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Sleepthief is an American electronic music recording project formed by producer and composer Justin Elswick. Elswick began writing music for the album ten years prior to its release. The album was mixed, mastered, co-produced, and co-arranged by Israel Curtis. Sleepthief's first album, The Dawnseeker, was released in 2006.
Sleepthief is most often compared to musical groups such as Delerium (in its output from the mid-1990s onward) and Balligomingo, which produce emotive, melodic, synthesized music with what is often described as new-age-influenced ethnic characteristics from other cultures. Also similar to these groups is Sleepthief's use of pop music-based song structures with performances by female singers (also known as power metal). Eleven vocalists contribute to The Dawnseeker, many of whom are established recording artists, and some having worked with the aforementioned groups previously.
Born in Southern California, Elswick served as an LDS missionary in Texas and received a B.A. degree in History from Brigham Young University. Throughout this period, he became a self-taught musician. Justin also studied in Ireland, graduating with a master's degree in philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin followed by a law degree at J. Reuben Clark Law School. He is currently a practicing attorney in Provo, Utah.
In addition, Elswick wrote for Musical Discoveries, a music website dedicated to female vocalists, as an associate editor.
History of Sleepthief
Elswick began working on songs with Curtis around 2003. Russell Elliot, editor-in-chief of Musical Discoveries, put Elswick in contact with singer Jody Quine in December 2003. Quine became the first singer to join with the project, recording three songs and being filmed for a music video by 2005. Vic Levak, who worked with Balligomingo along with Quine, also worked with the group.
|Studio album by Sleepthief|
|Released||June 27, 2006|
|Producer||Justin Elswick, Israel Curtis|
All songs written by Elswick and the vocalist featured except where otherwise noted.
|1.||"Eurydice" (featuring Jody Quine)||Curtis, Elswick, Quine||4:47|
|2.||"Desire of Ages" (featuring Shelley Harland)||Curtis, Elswick, Harland, James Harland-Wright||6:49|
|3.||"You Did a Good Thing" (featuring Nicola Hitchcock, formerly of Mandalay)||Curtis, Elswick, Eric Harris, Hitchcock||4:26|
|4.||"Just Say It" (featuring Kyoko Baertsoen of Lunascape)||Curtis, Elswick, Baertsoen||4:59|
|5.||"The Chauffeur" (featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw; original by Duran Duran)||Curtis, Elswick, Hawkshaw, Duran Duran||4:53|
|6.||"Tenuous" (featuring Jody Quine)||Curtis, Elswick, Quine||4:07|
|7.||"Sublunar (Sweet Angel)" (featuring Kristy Thirsk)||Curtis, Elswick, Thirsk||4:54|
|8.||"Nightjar" (featuring Caroline Lavelle)||Curtis, Elswick, Lavelle||3:31|
|9.||"Fire from Heaven" (featuring Roberta Carter Harrison of Wild Strawberries)||Curtis, Elswick, Harrison||4:11|
|10.||"The Metro" (featuring Jerri Eckert; original by Berlin)||Curtis, Elswick, Eckert, John Crawford, Berlin||4:35|
|11.||"Kiss to Savor" (featuring Jody Quine)||Curtis, Elswick, Quine||5:02|
|12.||"Afterthoughts" (featuring Lauren Edman)||Curtis, Elswick, Edman||3:47|
|13.||"Entre Ciel et Mer" (featuring San.Drine)||Curtis, Elswick, Harris, Sandrine Ligabue||4:44|
|1.||"Eurydice (Single Version)" (featuring Jody Quine)||4:47|
|2.||"Eurydice (Nick Wax's "Orpheus Descending" Mix)"||8:32|
|3.||"Eurydice (Psychosomatic Remix)"||5:31|
|4.||"Eurydice (Dark Territory Mix)"||6:02|
|5.||"Eurydice (Nook and Kranny's "Lost" Remix)"||5:28|
|6.||"Eurydice (Sensory Gate Remix)"||5:19|
|7.||"Eurydice (Underworld A Capella Mix)"||4:22|
The new "Eurydice" mix was released on August 12, 2012 and is credited to DjMikelD (who did the Angels on Water Mix for the song).
