British musician Max Richter has composed an eight hour classical album with the full intention of helping you to nod off.
Sleep, which is available as as a digital album, has been composed using strings, gentle piano and soft vocal sounds, all designed to calm and soothe the mind.
“It’s my personal lullaby for a frenetic world,” the composer says of his newest masterpiece. “Sleeping is one of the most important things we all do.”
Describing the album as a ‘manifesto for a slower pace of existence’, Richter hopes his composition will act as an eight-hour lullaby to see struggling sleepers through a whole night of peaceful rest.
Talking to deutschegrammophon.com, Richter explains that the hectic nature of modern society inspired him to explore the archives of durational classic music, with the hope of finding something to help promote relaxation.
“This isn’t something new in music, it goes back to Cage, Terry Riley, and LaMonte Young, and it’s coming around again partly as a reaction to our speeded-up lives – we are all in need of a pause button.”
While the origins of Sleep may not be new however, the way in which Richter plans to debut the album certainly is. Later this month he will take to a stage in Berlin, surrounded by beds where the audience will be able to relax as he plays.
Reinventing the idea of slumber parties, the performance will kick off at mid-night and close at 8am. Concert goers will encouraged to snooze.
“Somehow in Europe over the last century, as complexity and inaccessibility in music became equated with intelligence and the avant-garde, we lost something along the way,” says Richter.
“Modernism gave us so many stunning works but we also lost our lullabies. We lost a shared communion in sound. Audiences have dwindled. All my pieces over the last few years have been exploring this, as does Sleep.”
“It’s a very deliberate political statement for me.”
The eight-hour Sleep album is available to buy and download from deutschegrammophon.com, along with an edited one hour version.
In the meantime, try this sample released by Richter on YouTube...