Trying to fall asleep to music usually doesn’t work for me, because I’m listening too intently to doze off. I remember Elementary School Sam lying in bed with the radio on, thinking, “OK, if you don’t like the next song, you’ll go to sleep.” It never worked, because if I liked the song, I wanted to listen to it, and if I didn‘t like the song, I didn’t want my day to end on a sour note so I’d wait for the next one. …
TV is even worse for me, because even with my eyes closed I’ll try to discern the plots and storyboard the visuals in my head. Down the hall, Mr. Brooks uses the TV as a sleep aid, and thanks to concrete floors and high doors, when the acoustics are just right, I can hear his TV even through two closed doors, and that’s even worse because then it adds a layer of, “Why is he watching a Jennifer Love Hewitt telemovie? Why doesn’t he change the channel?” One weekend I remember hearing the “Golden Girls” theme song every half-hour for like four and a half hours and wondered (a) how often the program is on marathon play like that, and (b) after a while, whether I was hallucinating.
Back when I was dating TB, we took one of those “how well do you know each other?” quizzes and one of the questions was, “What is your partner’s favorite sound?” He said: “Probably the sound of a fan, because it means he’s getting ready to go to sleep.” Which was exactly what I had written down. A table fan provides a smooth, steady exhale of white noise that muffles pretty much any noise, from road traffic to Tyra Sanchez’s occasional overnight guests. This week at some point Tyra and his friend Wendy put on an impromptu concert at 2:30 a.m., singing Celine Dion songs into microphones. I know this only because I heard about it the next day, even though the doors to our rooms are only about 10 feet apart. That’s the power of a fan and a heavy sleeper.
But this is about music that makes you fall asleep, and while I can’t narrow it down to a particular song, I rarely make it all the way through “The Ambient Collection” by The Art of Noise without getting a visit from Hypnos. That’s not a slam. As the title suggests, the remix album weaves ambient noise — raindrops; babbles, chants and laughs; horses clip-clopping down a street — into signature synthesizer- and sample-heavy Art of Noise tracks.
Years ago, I remember being delighted when an MTV commercial used The Art of Noise’s “Robinson Crusoe” to illustrate the exquisite torture of elevator music. I meanwhile, embrace everything about it — the flutter of clarinets at 2:30 always makes me smile and bob my head in a little “conductor” motion. The whole album is a paean to the little things — aural sound bites and overheard snippets of conversation, that wend their way into your consciousness (and unconsciousness). I think it’s a testament to the album that I haven’t loaded a single track onto my iPod because I think of the whole disc as one piece to be enjoyed intact.
|WHAT SAM WORE to the GYM: 2-19-11|
|The shirt: V-neck tee by Abercrombie & Fitch, from Buffalo Exchange.|
|The shorts: Knit shorts by Champion, from Sports Authority.|
|The shoes: Sneakers by Adidas, from Sports Authority.|