The follow-up single, "The Chauffeur", is a cover of the Duran Duran song and was released in the same formats. 11 different versions of the song appear on the single, along with a cover of the Scorpions song "Send Me an Angel", with Kristy Thirsk on vocals. A limited edition CD single featuring the music video for "The Chauffeur" was released by Neurodisc soon afterwards.
The track list for the single is as follows:
|1.||"The Chauffeur (Original Album Version)" (featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw)||4:54|
|2.||"The Chauffeur (Psychosomatic Mix)"||4:55|
|3.||"The Chauffeur (Flipside's Remix)"||5:46|
|4.||"The Chauffeur (Seize Puts on the Brakes Mix)"||6:07|
|5.||"The Chauffeur (Martin Preston Mix)"||4:25|
|6.||"The Chauffeur (Lemonsoul Deep Hous Mix)"||9:35|
|7.||"The Chauffeur (Sapphirecut with Dave Shaffer Mix)"||5:17|
|8.||"The Chauffeur (Nick Wax's Drifting Haze Mix)"||8:52|
|9.||"The Chauffeur (DJ Vapour Mix)"||6:05|
|10.||"The Chauffeur (Timo Mae Main Mix)"||6:21|
|11.||"The Chauffeur (Timo Mae Dub Mix)"||7:33|
|12.||"Send Me an Angel" (featuring Kristy Thirsk)||4:17|
|Studio album by Sleepthief|
|Released||August 31, 2009|
|Producer||Justin Elswick, Israel Curtis|
|1.||"Here I Confess" (featuring Joanna Stevens of Solar Twins)||Curtis, Elswick, Stevens||4:26|
|2.||"World Gone Crazy" (featuring Coury Palermo)||Curtis, Elswick, Palermo, Vic Levak||3:54|
|3.||"Skimming Stones (Reprise)" (featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw)||Curtis, Elswick, Hawkshaw, Joshua Aker||3:49|
|4.||"Labyrinthine Heart" (featuring Jody Quine)||Curtis, Elswick, Quine, Aker||4:07|
|5.||"A Kind of Magic" (featuring Zoë Johnston)||Curtis, Elswick, Johnston||4:02|
|6.||"A Cut From the Fight" (featuring Kristy Thirsk)||Curtis, Elswick, Thirsk, Aker||3:50|
|7.||"Rainy World" (featuring Caroline Lavelle)||Curtis, Elswick, Lavelle||5:10|
|8.||"Ariadne (The Dividing Sea)" (featuring Joanna Stevens)||Curtis, Elswick, Lavelle, Levak||3:48|
|9.||"Reason Why" (featuring Coury Palermo and Zoë Johnston)||Curtis, Elswick, Palermo, Johnston||4:26|
|10.||"Fire King" (featuring Jody Quine)||Curtis, Elswick, Quine, Levak||3:29|
|11.||"Reversals" (featuring Kristy Thirsk)||Curtis, Elswick, Thirsk||4:00|
|12.||"There's Something Going On" (featuring Roberta Carter-Harrison)||Curtis, Elswick, Carter-Harrison, Russ Ballard, Ken Harrison||4:34|
The lead single for the Labyrinthine Heart, "World Gone Crazy", features the vocals of Coury Palermo and was released as a digital download EP on June 30, 2009. It includes the original version as well as several remixed versions and a music video.
|1.||"World Gone Crazy (Psychosomatic Radio Mix)"||3:48|
|2.||"World Gone Crazy (Nick Murray Remix)"||4:35|
|3.||"World Gone Crazy (Sensory Gate Remix)"||4:11|
|4.||"World Gone Crazy (Martin Preston Remix)"||7:21|
|5.||"World Gone Crazy (Coury Palermo Mix)"||3:51|
In December 2009, a new version of the World Gone Crazy EP was released.
|6.||"World Gone Crazy (Sandro Peres Radio Edit)"||3:51|
|7.||"World Gone Crazy (Sandro Peres Extended Mix)"||9:15|
|8.||"World Gone Crazy (Sandro Peres Dubmix)"||9:10|
|9.||"World Gone Crazy (Sepiamusic Mix)"||4:52|
|10.||"World Gone Crazy (Nick Wax Mix)"||4:02|
|11.||"World Gone Crazy (Bryan El Mix)"||9:06|
|12.||"World Gone Crazy (DJ MikeID "Song of the Fledgling" Mix"||3:57|
The track "Skimming Stones", performed with Kirsty Hawkshaw, is a reprised version that was originally released on a compilation album featuring various female vocalists called Sirenes: The Beauty of the Female Voice. A music video was also produced for this track.
