Sleep (album)

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Sleep (Front Cover).png
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 4, 2015 (2015-09-04)
StudioAvatar Studios
(Manhattan, New York)
AIR Studios
(London, England)
(Berlin, Germany)
Length504:21 (8:24:21)
LabelDeutsche Grammophon
ProducerMax Richter
Christian Badzura (exec. producer)
Yulia Mahr (exec. producer)
Max Richter chronology
Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons
From Sleep

Sleep is an album by composer Max Richter. Released on September 4, 2015 on Deutsche Grammophon, as a digital download,[3] and on December 11, 2015 as an 8-CD/1-Blu-ray set.[4], the album serves as a concept album based around the neuroscience of sleep,[5] hence its length of over eight hours.

Sleep was accompanied by simultaneous release of the one-hour-long album, From Sleep,[6] with seven additional tracks (different variations of tracks from the main album), and later by the remix album Sleep Remixes.[7]


In 2015, Max Richter released his most ambitious project to date, Sleep, an 8.5 hour listening experience targeted to fit a full night's rest. The album itself contains 31 compositions, some reaching 20-30 minutes in duration, all based around variations of 4-5 themes. The music is calm, slow, mellow and composed for Piano, Cello, 2 Violas, 2 Violins, Organ, Soprano vocals, Synthesisers and Electronics. As the album's liner notes, Strings are played by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (Ben Russell, Yuki Numata Resnik, Caleb Burhans, Clarice Jensen and Brian Snow), Vocals are provided by Grace Davidson and the Piano, Synthesisers and Electronics are played by Richter himself.

According to Richter, as described in the album's credits, Sleep is "an eight-hour lullaby", "a piece that is meant to be listened to at night ... structured as a large set of variations."

Richter conferred with American neuroscientist David Eagleman while working on the album's piece to learn about how the brain functions during sleep. Richter stated, "Sleeping is one of the most important things we all do ... We spend a third of our lives asleep and it's always been one of my favourite things, ever since I was a child. ... For me, Sleep is an attempt to see how that space when your conscious mind is on holiday can be a place for music to live."[8]

Live performance[edit]

The album was performed in its entirety as one compositional piece at the Reading Room at Wellcome Collection in London, England, on September 27, 2015 from midnight to 8:00 AM as the climax of the BBC Radio 3 "Science and Music" weekend.[9].

The performance broke several records, including the longest live broadcast of a single piece of music in BBC Radio 3's station's history.[10] The performance also set Guinness World Records for longest broadcast of a single piece of music and longest live broadcast of a single piece of music.[8]

Instead of chairs to sit in and watch the performance, audience members were given beds to sleep in.[8]

Richter played piano, keyboards, and electronics, and was joined by Grace Davidson (soprano), Reiad Chibah (viola), Natalia Bonner and Steve Morris (violins), and Ian Burdge and Chris Worsey (cellos).[8]

The album was also performed in its entirety at the Philharmonie de Paris, France, on November 18, 2017 from midnight to 8:00 AM[11].

Sleep was performed for its first outdoor performance and largest performance to-date in Los Angeles, CA on July 27-28th and July 28-29th, 2018, starting shortly after 10:30pm. It was performed in Grand Park, across from the Los Angeles Music Center. Each performance had 560 beds and was timed so the final movement, "Dream 0 (till break of day)" would occur at dawn. Richter played along with members of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Clarice Jensen (cello), Ben Russell, Andrew Tholl (violin), Isabel Hagen (viola), Emily Brausa (cello), and Grace Davidson (soprano). [12][13][14]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[16]
Drowned in Sound9/10[17]
The Line of Best Fit8/10[18]
Uncut4/5 stars[19]

Sleep received wide acclaim from contemporary music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 79, based on 7 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[15]

Jon Falcone gave the album a very positive review, stating, "Sleep implores you for companionship and bleeds into itself as it bleeds into the listener. Typing while the fizz of ‘Never Fade Into Nothingness’ plays makes transforms Word documents in an epic dance of black pixels on white light, binary marks scratching into a too-bright glassy reflection. Walking while the echo-drenched monastic vocals of ‘Non-Eternal’ exposes that the world we occupy is haunted is exhilarating and avoiding awkward work colleagues as ‘If You Came This Way’ patters out its motif, that dangles held violin notes over electronic burbles, is to experience the sound of solace itself."[17]

