If somehow you have never heard of the National Sleep Foundation or Sleep Awareness Week®, consider yourself enlightened about an important organization whose stated mission is to advance excellence in sleep health theory, research and practice. Each year, the organization sets this time aside to re-emphasize the important connection between your sleep and your health. This year, they say in uniquely quirky fashion,, they’re dedicated to helping us become our Best Slept Self – because deep rejuvenating sleep is what they toss and turn about. During his week, they share valuable information on how people have been sleeping the past year, while offering research based advice on the benefits of quality sleep and how it affects health and well- being.
No music label is as qualified to create a stunning, all at once relaxing yet soul stirring soundtrack to this year’s event as myndstream, whose philosophy is to “stream mindfulness wherever you are, whomever you are. One of the five subcategories on its homepage is “Sleep,” and underneath the moon image you can click to link to the perfect playlist, it says, “Music has a direct effect on the parasympathetic nervous system which helps the body relax and prepare for sleep. Relaxing music before bed enables you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.” Fully capturing this aesthetic while embodying the spirit of Sleep Awareness Week®, myndstream’s very first compilation album Ambient Sleep offers gentle, dreamlike tracks from three of the label’s renowned artists – Carl Borden, Haiku Project and Michelle Qureshi – that are designed induce a beautiful sense of peace and relaxation, ultimately facilitating a healthy and rejuvenating sleep.
Borden is a composer, producer and engineer who left behind a successful career in pop/R&B to launch an impactful career as a Billboard charting new age/ambient music artist with his Real Music debut Echoes of Bliss, which won silver medals for Best New Age Album and Album Production at the Global Music Awards. His perfectly titled “Dreamscapes” invites us to let our tensions go and immerse in his hypnotic, liquefied wall of subtle then intensifying sound – which includes gentle nature sounds and soothing sonic drops of water that arrive slowly, then emerge at a faster, fuller pace so as to simulate a quietly rolling stream.
Releasing ambient and healing new age electronic as The Haiku Project since the mid-2010s, Danish composer and synthesist Henrik Hytteballe creates complementary works as a visual and musical artist inspired by nature, emotions and the people whom he’s met throughout his fascinating life’s journey. The title of his inspiring and beautifully melodic contribution to Ambient Sleep, “Guuterput” – the Greenlandic word for “Our God” – taps into the transcendent nature of sleep and its role in physical, emotional and spiritual renewal. The piece finds Henrik blending lush, solemn atmospheres (which take on choir-like vocal and symphonic effects at times) with a slow, meditative piano melody perfect for softly lulling us into a sleep state. It’s the perfect reflection of his skills as a sonic architect and emotion driven pianist.
The final track is “Tomorrow By Another Name” by acoustic guitarist/composer Michelle Qureshi, a multi Zone Music Reporter and One World Music nominee who has been on an upward trajectory in the genre since 2018, when she debuted her Harmonic Sound Immersion™, a transformative sound meditation created by the healing vibrations of ancient and modern instruments, which she uniquely describes as a “horizontal concert.” The track is pure soul-caressing ambience, varying in intensity and frequency, until two minutes in, when Michelle brings her lovely, lilting guitar into the moment with eloquent, melodic and slightly exotic notes that captivate the senses (if we listen while awake) and take us the rest of the way to an exhale and deep slumber when we employ the song for meditative or sleep-inducing purposes. Michelle's title hints at the hope that every new tomorrow brings after a good night's rest.