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Sometimes, when we are in need of relaxation, a moment of reprieve from the weight and pace of our schedules, our brains and bodies can’t simply get off the treadmill of the day and let go. When I'm in need of something to salve and ease what can feel like the untouchable stresses on my mind and body, this is when I’ll turn to music.

Slowing the Mind: Reich, Garbarek, Richter & Johannson

I might try the gentle, steady energy of Steve Reich that will meet my buzzing brain, and steer it into open, clear space. Perhaps the sense of journey I get from a heartbeat-like pulse in Jan Garbarek’s Where the Rivers Meet will take me where I need to go. Sometimes I just need something that will slow my thoughts and breath – in this case Max Richter and Johann Johannson are the absolute masters of timelessness, holding the space with sonority and harmony, creating a sense of eternity.

Nick Bochner's Music for Sleep and Winding Down

Falling Asleep: Garbarek, Schubert, Bach & Mitchell

Jan Garbarek’s classic collaboration with the Hilliard Ensemble, Officium never fails to soothe me, with his soaring improvisations enticing like a candle in the cathedral of sound the vocals create. And of course Schubert and Bach both knew how to evoke a sense of timeless space. But then, the sound of a gently strummed guitar in open-tuning with Joni Mitchell’s velvet voice is often all the soothing I’ll ever need.

Waking Up: Ravel

Having achieved that state of perfection known as sleep, though, we have the opposite problem of how to re-emerge gently and with purpose into the awaiting day. For this, I can recommend setting Ravel’s closing movement of his Mother Goose Suite. It starts in a dream world and gradually energises with a perfect sequence of melodies before emerging, fresh and invigorated into the brilliant light of a new day, one that I can now face thanks to a night of perfect sleep.

View other MSO Mixtapes

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