Lullabies for grown-ups?
August 16, 2005 12:12 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend some contemporary music to fall asleep to?

I'm going to a pop festival this weekend and, attached to my sleep as I am, I want to take some precautions to help me get those valuable Zs. There's a round-the-clock party tent just outside the camping grounds, and overall there's going to be lots of noise pretty much all of the time.

A successful strategy in recent years has been ear plugs + big-ass headphones with some soothing, meandering music. At home I like to fall asleep while listening to This American Life, but talk radio will probably not be powerful enough in this environment. Basically I'm fed up with the mix cd I've been using these last few years (BTW, I'm going for the 10th time! :) ) and I'm looking for pointers to fresh tunes.

Basically what I like is either slow, electronic triphoppy stuff or singer-songwriter / slow rock songs (that do have some constant power and no sudden volume changes). Recommendations of albums are ok, single tracks would be even better.

Previous successes: Massive Attack, Portishead, Aimee Mann.

My brain and mood thank you a lot!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane to Media & Arts (53 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Definitely Beth Orton.
posted by cilantro at 12:16 PM on August 16, 2005

Ossia by George Sarah might be right up your alley.
posted by scody at 12:17 PM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: Have you checked out Postal Service yet? I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're looking for, but songs like "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" and "Sleeping In" are my idea of a more relaxed groove.
posted by onalark at 12:19 PM on August 16, 2005

St Germain - Rose Rouge

Any of that album (Tourist) works for me, though.
posted by gaspode at 12:24 PM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: Air, Boards of Canada, Hooverphonic, Lamb, Lemon Jelly, Sneaker Pimps, Thievery Corp, Zero 7.
posted by rdc at 12:29 PM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: And Sigur Ros
posted by cilantro at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: ( ) , by Sigur Ros, is full of interesting, relaxing and dramatic soundscapes, sung in a made-up non-language.
posted by nyterrant at 12:32 PM on August 16, 2005 [1 favorite]


I own both of the albums on the linked page. They're both beautiful but some pieces of Atol Scrap sound like they were made by angels.
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 12:32 PM on August 16, 2005

d'argh, cilantro beat me to it.
posted by nyterrant at 12:33 PM on August 16, 2005

I'm a big fan of Bill Laswell's Invisible Design for this purpose.
posted by neckro23 at 12:36 PM on August 16, 2005

Can't help with triphoppy or slow rock, but for some electronic ambience that will sure aid sleep and take you right off into another world, try Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Vol2. For specific tracks off this album, try Ropes (Disc1 Track 6) or Rusty Metal (Disc2 Track 11).

Brian Eno's Thursday Afternoon will also take you right off into another world - and perhaps a slightly less scary one than Aphex's....
posted by forallmankind at 12:37 PM on August 16, 2005

I've purchased two CDs in the past five years the work well:

Dreamworld: Essential Late Night Listening and Chilled Euphoria, the latter of which is one of the best discs I have ever purchased. It's fantastic.

It looks as if both of those are currently out of print, but I'll bet they're available on eBay. Or, you know, roll your own based on the tracklists.

(Although the Chilled Euphoria is a "continuous mix" comprising special dubs, etc. so maybe that's not so easy.)

Whatever you do, though, seek out Chilled Euphoria. I guarantee you 100% satisfaction. Seriously.
posted by jdroth at 12:38 PM on August 16, 2005

Oops. Rereading your question, I see you want the music this weekend. Nixes the eBay option. Still: check out that Chilled Euphoria.
posted by jdroth at 12:39 PM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: Iron and Wine, and Hem.
posted by Doug at 12:40 PM on August 16, 2005

How about the Dirty Three? Their Ocean Songs album is beautiful. Instrumental violin, drums, and guitar only.

Sigur Ros might also fit the bill, though it might be too interesting to fall asleep to. Maybe also Mum, The For Carnation, Tindersticks, or an old This Mortal Coil album...It'll End in Tears is their best IMO.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:40 PM on August 16, 2005

Another vote for Sigur Ros. Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized might also serve you well.
posted by mkultra at 12:45 PM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: Broken Social Scene's Feel Good Lost.
posted by Evstar at 12:51 PM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: Jon Brion is great for this too.
posted by luriete at 1:09 PM on August 16, 2005

daniel lanois whose current album is entirely instrumental, with lots of pedal steel (his first instrument, which he played lots of before going on to produce U2, Bob Dylan, Emmylou, Willie Nelson, etc) and is very atmospheric.

