6 In the Key of Sleep
In the Key of Sleep’s hour-plus title track is a gentle, minimalistic-ambient hymn to the art of slumber, a practice that doesn’t come easily to everyone. An insomniac for most of his life, Australian composer theAdelaidean’s eighth Projekt release draws on a limited palette of sustained synthesized strings, rippling electric piano and muted bass that chart a course through tranquil harmonic progressions, via a series of subtle transformations and gently surprising abstractions, to sleep.
Getting to “In the Key of Sleep” is a journey in itself through five re-imaginings and remixes on the core theme, beginning with a self-contained homage to the perfect afternoon nap, “Floating,” an abbreviated reworking of one key moment from the larger work. A series of near-complete reinventions follow, the first of them “Falling,” its brittle, diamond-sharp synths evocative of the random detours our minds sometimes take before giving in to slumber. “Flying” follows, capturing through wide-spectrum sequencers and intermittent bass stabs the adrenaline rush of a good dream, rushing like a river over the events of the day. “Free” brings the listener/dreamer to a state of pure release, adrift against a soundtrack of cinematic ambience, avoiding both defined melodic statements and resolution alike. The final variation, “Flux,” concludes in a locus of complete separation from time and space, beyond consciousness, beyond thought. Here at the centre of sleep, there are no dreams, just a slow pulse of being.
The final track, concluding what is in effect a double album, brings all these elements together, patiently repairing the mind from its daytime travails.
In the Key of Sleep invites the listener to surrender to the inevitable, knowing that what awaits is both familiar and unpredictable. This state of mind is familiar to deep appreciators of ambient music, who use it as accompaniment to states both of higher consciousness and of unconsciousness. For theAdelaidean, this album is both an exploration of that tension and a cure for his own sleeplessness.