Are you having a hard time sleeping? Looking for something to help you sleep? Try listening to this.
One of the fundamental criticisms of New Age music is that it puts people to sleep. Here, Steven Halpern, one of the founding fathers of New Age, makes that his mission and, as you might expect, does an effective job of it. Drawing on catalog material from the early 1980s, Halpern builds an attractive collection of delicate, lighter-than-air sonic textures that nicely serves the intended purpose–to fill the silence with something prettier than white noise. Halpern does so by blending electric and acoustic piano, plus additional keyboards, to create soothing, improvisational, cloudlike musical abstractions that often convey the tranquil randomness of wind chimes in a soft breeze. The liner notes also promise your subconscious will be exposed to a series of subliminal, sleep-encouraging affirmations along the quiet, unstructured way. This may sound like so much frou-frou to the unconverted, but for anyone sincerely interested in a sleep aid, Halpern’s disc is a certified snoozer, a New Age music box. Other New Age discs may accomplish the same purpose as Sleep Soundly, but few will do it as persuasively. –Terry Wood
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