Other artists that can be great for this, but whose whole oeuvre isn't exactly quiet include the weakerthans, rheostatics, willie deville, josh rouse, rufus wainwright. Actually, one of the Rheos put out a beautiful (mainly) acoustic album a couple years back with an odd title, that is wonderful.
posted by Richat at 1:12 PM on August 16, 2005

Robot Dog.
posted by Guy Smiley at 1:12 PM on August 16, 2005

Orbital usually works for me. Good to study to too.
posted by jamesonandwater at 1:13 PM on August 16, 2005

Stars of the Lid - The Tired Sounds of...
posted by lbergstr at 1:14 PM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: Also, I asked this same question on another board just yesterday.
posted by lbergstr at 1:15 PM on August 16, 2005

"Let's be Still" by Yo La Tengo, off Summer Sun

Pretty much all of Drawing of Sound by Windy and Carl....which is currently unavailable at Amazon, although the items the do have available should give you an idea of their sound.
posted by LionIndex at 1:15 PM on August 16, 2005

The second half of Critters Buggin's "Host" works well for me. In fact, I used to have a playlist called "sleep" that was composed of songs from that album and "Guest". The last track on "Host" is actually taken from a relaxation tape of some kind. It always helps me sleep.
posted by Eideteker at 1:22 PM on August 16, 2005

Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate - In The Heart of the Moon. Is a great album.
posted by Navek Rednam at 1:47 PM on August 16, 2005

This question has been asked, in various forms, several times before. Check out these threads: 1 2 3.
posted by googly at 1:49 PM on August 16, 2005

Download some of the mixes from theta states (look in the mix archive for 'robots are people too').

You could also record a couple of hours of some of the ambient radio stations on iTunes (Limbik Frequencies is v.good).
posted by voon_42 at 1:50 PM on August 16, 2005

From the blue a few days ago, fleep... offers some nice deep house that you may find soothing. Check out a few of the different (free) mixes offered, you're sure to find one that works.
posted by awesomebrad at 1:55 PM on August 16, 2005

One of my favorites for this is Stereolab's "Dots and Loops." If you liked Massive Attack previously, pick up the Massive Attack v. Mad Professor "No Protection" disc for a nice twist. Both albums are great when you're not sleeping, too.
posted by werty at 2:16 PM on August 16, 2005

I'll second a lot of these, mum, arovane, dirty three.

Also check out The Black Heart Procession, Migrade, Deru, Mouse on Mars (Glam,) Low, Magnog, Bardo Pond, early Cure (seventeen seconds,) The Pernice Brothers, Xela, The Red House Painters, We (The Square Root of Minus One.)

Boards of Canada get on my nerves, and Postal Service makes me want to vomit.

My favorite sleeping album: Autechre's Amber
posted by The Jesse Helms at 2:17 PM on August 16, 2005

Kruder & Dorfmeister and Tosca are fine for taking the edge off of the day. For example, High Noon off K&D's DJ-Kicks is pretty chillin'.
posted by Elpoca at 2:17 PM on August 16, 2005

Sleep Machines
posted by nylon at 2:18 PM on August 16, 2005

There were some fantastic suggestions in this thread - don't be fooled by the fact that I was asking for music for a baby.
posted by donnagirl at 2:24 PM on August 16, 2005

Johann Johannsson. This is my favorite for airplanes.
posted by drobot at 2:26 PM on August 16, 2005

I'd second the votes for Beth Orton, Arovane, mum.

Also American Analog Set (probably the most perfect answer I can think of), Jessica Bailiff, Sugarplant (esp Happy/Trance Mellow, but might be hard to find on short notice), Slowblow, Nick Drake, Bedhead, most of the David Lynch soundtracks by Angelo Badalamenti..
posted by p3t3 at 2:36 PM on August 16, 2005

Juana Molina has a foot in both acoustic and electric camps; Schleep and Cuckooland by Robert Wyatt, perhaps. The last Fripp and Eno Album is really quite lovely too. And, although not modern by any means, I'd like to suggest Thomas Tallis and William Byrd as wonderful falling-asleep music.
posted by Grangousier at 3:00 PM on August 16, 2005

[old] Desmond Dekker and the Aces - Action! --(does it every time)

Mouse on Mars - Iaora Tahiti
Casino vs. Japan - Go Hawaii (or anything else)
Freescha - (anything you can find)
Ulrich Schnauss - A Strangely Isolated Place
Tipper - Holding Pattern (just kidding)

Tracks (for a comp?)
Peace Orchestra - Man Pt. 1
DJ Food - The Crow
Boards of Canada - Aquarius, Happy Cycling

Ok, that's all I'll suggest for right now ... for some reason I can't think of more tracks. I second the recommendations for Kings of Convenience.
posted by redteam at 3:02 PM on August 16, 2005

I often go to sleep listening to Miles Davis "In a Silent Way". Though I don't know if that is contemporary enough for you.
posted by Eekacat at 3:24 PM on August 16, 2005

Discreet Music, eno.
posted by docpops at 3:38 PM on August 16, 2005

rocky votolato
kings of convience
posted by at 3:42 PM on August 16, 2005

Jason Falkner's Bedtime With The Beatles cover album.
posted by skyboy at 4:40 PM on August 16, 2005

Múm, Arovane, B. Fleischmann, Colleen, Porn Sword Tobacco, Goldfrapp, Brian Eno, Jon Brion, Keren Ann, Rachel's, Keith Fullterton Whitman....