Grayson Haver Currin of Pitchfork Media gave the album a positive review, stating, "At its best, Sleep feels like compositionally rigorous new age music. It’s a place in which you can settle for a while, with or without a pillow, and emerge only when you are ready to rejoin the restive world."[2] However, Currin was also slightly critical of the release, stating, "Sleep, then, is simply too didactic as a name. It’s a command that tells us how to enjoy something that clearly has other uses. That handle, combined with Richter’s conceit, has turned the record into a kind of clickbait story, too, which seems entirely antithetical to Richter’s point."[2]

Commercial performance[edit]

As of April 2017 Sleep has sold over 100,000 copies. [20] As of February 2020 Sleep has peaked at No.44 and has sales of 40,151 (15,905 from streams) in United Kingdom, according to the Official Charts Company.[21] Up to July 2018 Sleep has earned 37,7 million on-demand streams in United States according to Nielsen Music.[22] As of July, 2020 Sleep has amassed close to 500 million streams.[23]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Max Richter.

1."Dream 1 (before the wind blows it all away)"18:31
3."Dream 2 (entropy)"10:02
4."Path (7676)"11:00
5."whose name is written on water"11:15
6."Patterns (cypher)"2:47
8."Aria 1"11:06
9."Return 2 (song)"16:46
10."nor earth, nor boundless sea"19:17
11."Dream 11 (whisper music)"18:54
12."moth-like stars"28:53
13."Path 17 (before the ending of daylight)"26:52
14."Space 26 (epicardium)"6:56
15."Patterns (lux)"16:43
16."Constellation 1"6:56
17."Constellation 2"15:20
18."Space 2 (slow waves)"7:42
20."Dream 19 (pulse)"18:53
24."Aria 2"11:02
25."never fade into nothingness"9:41
26."Return 16 (time capsule)"24:25
27."if you came this way"14:29
28."Space 17 (chains)"17:59
30."Dream 17 (Alpha)"28:47
31."Dream 0 (till break of day)"33:47
Total length:504:21
  • The digital release treats the above as one single piece, segueing between each track. On CD, the last songs on each disc, "whose name is written on water", "Dream 11 (whisper music)", "Patterns (lux)", "Chorale/glow", "Song/echo" "if you came this way" and "Sublunar", are lightly extended in order to account for the physical limitations of the medium; these pieces are extended by up to 30 seconds to account for the lack of transitions into the next track.

From Sleep[edit]

From Sleep
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 4, 2015 (2015-09-04)
LabelDeutsche Grammophon
ProducerMax Richter
Christian Badzura (exec. producer)
Yulia Mahr (exec. producer)
Max Richter chronology
From Sleep
Three Worlds: Music from Woolf Works

The release of Sleep was accompanied by a one-hour album, From Sleep, with seven additional tracks, not present on the eight-hour release, recorded during the same sessions.

From Sleep was promoted by music videos for three tracks: "Dream 13 (Minus Even)," [24] "Path 5 (Delta)" [25] and "Dream 3 (In the Midst of My Life)." [26] Additionally, remixed versions of the three tracks, by Mogwai, Clark, Digitonal, Jürgen Müller, Kaitlyn Aurelia and Marconi Union, have been featured on a subsequent remix EP Sleep Remixes, released digitally on February 19, 2016.[7]

Track listing[edit]

1."Dream 3 (In The Midst Of My Life)"10:04
2."Path 5 (Delta)"11:14
3."Space 11 (Invisible Pages Over)"5:16
4."Dream 13 (Minus Even)"8:53
5."Space 21 (Petrichor)"4:48
6."Path 19 (Yet Frailest)"7:51
7."Dream 8 (Late And Soon)"11:53
Total length:59:59

