“Never judge a book by its cover,” many an elementary school teacher will often warn. Perhaps nothing could better illustrate that concept than two of this week’s biggest album announcements. Yesterday, John Frusciante, former guitarist of The Mars Volta and Red Hot Chili Peppers, unveiled plans for an acid house record. Now, Jeff Bridges has shared a similarly left-field project: The sometimes country singer/frequent actor/resident “Dude” has recorded an ambient drone album entitled Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes. Yes, you read that right.
Spanning 16 tracks, the double album features Bridges doing spoken word in his signature gruff voice, accompanied by waves of murmuring drone sounds, various field recordings, and faded piano. It was recorded at Santa Barbara’s Playback Studios alongside composer Keefus Ciancia, whose past credits include TV shows True Detective and Nashville. Below, stream Sleep Tapes in full and also check out the project’s corresponding website DreamingWithJeff.com.
The Crazy Heart star spoke about the lengthy recording process, saying, “While working on the Sleeping Tapes album we put in some long hours. Listening back to our day’s work, I’d often drift off. I’d wake up and smile saying, ‘This stuff works.’” He added, “I just dig the sounds, stories, and vibe.”
Interestingly enough, while some of the tracks do evoke cozy slumbers (“Goodmorning, Sweetheart”; “Goodnight (We’re All In This Together)”; “See You At The Dreaming Tree”), others seem rather unsettling (“The Raven”) and downright odd (“Ikea”; “A Glass Of Water”). In much the same way, the music is an interesting mixed bag of sonic textures that range from lush, calming meditations to decidedly eerie, nightmarish haunts. (Queue up the chilly “Sleep. Dream. Wakeup” while alone in the dark and see how long you can go before checking the locks.)
Sleep Tapes is currently available for download and will later be issued on cassette and vinyl in a limited run. All proceeds benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Also, be on the lookout for a Squarespace ad featuring Sleeping Tapes music to air during the Super Bowl.
Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes Tracklist:
01. Introduction (Good Evening)
02. Sleep. Dream. Wakeup
03. Chimes for Dreams
05. Goodmorning, Sweetheart
06. See You At The Dreaming Tree
07. A Glass of Water
08. The Raven
09. The Hen
11. My Keys
12. Temescal Canyon
13. Feeling Good
14. Seeing With My Eyes Closed
15. Goodnight (We’re All In This Together)