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Zzzzz Top: Max Richter on Sleep / The Quietus

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Contemporary minimalist composer Max Richter has written a new piece entitled Sleep which is eight hours in length and designed to soundtrack a night of slumber. Richter describes the piece as "an eight-hour personal lullaby for a frenetic world and a manifesto for a slower pace of existence". The piece is scored for piano, strings, electronics and vocals. It is warm yet haunting and melancholic, while moving at a glacial pace.

The German-born British composer said something during our conversation that stuck with me: "I think time is a preoccupation right now." This brought a documentary about Marina Abramovic - The Artist Is Present - to mind. The film, released in 2012 chronicles a retrospective at MOMA and features a 736-hour static, silent performance piece, which sees Abramovic sitting immobile in the museum's atrium during opening hours while spectators were invited to take turns sitting opposite her. As people stared back at her, some for a few minute, some for hours, many began to cry or describe a feeling of transcendence afterwards.

Richter has previously described his music in the terms of story telling but this time, with Sleep, his most ambitious piece to date, it's like he's deliberately left pages of the story book blank. It's as if a projector with no film is beaming a hazy light onto a blank cinema screen for you to project your dreams onto.  READ THE FULL Quietus REVIEW