the song that came out of it. I wanted it to feel like a journey track and lyrically paint the image of the weary and ragged traveler that I felt like. There is actually also an 8-minute extended version which I aim to release later too.
Given Charlie’s talent and his beautiful Steinway piano I knew I wanted to have a raw piano moment on this album (ended up with two). This one came on a rainy London day, and we wrote most of the idea in one go. If you listen closely, you can actually hear the rainy ambience still in the background of the recording.
This song came about from an idea that Charlie had actually sent me around a year before we started to record, right around the start of lockdown. The pandemic for me embodied a dismantling of all that was known and comfortable to me and a long dark road into the new & unknown. This is the Fallen Paradise that the album would become based on,
This was the song that first brought Charlie & I together as collaborators for the record. I was in London a few years ago doing a bunch of sessions and I was nearing the end of a trip that I’d found almost completely uninspiring when I arrived at Charlie’s house, and we made Nightfall in a few hours. It was a reminder after such a frustrating few weeks how quickly and naturally something can and often should come together when the feeling & the vibe is right. The evolving and story-telling nature of the song instantly led me to believe that the two of us could put together a much bigger and wilder concept.
Charlie had put together this beautiful string arrangement at the back end of another song that we didn’t end up using, but I felt this moment was too special to not include on the album so we still managed to get in in there on its own!
Wanderlust started on the electric guitar and was such a fun song to make. Summer in London was just around the corner and instrumentally and lyrically it came to reflect that longing for the warmth of the outdoors & people that we had no doubt all been itching for towards the end of the cold and brutal lockdowns. I can also say for the sake of full transparency that this song entailed the most difficult part of the album process for me - which was recording and rerecording the 2 billion harmony parts that Charlie kept coming up with. I was absolutely toiling in that tiny little vocal booth for the best part of two days but hey you gotta do it for the art yeah?
Had to have one more piano song! Another idea that Charlie had sent me while I was in Australia and I wrote the lyrics over the piano loop. It always felt like a nice way to resolve and close a record and I was stoked to record it on his beautiful Steinway and vocal mic.
- Tim Bettison, July 2022