I would encourage a thorough investigation of any of these.
posted by rfordh at 4:44 PM on August 16, 2005

Bunch of stuff mentioned above, plus Emiliana Torrini.
posted by matildaben at 4:58 PM on August 16, 2005

Try "Govi" and "Eric Tinstad & Nancy Rummel", works for me and the Mr's.
posted by Drevan at 5:17 PM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: Mojave 3/quieter songs from Slowdive/Neil Halstead. Air. Windsor For The Derby. American Analog Set. Explosions In The Sky. Sigur Ros. Stars Of The Lid. Rebecca Gates/The Spinanes (more Arches And Aisles than Manos). Red House Painters/Mark Kozelek/Sun Kil Moon. American Music Club/Mark Eitzel. Sufjan Stevens. Feist. Regina Spektor's softer songs. Quieter Kings Of Convenience songs. Saxon Shore. Dirty Three. Kinnie Star. Luscious Jackson. Spiritualized/Spacemen 3. Galaxie 500. Damien Jurado. Hum. Au Revoir Simone. Bonnie "Prince" Billy/Will Oldham/Palace. Iron And Wine. Julie Doiron/Eric's Trip. Crooked Fingers. Jose Gonzalez. Twilight Singers. Bjork. Moby's Everything Is Wrong. Hayden. His Name Is Alive. Arab Strap. Snow Patrol. I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness. Keren Ann. Casiotone For The Painfully Alone. Kate Bush. Audio Armada. Jens Lekman. Low. Cass McCombs. This Mortal Coil/The Hope Blister/Dead Can Dance/similar 4AD-type bands. My Favorite. Menomena. The Radio Department. Max Richter. The Smiths. Brian Eno. Jenny Toomey. Thalia Zedek. White Magic. Mia Doi Todd. Cat Power. Carissa's Wierd. Cut Copy. The Go-Find. Mazarin. Labradford. The Azusa Plane. Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. Josh Rouse. East River Pipe. Jay Farrar/Richmond Fontaine. The Durutti Column/Vini Reilly. Disco Inferno. Belly. Hell, early and mid-era Radiohead. Ida. Idaho. Bowery Electric. Knife In The Water. The Wooden Stars. The Reindeer Section. Leonard Cohen. Screen Prints. Piano Magic. Hood. Codeine/The New Year/Chris Brokaw. The Mountain Goats. Black Box Recorder. I Am Kloot. Songs: Ohia. Migala. Edith Frost. Pedro The Lion.

Most of these have mp3s floating around on the Web, particular on
posted by ifjuly at 6:03 PM on August 16, 2005

Laugh all you want but for falling asleep nothing beats Space Music. It has no rhythm, no vocals and usually no patterns.
posted by 517 at 8:04 PM on August 16, 2005

Wow. Now this is a cool question!

Explosions In The Sky's The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place is 5 beautiful instrumental songs. I've read descriptions of their live performance as being "from total silence to total violence". There's some great listening on there. Even the song titles (Your Hand In Mine, The Only Moment We Were Alone). This record 45 minutes long, nice to fall asleep to.

Jose Gonzalez's debut Veneer is a melancholy acoustic album. There's a strange undertone of politics/unrest in all of the songs. The guitar playing is full of tricks, taps and neat quirks.

Godspeed You Black Emperor!'s Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada is an orchestral/rock masterpiece. Beautifully haunting strings over samples. Also check out their other albums Yanqui U.X.O and F# A# (infinity).
posted by xpermanentx at 3:47 AM on August 17, 2005

My kids daycare always used Ray Lynch's "Deep Breakfast" CD to put the kids out at naptime.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:21 AM on August 17, 2005

I've got to second or third some more of these that have been mentioned: B. Fleischmann, Colleen, Slowdive, Flying Saucer Attack.

I'd like to add more including DJ Krush's Zen album and anything by Le Bradford, although I like Mi Media Naranja.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:27 AM on August 17, 2005

La Bradford
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:27 AM on August 17, 2005

Little late to the party, but Mazzy Star works for me.
posted by hootch at 3:56 PM on August 17, 2005

Try the chillout and bedtime tags at (Also ambient, downtempo, calm, mellow, etc. as you prefer.)
posted by dhartung at 12:01 AM on August 19, 2005

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