Max Richter’s 8-hour album/dreamscape was the thing I listened to most last year – I say ‘thing’ because the gentle, gorgeous 8-hour sprawl caught me, deer in headlights, at times, other times it lulled me back to sleep, or sent me off to sleep, sometimes I chose to listen to almost all the way through as soundtrack for a working day, but most often I caught bits of it – and never the full thing – in bits of the night, different bits. And pieces.
Here some of the pieces from the album have been remixed by Mogwai, Clark, Jurgen Muller, Marconi Union and Digitonal’s Theo in Dreamland. It’s a fascinating – and worthy – experiment/experience. This isn’t for sleep. As Mogwai’s big-boom sound across the slow-building Path 5 should announce.
But the motifs from the original work are there. And worked around. And worked back into the mix. The stirring soprano voice of Grace Davidson in particular is central here. Once again. Here soft siren calls peak out in and around the work from Mogwai. And then resurface as Clark moves through deep ambient lush to arrive at something probably closest to what Richter makes but still with enough of the remix-spin to it. The same is true for Digitonal’s Theo In Dreamland – all three mixes of Path 5 serve to merely push this piece out in a new way, adding new paths if you like, sending it in new directions.
Jurgen Muller’s lengthy look at the weepy-eyed Dream 3 give a hovering shimmer of solace – making it suddenly ready to soundtrack a sci-fi film, or the calm after the storm in a horror. Gorecki-like it builds – allowing Richter’s piano strides their full glory but layering an extra texture atop.
Marconi Union’s remix of Dream 13 is probably the least like anything on the original but also one of the calmer pieces here. A lovely stroll through textural ambience once again.
Sleep Remixes doesn’t require you to know or love the original version/s – I could imagine a fan of ambient electronica climbing on board and digging this straight away.