I'll Sleep When You're Dead

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I'll Sleep When You're Dead
Studio album by El-P
Released March 20, 2007
Recorded 2005–2006
Genre Hip hop, industrial hip hop
Length 55:07
Label Definitive Jux
DJX137
Producer El-P
El-P chronology
Collecting the Kid
(2004)
I'll Sleep When You're Dead
(2007)
Cancer 4 Cure
(2012)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars 2007
Drowned in Sound (8/10) 2007
Entertainment Weekly (B+) 2007
The New York Times (favorable) 2007
Okayplayer (95/100) 2007
Pitchfork Media (8.0/10) 2007
PopMatters (8/10) 2007
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars 2007
Stylus Magazine (A) 2007
URB 4/5 stars March 2007 (p. 95)

I'll Sleep When You're Dead is the second full-length studio album by New York hip hop artist El-P, released on his own Definitive Jux label on March 20, 2007. The album comes almost a full five years after his critically acclaimed debut solo album, Fantastic Damage.

The album's first single, the Trent Reznor-featuring "Flyentology", was released as a digital download via the iTunes Store on February 20, 2007. The song "EMG" appears as the B-side, and an animated video was made by the Adult Swim team. A video was also shot for "Smithereens", featuring images of torture and imprisonment reminiscent of US prison facilities like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.[1]

El-P previewed an unmixed version of "Tasmanian Pain Coaster", the album's opening track, on British DJ Gilles Peterson's WorldWide show on January 26, 2006 on Radio 1. A version of "EMG" with the extended title "Everything Must Go" was given away on a covermount CD mixed by DJ Big Wiz, along with the Def Jux-themed July 2005 issue of British hip hop magazine Hip Hop Connection; the same track was also offered as a paid download at Def Jux's online store. Also the songs "Smithereens" and "Poisenville Kids No Wins" featured on the teaser of the third season of The Boondocks.

I'll Sleep When You're Dead debuted at number 78 on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling about 11,000 copies in its first week.[2]

The album's cover—also El-P's logo—is based on a drawing artist Alexander Calder made on a wooden toy airplane for El-P as a child.[3]

Background[edit]

The album features guest appearances from core "jukies", most prominently Cage and Aesop Rock, as well as contributions from several notable alternative rock artists, including Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Omar Rodríguez-López, Isaiah "Ikey" Owens and Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta, Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw and Head Automatica, James McNew of Yo La Tengo, Chan "Cat Power" Marshall, and former Chavez and Zwan guitarist Matt Sweeney. Despite his usual dislike of "records that have a bunch of (featuring so and so) after every song title",[4] El-P has explained the more organic nature of the collaborations on I'll Sleep When You're Dead:

My collaborations for the most part come from friendships I have with people who happen to be in the vicinity while I'm making my shit. Little splashes of other peoples voices, talents, energy used in subtle ways is the way I usually like to freak it. Rob does some back ups, Sweeny plays some guitar, Aes drops a verse, James plays some bass... whatever works at the time. It's the South Park theory: when George Clooney appeared on South Park it was as a gay dog. That's the type of shit that makes my day.[4]

Music[edit]

El-P has compared the overall sound of the album's music to "a psychedelic Boogie Down Productions record", and like "Scott LaRock and Ced Gee take acid".[5] Though he has stated that while the album is not "a political album per se, but... an honest one", some of the lyrics include comment on the September 11, 2001 attacks and the response of the Bush administration.

The song "Flyentology" was featured in an episode of Breaking Bad.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by El-P, except where noted. 

No. Title Track notes Length
1. "Tasmanian Pain Coaster" (featuring Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta) 6:56
2. "Smithereens (Stop Cryin)"   4:34
3. "Up All Night" (Drums adapted from the Pink Floyd track "Saucerful of Secrets") 2:38
4. "EMG"  
  • Cuts by Big Wiz
4:33
5. "Drive"     4:15
6. "Dear Sirs"     1:34
7. "Run the Numbers" (featuring Aesop Rock)
  • Additional Moog Liberation by Wilder Zoby of Chin Chin
  • Cuts by Mr. Dibbs
  • Contains a sample of Kill Bill
4:43
8. "Habeas Corpses (Draconian Love)" (featuring Cage)
  • Additional Buzuq played by Daniel Kaufman
  • Additional vocals by Mr. Len and Victoria Allen
  • Cuts by Mr. Dibbs
4:36
9. "The Overly Dramatic Truth"   4:32
10. "Flyentology" (featuring Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails)
  • Additional production by Trent Reznor
  • Additional programming by Atticus Ross
  • Additional vocals by Rob Sonic
4:03
11. "No Kings"   3:07
12. "The League of Extraordinary Nobodies"  
  • Additional vocals by Joey Raia, Slug, and Murs
2:36
13. "Poisenville Kids No Wins / Reprise (This Must Be Our Time)" (featuring Chan "Cat Power" Marshall)
  • Additional guitar by Kareem Bunton
  • Additional keys on "Reprise (This Must Be Our Time)" by Ikey Owens of the Mars Volta
7:00
Total length:
55:07

Samples[edit]

Credits[edit]

  • Executive Producers: El-P and Amaechi Uzoigwe
  • Mastering: Michael Sarsfield
  • Mixing, engineering: Joey Raia
  • Layout and design: Brad Smith
  • Photography: Timothy Saccenti
  • Project Manager: Jesse Ferguson

References[edit]

External links[edit]