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 eight-and-a-half hour concept album based around the neuroscience of sleep[3] by composer Max Richter.[4][5] It was released in 2015, accompanied by a one-hour version with variations, From Sleep,[6] and later remixed as Sleep Remixes.[7]


Sleep is targeted to fit a full night's rest. Richter talked 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]

The piece's 31 compositions, some 30 minutes in duration, are based around variations of 5 themes. The calm, slow and mellow composition is for piano, cello, two violas, two violins, organ, soprano vocals, synthesizers and electronics. In the album's credits Richter describes Sleep as an eight-hour lullaby and a piece that is meant to be listened to at night.

Live performances[edit]

The album was performed in its entirety from midnight to 8:00 AM at the Wellcome Collection in 2015 as the climax of the BBC Radio 3 "Science and Music" weekend.[9] Audience members watched from beds instead of chairs.[8] The performance set records for the longest broadcast and longest live broadcast of a single piece of music.[8] The album was also performed at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2017,[10] and outdoors in Grand Park, Los Angeles in 2018. The Los Angeles performances had 560 beds and were timed so the final movement, "Dream 0 (till break of day)" would occur at dawn.[11][12][13]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[15]
Drowned in Sound9/10[16]
The Line of Best Fit8/10[17]
Uncut4/5 stars[18]

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".[14]

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."[16]

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] 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 February 2020 Sleep had peaked at No.44, with sales of 40,151 in the United Kingdom.[19] As of July, 2020 Sleep had almost 500 million streams.[20]

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)," [21] "Path 5 (Delta)" [22] and "Dream 3 (In the Midst of My Life)."[23] 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)[24] 120
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[25] 171
UK Albums (OCC)[26] 44
US Top Classical Albums (Billboard)[27] 1
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[28] 4
From Sleep (one-hour version)
Chart (2015) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[29] 18
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[30] 46
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[31] 23
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[32] 72
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 81
US Top Classical Albums (Billboard)[34] 3
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[35] 12


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[36] Silver 60,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

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. ^ "Red Bull Music Academy". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  4. ^ "MAX RICHTER – SLEEP (eight-hour version) – Download – Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  5. ^ "RICHTER Sleep (8h version) – 8 CDs + 1 Blu-ray Audio – Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft". 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 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. ^ Max Richter - Sleep
  11. ^ Los Angeles Times - Composer Max Richter wants fans to spend the night in Grand Park
  12. ^ Hollywood Reporter - Max Richter on Bringing Overnight Concert "Sleep" to L.A. and Why Sushi Helps Him Stay Awake
  13. ^ Rolling Stone - Composer Max Richter to Perform Overnight L.A. Concerts With 560 Beds
  14. ^ a b "Reviews for Sleep [8 Hour Version] by Max Richter". Metacritic. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  15. ^ "Sleep – Max Richter". AllMusic. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  16. ^ a b Falcone, Jon. Max Richter – Sleep Archived 2016-02-03 at the Wayback Machine. Drowned In Sound. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  17. ^ "The Line of Best Fit review".
  18. ^ Metacritic: Uncut Magazine score
  19. ^ Paine, Andre (17 February 2020). "Max Richter on streaming phenomenon Sleep and his epic eight-hour live show". Music Week. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  20. ^ Paine, Andre (21 July 2020). "The Aftershow_ Max Richter". Music Week. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  21. ^ MaxRichterVEVO (2015-08-10), Max Richter –Dream 13 (minus even), retrieved 2017-02-21
  22. ^ MaxRichterVEVO (2015-09-04), Max Richter – Path 5 (delta), retrieved 2017-02-21
  23. ^ MaxRichterVEVO (2015-09-17), Max Richter – Dream 3 (in the midst of my life), retrieved 2017-02-21
  24. ^ " – Max Richter – Sleep" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  25. ^ " – Max Richter – Sleep" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  26. ^ "Max Richter | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  27. ^ "Max Richter Chart History (Top Classical Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  28. ^ "Max Richter Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  29. ^ " – Max Richter – From Sleep" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  30. ^ " – Max Richter – From Sleep" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  31. ^ " – Max Richter – From Sleep" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  32. ^ " – Max Richter – From Sleep" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  33. ^ " – Max Richter – From Sleep". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  34. ^ "Max Richter Chart History (Top Classical Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  35. ^ "Max Richter Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  36. ^ "British album certifications – Max Richter – Sleep". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved March 30, 2021.