A record surely made with our Phil in mind. If anyone can get him to sleep it will be Max Richter. Richter has written what is thought to be the longest piece of classical music and you are supposed to listen to it when you are asleep - if such thing is possible. The work is being released in its entirety in digital form but of course you can't squeeze that onto CD or vinyl so these are one hour adaptations of the work. Certainly you'll need to be awake for the vinyl version otherwise the needle will just get snagged in the run out groove.
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Max Richter: culturally well-to-do classical man. His eyes-closed, his shirt unbuttoned, ready for the sun’s droopy eyelids to fall off the edge of the horizon. The Maxster, as Phil calls him: laying down chords as if he were laying them down on a mattress-buffered bed. Richie Richter, as Laurie calls him: ready to sleep, but more excited about the prospect than the action itself. In other words, here’s an hours’ worth of utterly soothing lullaby music from one of neo-classical’s most heart wrenching and devastating composers. Because it’s Max, there’s more melody than drone: even that six-to-eight hour silent period needs threnodies.
[At this juncture, I’d like to remind you that it’s Norman Records policy to write utter nonsense about every Max Richter release.]
The full version of ‘Sleep’, from which these fragments are swiped, goes on for eight hours: Richter, as if trying to still the world for one precious 9-5, has claimed that his intention was to stifle the speed at which things move. If you’ve ever gotten a tube through London, his motivations seem clear: not only could you listen to the lilting strings and repetitively thrumming chords of “Dream 3” before a nap, you could also float with them through busy main roads or fuming traffic. There’s a slow-motion melodrama running through these pieces, which is to be expected of Richter’s attempt at ambient: he’s made this record about sleep, but the record quotes one of the most overwrought moments in Shakespeare’s Tempest. As a contemporary classical droner, Richter moulds his sustained sounds into emotionally intense vignettes: the foggy violin holds of “Space 11” take after the recent work of Siavash Amini, foregrounding with pulverising darkened ambient while letting classical sounds wring out the tears.
[His heart full, Phil sheds a single tear onto the new Libertines record.]
Hearing these fragments out of context from the longform piece they belong to (and bear in mind, this is still an hours’ worth of material) isn’t as jarring as one might expect: these make for gorgeous standalone pieces, with “Path 19” invoking its own singular melody and overlaying it with peculiar, ominous strings that sound faraway from the the record’s quiet distillations, and “Dream 8” offering a gorgeous soprano performance from Grace Davidson. Richter may have made ‘Sleep’ at a purposely lethargic pace, but he’s still managed to make a record of versatile ideas: sleep, after all, is a lot of living. Can’t wait for the upcoming three minute record, Coffee.
10/10 Julie Hilliard Customer review, 10th October 2015
I purchased this CD after watching Max Richter on Breakfast TV. I work at a children's nursery and everyday the children have an afternoon sleep. This can sometimes be quite difficult trying to get at least ten children under the age of three to sleep. I put the CD on and just watched. The music was lovely and it helped the children to relax. Within twenty minutes all ten children were fast asleep. I kept the music playing whilst they all slept. They all slept a lot longer then they would normally do. A big thank you to Max Richter.
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