sleep like it is winter

“sleep like it is winter” by Jim O’Rourke.
Bandcamp Link: sleep like it is winter

I was going to give myself this week off from writing about music and maybe get caught up in my plans for world tea domination.

But then I got all caught up in remembering I hadn’t listened to the new Jim O’Rourke album.

Decided I had to buy it on Bandcamp and then listen to it.

And it turns out to be good.


Jim O’Rourke is a polymath guitarist, producer, mixer, engineer, etc. Maybe best known for being the 5th member of Sonic Youth from 1999-2005, he has been involved in a very long list of bands including Illusion of Safety, Gastr del Sol, and Brise-Glace. As a producer, engineer, and mixer his list of credits is too long to even get started on. He has also released a string of eclectic solo albums under his own name, which range from strange, to rock, to folk. Often on the same album.

Lately, he has been producing albums of abstract electronics under the “Steam Room” name.

Those albums are great, but they are fairly abstract, with no noticeable pulse, or, often, even recognizable instruments.

“sleep like it is winter”, from what I’ve been unable to avoid reading, is viewed as a confluence of O’Rourke’s two worlds.

“sleep like it is winter” is a single 45 minute piece.

It starts, quietly, in the Steam Room world, scratchy shortwave radio samples and pulseless fields of bell-like sounds.

This atmosphere slowly gives way to panning bass sounds, piano, and synthesizer.

The piece briefly transitions to dissonant, industrial sounds, but finishes with consonant, long synthesizer tones which cross each other to form almost hymnlike-chords.

While there are somethings like melodies, there are no voices or discernible guitars.

Dissonant without being harsh, pleasant without being boring, it reminds me of the music groups like Tangerine Dream made before they turned into businesses.

Certainly, self released 45 minute long pulse-less electronic music pieces with periods of dissonance aren’t likely to be racing up the charts, (are there still charts?) any time soon, but in a better world, they would be.

#JimORourke #sleeplikeitiswinter #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack