MAX RICHTER from SLEEP (one-hour version) 4795257

A truly unique project . . . a truly fascinating experience . . .

Max Richter, 50, has long been a man of low frequencies and high ambitions . . . Richter is the architect of a post-minimalist electronic revolution at the borderlands of classical music . . . Richter has consistently redefined what music with classical roots might be capable of in a digital age. His pioneering reworking of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" in 2012 topped the iTunes classical charts . . . ["Sleep"] is not merely an experiment in ambient background noise . . . the somnolent shimmer of the music worked its magic . . . narcotic rhythms and haunting melodicism . . .

. . . a lot of good music . . . I actually like the music . . . much of the melodic material is catchy, in a slow kind of way . . . "Sleep" is functional music, furniture music, a soundtrack for relaxing and sleeping, and as such it's successful. It's not "classical" music, and shouldn't be judged as such. It does what it claims, and it's enjoyable, and that's a good enough recommendation to anyone who wants some light music to listen to when taking a break.

. . . the sleep was far calmer with Richter's score in the background, but if you listen to it you gain so much more . . . plug in "Sleep" and slightly reframe your mind-set with this sad, and eventually indistinguishable, fug of beauty. Turn your day into a Lynch film where nothing happens. Enjoy it. But this was written to be listened to, and to be lived. Don't dream this away.

. . . incredibly moving and hugely engaging . . . Nothing feels rushed, nothing feels diluted; notes are extrapolated, developed and they slowly then morph into something else. Take "Chorale / glow", for instance . . . Its charms lie in being able to take a musical note which drifts, as if stateless, where even the smallest of changes are thought-provoking . . . [Grace Davidson]: A special mention should be made of the incredible female voice throughout "Path 3 (7676)". I found it literally impossible to concentrate on anything but this voice . . . "SLEEP" is an incredible piece of work which manages to be captivating, intriguing and, at times, bewitching. Night time will never be the same as a result.

The music is meditative and minimal, and naturally quite beautiful . . .

It's a towering, eight hour long album . . . [a] gorgeous record . . . "Sleep" is easily the most beautiful album made this year . . . He has made something that can comfort grief, battle insomnia and allow the body to journey to strange new places. He has made the mundane celebratory.

From time to time, Richter's electronic influences shimmer through and shift his instrumentation into a lightly sidechained wash, delivering a haunting effect that makes you feel like a tiny ant traveling across a Richard Serra piece at dusk . . . Richter's austerely circling phrases, much like the mesmerizing work of Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Julia Wolfe, serve as an understated breather from the nightmare majesty of selfie mania, fast fashion and subwoofer stasis . . . This album will draw you into a velvet chasm.

This is the ultimate chill-out record . . . it's gentle . . . and creates a soothing hypnotic effect . . . it's very engrossing -- assuming you can stay awake long enough to absorb it all.

. . . [Richter has asked Mogwai] to give SLEEP segment "Path 5" a going over. The result is a kind of terrifying Italo record slowed down to a brutally grinding crawl. In a good way.

. . . ["Sleep"] is exquisite, eminently listenable while awake but also a perfect accompaniment for dreamtime.

. . . [the sound on "Sleep"] is as polished throughout as the performance . . .

. . . this is solid music and deserves to be considered as such. If this is to be Richter's magnum opus, he can be proud of what he has accomplished.

Deceptively simple at times, this symphony of sleep offers a depth of emotion . . . People will be talking about Richter's achievement for years . . . The combination of skill, execution and ambition make it our site's #1 album of 2015.

. . . beautiful and calming . . .

It's not bland or monotonous, some musical white noise, or meditation music: every minute is fixed by some dreamy idea . . . but it also aspires to a lull, a certain "boredom", a mode that seems perpetually scarce in the days of screens everywhere.

"Sleep" is an aural triumph that will gently seep into the background, creating a warm blanket of sound that'll eliminate the city around you.

. . . ["Sleep"] is exquisite, eminently listenable while awake but also a perfect accompaniment for dreamtime.

["Dream 11" & "Dream 3"]: The music possesses a dreaminess, obviously, but Richter's interaction of strings and electronics also infuses it with some urgency and tension.

A composer who writes beautifully evocative, dreamy orchestral music with a choir. I like to listen on a plane and just drift off into the distance.

I've been listening to its melting chords for the past year while very much awake . . . among the most personal and meaningful pieces I've ever heard.

. . . ein Monumentalwerk . . . traumhaft und träumerisch . . . [die Kurzfassung, "From Sleep", ist nicht weniger fesselnd,] ebenso beruhigend und ebenso traumhaft, ebenso gelungen wie die nachtfüllende Langversion . . . "Sleep" ist ein grandioses Werk, ein Experiment, gelungen, zum Verschlafen eigentlich viel zu schön.

. . . [die Musik] ist reflektiert, sie klingt nicht banal oder trivial, sondern gerade auch wegen der subtilen Variationen vielschichtig, mit denen er sich vor Bachs Goldberg-Variationen verbeugt, deren (apokryphe) Entstehungsgeschichte ihn natürlich ebenso wie die musikalische Gestaltung fasziniert. Viele der vermeintlich schlichten Melodien, die eher zyklisch als linear auftauchen und wieder verschwinden wie konzentrische Kreise, sind von großer Schönheit, strahlen wunderbare Ruhe aus, sind auf eine sehr besondere Weise meditativ und lassen viel Raum für individuelle Assoziationen . . . Mit ruhigen, gleichmäßigen, schlichten Klavierakkorden beginnt DREAM 3, nach einiger Zeit kommt eine expressive Cellokantilene dazu, später eine Viola, die das betörend schöne Klanggeflecht komplexer macht, ohne dass der ruhige, beruhigende Grundrhythmus aufgegeben würde.

. . . im positiven Sinne einlullend . . .