Aiming to portray hypnopompia—hallucinations that occur while waking up—Vancouver pianist Matt Choboter has created an eight-part auditory suite that turns subconscious dreamscapes into musical exploration. Featuring clarinetist François Houle, guitarist Jacob Wiens, bassist James Meger, and percussionist Andrew Thomson, all of whom also add electronic impulses to Choboter’s preparations and drone collages, the result is compelling rather than disquieting.  
As they work with sequences of harmony and fragmentation, an undulating voltage hovers in the background, moving upfront to anneal or temper reed squeaks, string buzzes and strums, percussion rebounds, or piano key clips before retreating to simple oscillations. The two parts of “Converging Diverging” and its coda “Pagan Rainmaker” amplify with wave-form drones a climax that melds Houle’s clarion tongue slaps and Thomson’s drum rattles. This is after distended voltage programming has framed the clarinetist’s circular-breathed trills, developed in counterpoint to the pianist’s delicate key tickling, to create thematic variations without losing the introductory head.
Dramatic tone extensions with wailing guitar riffs and splattering keyboard runs ensure that interconnected textures are energetic as well as erudite. The most extended instance of this is “Sleep Inertia,” where billowing waveforms precede drum backbeats and disconnected guitar frails as reed tongue slaps propel a swing section, only to have the electronic and acoustic motifs flow together in the finale.
A production of waking imagination, Choboter’s hallucination examination is a realized musical dream, not a miasmatic nightmare.