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Max Richter, 'Path 5 (delta)'


Sleep. It's both an oasis where our physical and mental batteries get recharged and a playground for the subconscious. It's also the subject of Max Richter's latest project, SLEEP, which inspired this video by Yulia Mahr.

A composer, pianist, remixer and musical tinkerer, Richter has written a soundtrack for slumber, eight hours in all, which will receive its premiere this fall in Berlin. Instead of seats, audience members will stretch out on beds, encouraged to actually drift off to the music. It helps that the event is slated for midnight to 8 a.m.

The benefits from a sound night of sleep are becoming more apparent — as many a Fitbit fanatic will attest. A recent study in the journal Sleep suggests the more shuteye we get the less likely we are to get sick. But Richter points out other advantages. He believes the pace of our 21st-century lives is too hectic. Slowing down, even with your music, can be a good thing. He thinks of the project as "personal lullaby for a frenetic world."

What Richter's proposing isn't exactly new. He acknowledges his forebearers like John Cage, La Monte Young and Morton Feldman, each of whom experimented in long-form, slowly paced compositions.

In the video, gently swaying, angelic voices offer a soothing contrast to shots of bustling New York and Berlin crosscut with sleepers. It's all sped up in time-lapse black and white with an inverted visual effect. The piece, Path 5 (delta), is from an hour-long offshoot from SLEEP, music Richter wrote in the same spirit but intended to be heard with eyes wide open.

The full, eight-hour version of SLEEP will be released Sept. 4 as a digital album, while the separate one-hour suite, called from SLEEP, will be released on CD and vinyl the same day.

Copyright NPR 2016.

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