Rough Trade Shops Special Edition CD2

2."Diffraction Sequence"4:21
3."Origins (ursa major)"16:02
Total length:32:02


Main personnel
  • Max Richter – composer, electronics, liner notes, mixing, organ, piano, primary artist, producer, quotation author, synthesizer
  • American Contemporary Music Ensemble – strings (ensemble)
  • Grace Davidson – vocals (soprano)
  • Brian Snow – cello
  • Clarice Jensen – cello
  • Caleb Burhans – viola
  • Ben Russell – violin
  • Yuki Numata Resnick – violin
Additional personnel
  • Christian Badzura – project manager
  • Tom Bailey – assistant engineer
  • Tim Cooper – liner notes
  • Rupert Coulson – engineer, mixing
  • David Eagleman – liner notes
  • Merle Kersten – art direction
  • Yulia Mahr – executive producer
  • Mandy Parnell – mastering
  • Anna-Lena Rodewald – project manager
  • Mike Terry – photography
  • Alejandro Venguer – engineer
  • Mareike Walter – design


Chart (2015) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[27] 120
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[28] 171
UK Albums (OCC)[29] 44
US Top Classical Albums (Billboard)[30] 1
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[31] 4
From Sleep (one-hour version)
Chart (2015) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[32] 18
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[33] 46
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[34] 23
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[35] 72
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[36] 81
US Top Classical Albums (Billboard)[37] 3
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[38] 12

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The 50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time". Pitchfork. September 26, 2016. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Currin, Grayson Haver (September 21, 2015). "Max Richter: Sleep". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  3. ^ "MAX RICHTER – SLEEP (eight-hour version) – Download – Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  4. ^ "RICHTER Sleep (8h version) – 8 CDs + 1 Blu-ray Audio – Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  5. ^ "Red Bull Music Academy". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  6. ^ "MAX RICHTER from SLEEP (one-hour version) – 1 CD / Download – Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  7. ^ a b "RICHTER Sleep (Remixes) – Download – Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  8. ^ a b c d Max Richter Performs Sleep Live for Eight Hours, Sets Guinness World Record on BBC Radio 3
  9. ^ Sinfini Music – Latest: Music and the brain
  10. ^ The New Yorker: Music to Sleep By
  11. ^ Max Richter - Sleep
  12. ^ Los Angeles Times - Composer Max Richter wants fans to spend the night in Grand Park
  13. ^ Hollywood Reporter - Max Richter on Bringing Overnight Concert "Sleep" to L.A. and Why Sushi Helps Him Stay Awake
  14. ^ Rolling Stone - Composer Max Richter to Perform Overnight L.A. Concerts With 560 Beds
  15. ^ a b "Reviews for Sleep [8 Hour Version] by Max Richter". Metacritic. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  16. ^ "Sleep – Max Richter". AllMusic. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Falcone, Jon. Max Richter – Sleep. Drowned In Sound. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  18. ^ "The Line of Best Fit review".
  19. ^ Metacritic: Uncut Magazine score
  20. ^ "Universal's Decca Publishing Signs Max Richter To A Global Deal". Music Business Worldwide. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  21. ^ Paine, Andre (17 February 2020). "Max Richter on streaming phenomenon Sleep and his epic eight-hour live show". Music Week. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  22. ^ Dodero, Camille (23 July 2018). "How Can You Get the Best 'Sleep'? An Expert Offers Four Tips". Billboard. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  23. ^ Paine, Andre (21 July 2020). "The Aftershow_ Max Richter". Music Week. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  24. ^ MaxRichterVEVO (2015-08-10), Max Richter –Dream 13 (minus even), retrieved 2017-02-21
  25. ^ MaxRichterVEVO (2015-09-04), Max Richter – Path 5 (delta), retrieved 2017-02-21
  26. ^ MaxRichterVEVO (2015-09-17), Max Richter – Dream 3 (in the midst of my life), retrieved 2017-02-21
  27. ^ " – Max Richter – Sleep" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  28. ^ " – Max Richter – Sleep" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  29. ^ "Max Richter | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  30. ^ "Max Richter Chart History (Top Classical Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  31. ^ "Max Richter Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  32. ^ " – Max Richter – From Sleep" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  33. ^ " – Max Richter – From Sleep" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  34. ^ " – Max Richter – From Sleep" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  35. ^ " – Max Richter – From Sleep" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  36. ^ " – Max Richter – From Sleep". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  37. ^ "Max Richter Chart History (Top Classical Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  38. ^ "Max Richter Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 6, 2016.