Staff Top 10
Top Ten Albums To Fall Asleep To

retend the words "that I own" are in parenthesis above. This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive list but merely a glance at my record shelf and the albums fastidiously ordered among it that help to induce slumber. Nor does appearance on this list mean the album in question is dull by any means. To paraphrase the already clichéd Brian Eno anecdote, sometimes falling asleep to an artist's music can be the greatest compliment a listener can give. That is the mindset I had while compiling this list: take note.

10) Spiritualized – Lazer Guided Melodies
Asleep by: After "Run" is over.

This is my favorite Jason Pierce album. Let It Come Down was Lazer Guided Melodies with a bloated choir and hacked song structures. The side one closer, "Symphony Space," usually knocks me out me with its hushed ambient-orchestra.

09) Cat Power – The Covers Record
Asleep by: "Wild is the Wind"

Chan Marshall's voice reminds me of a lonely, tattered trollop. I just want to wrap my arms around her hips as she talks about pain. Since she has no spoken word albums, this does nicely.

08) Low – I Could Live In Hope
Asleep by: "Sea"

Many have remarked that Low's brand of slowcore puts them to sleep. I would agree, but I do so with the utmost respect and adoration. The one word song titles are more than appropriate as the headers for these 11 spare odes-to-silence. A person can dream for hours between the notes on "Lullaby."

07) Elysian Fields – Bleed Your Cedar
Asleep by: "Fountains on Fire"

More stylistically consistent than the admittedly superior follow-up, Queen of the Meadow, this, Jennifer Charles (whose claim to fame was her moaning on Dan the Automator's Lovage project) and Oren Bloedow's debut full-length, is still a perfectly smoky and haunting supplement to sleep.

06) Julee Cruise – Floating Into the Night
Asleep by: "I Float Alone"

David Lynch may be a splendid filmmaker, but he's hardly an innovative lyricist. Lynch penned all the lyrics to Floating Into the Night and gave them to a singer who, as he requested Badalamenti to find, "sings like the wind." Enter Cruise. "Mysterious of Love" always conjures up images of Dr. Ellie Sattler and Detective Dale Cooper slow-dancing--better than horse tranquilizer.

05) Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92
Asleep by: "Tha"

Maybe not the first ambient techno album but the most well-known, and probably the most charming. More melodious than Vol. 2, yet still, to this day I can't remember a thing about the music of the album beyond "Xtal"'s two repeated synth notes, nor do I care to. Like an aural enema, it washes through and is forgotten.

04) Hope Sandoval – Bavarian Fruit Bread
Asleep by: "Clear Day"

One of the most underrated albums of 2001 and also the most unjustly lampooned by the music press. I will give them credit that, yes, the album works well as a mood piece. I would beg to differ, though, that it does not hold up well upon close listening. Drifting into sleep is an entirely different sort of listening, close yet distant, and the album is pixie-dust magical. I chose Bavarian Fruit Bread over the other Mazzy Star albums because BFB has more of an ethereal groove to it which is best exemplified by the erotic-pulse of "On the Low."

03) Cocteau Twins – Victorialand
Asleep by: "Whale Tails"

Post-Treasure and sans bassist Simon Raymonde, the Twins turned out this spectacular and subtle work. More atmospheric, and less bombastic than Treasure; with almost no percussion, the album is much more indebted to the ground-breaking ambient works preceding it than any of the bands previous recordings. Like the Antarctic region it is titled after, the sound is icy and shimmering. The winter air through my open window only helps to augment the already established mood.

02) Sigur Ros – Von
Asleep by: "Sigur Ros"

Oh, that opener. Like Brian Eno scoring your local Haunted Mansion, it's nearly 10 minutes long, which is a good thing because it gives you time to fall asleep before it gradually builds into Jonsi's androgynous bloody-murder screaming and snarling--you'd much rather not be awake for it.

01) Lisa Gerrard – The Mirror Pool
Asleep by: "The Rite"

These are tear-inducing lullabies. If I'm still awake for it, track four, "Sanvean: I Am Your Shadow" will vocally crush my senses and force me into sleep. Sounding very similar to her contributions to the Gladiator soundtrack, the ventricle-rending melody by the Victorian Philharmonic Orchestra provides the landscape for Lisa's soaring, operatic vocals. The rest of the album is just as overwhelming--and at nearly 70 minutes, there is no doubt that the final track will reverberate against my unconscious spirit.

Honorable Mentions:

L’altra – Music of a Sinking Occasion
Asleep by: "Lips Move On Top of Quiet"

Very Chicago. Like a more subdued Tortoise with interplaying male/female vocals. The title hints at the concept; the occasion is those few moments before your head hits the feathers.

Galaxie 500 - This Is Our Music
"Hearing Voices," "Listen, the Snow is Falling." Nuff said.

By: Gentry Boeckel

Log In to Post Comments
Posted 04/06/2004 - 12:59:20 AM by samhunt:
 I can't believe Stars of the Lid's "Tired Sounds Of" didn't make this list.
Posted 05/07/2004 - 07:25:15 PM by Nick_S:
 I agree with samhunt... or pretty well any Stars of the Lid album. Admittedly, I find this list pretty shoddy. How about Eno's "Music for Airports" or "On Land" or his collaborations with Harold Budd? Auburn Lull's "Alone I Admire." Even "Alina" by Arvo Part. Sure some of this stuff is plenty soporific... but I'm a little befuddled about some of these choices. "Victorialand" would likely make my list though.
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