I suffer terribly with extremely uneven sleep patterns. My nights are sometimes days and vice versa, I try to grab a nap whenever I can to keep my batteries topped up but I do like a little music playing to help me along. This can be a frustrating exercise though, pick the wrong album and I’ll be up in five minutes to change it for something else. The volume has to be just right too – loud enough to hear but quiet enough so as not to disturb the desired slumber. I do however have a good selection of LPs that fit these criteria quite well and so I thought I’d share a few of them with all you insomniacs out there. Are you a fellow sufferer with a sonic trick up your sleeve? Please let me know in the comments;
Stars Of The Lid – The Tired Sounds Of Stars Of The Lid
2001 – Kranky
The heavyweight champions of somnambulistic drone, Stars Of The Lid have ploughed an increasingly drowsy furrow since their first release back in 1995. This LP was something of a pinnacle in their development, an expansion of their oeuvre into a hefty two hour suite of interconnected, languid drones. This is music that sounds more like dust motes caught in the still, bright sunlight of an early summer’s morning or an inexorably advancing, tenebrous mist. I have listened to this album literally hundreds of times since its purchase and never cease to be moved by its glacial splendour whether slowly falling asleep or simply unwinding after the rigours of the day. Quite simply put, the aural equivalent of Valium but infinitely more enjoyable.
Motion Sickness Of Time Travel – Self Titled
2012 – Spectrum Spools
I’ve been a huge fan of Rachel Evans’ work since discovering an early Motion Sickness LP some years ago and have amassed a large collection of her work. She is extremely prolific releasing many albums each year but her quality control never seems to dip. I’ve chosen this album as it works out at a single track per side, four slabs of oozing, soporific beauty. Across ninety minutes of playing time, Evans utilises synths, guitars and her own fragile voice which is usually doubled-tracked and bathed in a glowing reverb. There’s definitely something of the Berlin School about parts of the LP but these four long, spaced out tracks are clearly her own creations. An album to bathe and wallow in as you soak up the sounds like a myriad of tiny fizzing soap bubbles. This could be prescribed by your doctor as an alternative to a sleeping tablet.
Klimek – Dedications
2007 – Anticipate Recordings
Sebastian Meissner crafts a beautifully meditative LP using heavily processed sounds sourced from electric and acoustic guitars before applying all manner of laptop trickery. Sometimes the guitars are replaced by pianos in soft focus, frayed and blurred at the edges. Sparse drones appear and disappear, crackles, buzzes and the humming of electricity are all present but never overpowering. I’ve listened to this album many times in a number of different states and it never ceases to have a calming effect on me. It’s no coincidence that Meissner’s previous LP was titled Music To Fall Asleep. A wonderful record to drift away to.
Jürgen Müller – Science Of The Sea
2011 – Digitalis Recordings
This album was initially released by Digitalis under the guise of an archival private press LP made by a German oceanic scientist in the late 1970s. The faintly new agey synth arpeggios drifting across faintly pulsing rhythms were supposed to reflect Müller’s love of the sea as he recorded his music on a houseboat in the town of Heikendorf. This back story has now been revealed to be nothing but a hoax, but the music still remains incredibly evocative of a certain period in time. There’s a faint, coastal whiff of Ghost Box/Open University about these tracks that ebb and flow through modulated synth washes, waves lapping, fish shoaling. It’s a beautifully made record which keeps its watery mood throughout and I for one don’t care when it was recorded or who by. It’s a gorgeous piece of dropping off kit that I rarely reach the end of before I’m asleep which is absolutely no slur on this fine record.
Belong – Colorloss Record
2008 – St. Ives
Ok, so I’m tossing in a cheeky EP after the above three albums but only because listening to the four cover versions of 60s tracks contained within its grooves is akin to being rolled up in a thick duvet and placed near a window where a band are playing in the distance behind a blanket of fog after the drummer has gone home. This whole release is wrapped up in so much soundproofing that only the bearest minimum of sound leaks out. Forget lyrics or chord changes, this is a twenty minute blur of gorgeousness that I tend put on repeat for at least an hour. Nothing about this LP says anger or aggression despite the fact that it’s essentially a heavily guitar-driven record. It simply strokes your fringe away from your eyes, kisses your forehead and says “night night”.
Sleep well fellow insomniacs, sleep well…