Three screens from Max Richter's Sleep app.
Courtesy Max Richter

An Epic Lullaby by Max Richter, Rearranged in a Meditation App

The composer’s new Sleep app helps users meditate, focus, and get some shut-eye.
By Tom Morris
November 7, 2020
1 minute read

In 2015, German-born British composer Max Richter wrote an epic eight-and-a-half-hour-long musical cycle titled “Sleep,” with the intention of it being the soundtrack to one night’s snooze. It consists of 31 tracks that each last about half an hour, and has been performed around the world and streamed more than half a billion times. “It’s protest music against this sort of very super-industrialized, intense, mechanized way of living right now,” Richter said ahead of the piece’s U.S. premiere. “It’s a political work in that sense. It’s a call to arms to stop what we’re doing.”

Recently, with the help of the Berlin-based record label Deutsche Grammophon, Richter transformed the score into an app of the same name. Divided into three sessions—Sleep, Meditate, and Focus—users can set timers for the music to play according to a chosen activity. (There’s also a tranquil alarm sound, created by Richter specifically for the project.) As a possible deterrent to flicking endlessly through social media, a soothing animation of planetary movements appears on-screen when the app is in use. Each song is an immersive, transporting experience—and a surefire way to reach peak mellow.