The next single was "Reason Why", a duet performed by Coury Palermo & Zoë Johnston. A music video has been shot for the track as well, set in the Provo Tabernacle, which was destroyed by a fire in December 2010. Along with several remixes, a new song titled "Asunder" was released. It is performed with the neoclassical/Celtic duo Mirabilis.
The track list is as follows:
|1.||"Reason Why" (featuring Zoë Johnston and Coury Palermo)||4:25|
|2.||"Reason Why (Blue Stone Remix)"||5:10|
|3.||"Reason Why (Chris Brush Mix)"||4:39|
|4.||"Reason Why (Bryan El Mix)"||4:24|
|5.||"Asunder" (featuring Mirabilis)||4:07|
Upcoming third album
Sleepthief's third full-length album is expected to be released in 2016. A crowd-funding campaign to raise $40,000 for the third album was launched on June 28, 2013, which raised around $10,000. Kirsty Hawkshaw, Caroline Lavelle, Coury Palermo, Carla Werner, Jody Quine, Kristy Thirsk, Sonja Drakulich, Joanna Stevens, Andrea Gerak, Phildel, Marcella Detroit and Sandra Jill Alikas-St. Thomas are singers for the album.
As of January 21, 2016, the expected track list for the album is as follows:
|1.||"Mortal Longing" (featuring Jody Quine)||Elswick, Quine||3:59|
|2.||"Dust & Cloud" (featuring Phildel)||Elswick, Phildel||4:07|
|3.||"This Means War" (featuring Joanna Stevens)||Elswick, Stevens||4:22|
|4.||"The Lion's Roar"|
|6.||"The Wood Beyond the Wall"|
|7.||"Semblance of Myself"|
|8.||"The Falcon in the Snow" (featuring Jody Quine)||Elswick, Quine|
|9.||"Where the Heart Is" (featuring Phildel)||Elswick, Phildel|
|12.||"Asleep in Metropolis"|
|13.||"The Last of Our Kind"|
|15.||"Bruised By a Breath"|
|17.||"Tears Run Like a Flood"|
|18.||"Big in Japan" (original by Alphaville)||Elswick, Alphaville|
"Mortal Longing" was released on June 4, 2012, while the digital single and remixes from Psychosomatic, Blue Stone, and DjMikeID were released on June 11, 2012. A music video was released with the single. It was shot in the Goblin Valley State Park in Utah and features Jody Quine and Justin Elswick himself in what can be defined a metaphor of the search for love. "a search that not always is happy". Jody Quine had a short insight on the song concept:
"When Justin gave me the title 'Mortal Longing' and the ideas behind it I struggled with how to best embody it lyrically. What I heard and followed was diving into the idea of physical addiction to the point of death almost and yet having it also be the saviour. Choosing the right words that weren't cliche or cheesy can be difficult, but I think I found some very strong and vivid choices that portray the physical responses of being in love and also cry out for breath. Now that the song is out and I know more about where Justin was coming from in his concept, I think I wrote a kick ass song with him. I love you Justin, and I'm always so honoured to work with you, Thank you."
