Sleep Music

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Somnium is a seven-hour album on a DVD-video and is based on Robert Rich’s sleep concert series of the early 1980’s. Like those concerts, the music on this album was composed to influence the dreams and pre-REM hypnogogic visions of the listener.

When you play Somnium at night, you may find that you sleep less deeply, and wake up more often. The idea is to let the music incorporate itself into your perceptual framework during the night, to create a sonic surround, an environment for unique states of consciousness. The music is aimed at the nebulous territory that exists in your mind when you are hovering between awake and asleep, when you are still aware of your environment, yet detached, when your half-sleeping mind wanders into the realm of hypnogogic images and dreamlike non-linearity. You might find that this music can act as a trigger for these flowing thoughts, and the activation of the environment around you can help you to skate around the edges of sleep, with one foot in the dream world and one foot in the room where you are sleeping.

One of the more interesting recordings for Somnium took place in a lab at Scripps Oceanographic Institute, where an acquaintance was studying a species of tropical fish that creates audio fequency electrical oscillations from its skin. We placed about 16 fish in a bucket with three differential electrodes (positive, negative and reference), plugged into a battery powered Grass medical preamp designed for EEG. With the output of the preamp plugged directly into the portable DAT, we recorded a cloud of slowly shifting drones. Each fish emits a unique frequency as a sort of territorial marker, and as the fish lazily circulate around the bucket, individual tones become louder or softer in a very nonhuman slow motion symphony.

  • Search for places to buy (or download) Somnium on Google.

Liner notes and listening tips


Posted: May 13, 2009


Category: Music

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