Title - 'From Sleep'
Artist - Max Richter
For those not in the classical know, Max Richter is a German-born, British composer who has spearheaded a renewed interest in neo-classical composition and the convergence of contemporary classical and alternative popular musical styles since the early 2000s.
Richter is classically trained, having graduated in composition from the Royal Academy of Music and studied with Luciano Berio in Italy, but he is influenced equally by punk and popular forms of electronic music.
On of my favorite Richter albums was The Blue Notebooks, which was his second solo album (2004), and where that lay somewhere between minimal music, movie soundtracks, ambient and trip-hop, the acclaimed British composer has now written a new landmark recording: Sleep. The album is 8 hours long, I kid you not ie: the equivalent of a nights rest and is actually, and genuinely intended to send the listener to sleep. "It's an eight-hour lullaby," says its composer, Richter.
That said, the CD edition that I am reviewing today for you is, sadly, only the 1-hour edition, entitled, From Sleep. Following along at home with Richter's titling logic? Good, than I shall indeed continue. This ground-breaking new work is scored for piano, strings, electronics and vocals, but no words. It's a personal lullaby from a talented composer for a frenetic world, that's for sure. Indeed, some might even say a manifesto for a slower pace of existence.
1. Richter: Dream 3 (in the midst of my life) - Ben Russell and Max Richter and Yuki Numata Resnick 10:03
2. Richter: Path 5 (delta) - Grace Davidson and Max Richter 11:14
3. Richter: Space 11 (invisible pages over) - Ben Russell and Brian Snow and Caleb Burhans and Clarice Jensen and Yuki Numata Resnick 5:15
4. Richter: Dream 13 (minus even) - Ben Russell and Clarice Jensen and Max Richter and Yuki Numata Resnick 8:52
5. Richter: Space 21 (petrichor) - Ben Russell and Brian Snow and Caleb Burhans and Clarice Jensen and Yuki Numata Resnick 4:47
6. Richter: Path 19 (yet frailest) - Ben Russell and Max Richter 7:50
7. Richter: Dream 8 (late and soon) - Ben Russell and Brian Snow and Caleb Burhans and Clarice Jensen and Grace Davidson and Max Richter and Yuki Numata Resnick 11:53
Richter came up with the idea as he has always been fascinated by the process of sleep. "As a child, it was my absolute favorite activity. I often think of composing as a daydreaming activity and, if I could, I would sleep for 23 hours a day," he explains. "It's one of the most important things we all do and for me its almost like a religion."
During his preparations, Richter consulted the eminent American neuroscientist David Eagleman, in order to understand the mechanisms of the sleeping mind, and the ways in which music can interact with them, which has directly influenced the composers writing.
In closing, and for me personally, I love every second of From Sleep and will absolutely be adding it to my regular play rotation when I want something to fill a room, but not be too distracting. Indeed, I shall investigate the 8 hour CD version also! I usually have trouble falling asleep if there is music playing, but I can fall asleep to this. So, if you are the type of person that does like to fall asleep to music, then this album is perfect for you, trust me!