|1.||"Mortal Longing (Album Version)"||4:00|
|2.||"Mortal Longing (Blue Stone Mix)"||3:18|
|3.||"Mortal Longing (DjMikeID Mix)"||6:22|
Another new single, "This Means War", was recorded in June 2013 with Joanna Stevens and released as an EP on November 12, 2013, along with a science fiction-themed music video. The track list is as follows:
|1.||"This Means War (Psychosomatic Video Mix)"||4:18|
|2.||"This Means War (Noonatac Ceasefire Remix)"||4:51|
|3.||"This Means War (Digital Quest Blaster Mix)"||3:49|
|4.||"This Means War (Adam Amos Remix)"||3:28|
|5.||"This Means War (Jamie Myerson Remix)"||5:19|
|6.||"This Means War (L.A.B First Mix)"||4:52|
|7.||"This Means War (Martron Remix)"||4:51|
|8.||"This Means War (Elu Evolution Mix)"||4:51|
The music video of "Dust & Cloud" was released on July 21, 2014, and the single itself was released on July 28, 2014. The track list is as follows:
|1.||"Dust & Cloud" (featuring Phildel)||4:10|
|2.||"Dust & Cloud (Digital Quest Earth and Sky Remix)"|
|3.||"Dust & Cloud (Synthetic Substance Remix)"|
|4.||"Dust & Cloud (Chris Laurent Mix)"|
|5.||"Dust & Cloud (Matt Hoffman's Pteranodon Mix)"|
|6.||"Dust & Cloud (From Behind the Clouds Remix)"|
|7.||"There Is No Greater Sadness" (featuring Andrea Gerak)|
After releasing Labyrinthine Heart, Elswick released two new tracks included in the compilation Beauty 2 - Music That Touches The Soul, which was released on October 25, 2010. The first track, "Another Day", was sung by Kyoko Baertsoen and is a cover of the original song by This Mortal Coil. The second track, "Empyrean", was sung by Suzanne Perry and was performed with the glossolalia technique.
Sleepthief's website site was launched on June 11. He is also working on a remix and a song for Nicola Hitchcock's solo album. Another cover version of "Send Me an Angel" has been released in December 2012, featuring strings by Caroline Lavelle. Both of Sleepthief's albums have been available on iTunes since April 12, 2013.
He is currently busy with a side project with Caroline Lavelle and Israel Curtis called "Spythriller", and the first video and related single, a cover of Nightwish's "Nemo", was released on November 15, 2011 with remixes of the song from Jamie Myerson and Treatise. Two more tracks for the album, "Cold War Kisses" and "Aftermath", can be found on the Spythriller official website and official YouTube channel. The next single will be "Asleep in Metropolis", and will feature a video shot by Hugh Marsh.
Curtis is also working with Roberta Carter-Harrison on her solo album and with Carla Werner on her own solo dance album.
Sleepthief also releases spiritual and Christmas songs on his SoundCloud page. The songs, listed by date released, are:
- "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" (feat. Kristy Hawkshaw, Coury Palermo and Zoë Johnston)
- "Veni Redemptor, Solamen Gentium" (feat. Jana Thompson Ellsworth)
- "Snow" (feat. Zoë Johnston)
- "Tollite Hostias" (feat. Lauralyn Curtis)
- "Ubi Caritas [Altius Mix]" (feat. Kristy Thirsk)
- "What Child Is This?" (feat. Jody Quine)
- "Deus Meus" (feat. Amanda Elswick)
- Blue Stone – "Bridges" (Sleepthief Remix)
- Balligomingo – "Invitation" (Sleepthief Remix)
- Coury Palermo – "Hush" (Sleepthief Remix)
- Delerium – "Chrysalis Heart" (Sleepthief Remix)
- Eireann Wax – "Here Tonight" (Sleepthief Remix)
- Mirabilis – "Sanctuary of Mind" (Sleepthief Remix)
- Vanessa Daou – "Black & White" (Sleepthief's L'Eroica Mix)
Notes and references
- "Sleepthief - The Dawnseeker". Musical Discoveries. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- "About Musical Discoveries". Musical Discoveries. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- "Morpheus Music Interview - Sleepthief". Morpheus Music. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
- "Viia - Vic Levak and Judy Quine". Musical Discoveries. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- "Sleepthief with Jody Quine - Tenuous". YouTube. August 25, 2009.
- "Sleepthief with Jody Quine - Eurydice". YouTube. August 25, 2009.
- "Sleepthief with Kirsty Hawkshaw - The Chauffeur". YouTube. August 25, 2009.
- "Sleepthief with Coury Palermo - World Gone Crazy". YouTube. June 26, 2009.
- "Sleepthief with Kirsty Hawkshaw - Skimming Stones". YouTube. June 26, 2009.
- "Sleepthief with Jody Quine - Mortal Longing".
- "This Means War [Psychosomatic Video Mix]".
- "Sleepthief - Dust & Cloud (ft. Phildel)".