Do androids dream of electric sheep? Why? Why would they? I don’t dream about sheep. I dream about annoying things like never-ending, meaningless IT projects, or being chased through acid rain into a field of knives by a pack of hungry wolves (preferable). Perhaps android shepherds would dream about electric sheep. But one could also argue that if electric sheep had been built properly then they wouldn’t require a shepherd and therefore the concept wouldn’t exist. Only possibly then, electric sheep might develop a theory of android shepherds through machine learning… Whichever way you look at it ‘Blade Runner’ was always going to be a better movie title anyway.

Sleep is something we can do without thinking, also something we can’t do because we are thinking. You can have too little, or apparently too much. It’s crucial for us to live, yet in many ways still an enigma. There is of course some science behind our understanding I don’t dispute. We know about enough to understand that sleep is important but also to allow us to control it, limit it and deprioritise it, in support of other headier goals like climbing a mountain, sailing around the world or reading memes on the toilet.

And now consumer technology is helping us to think we understand more about sleep. A bad night’s sleep used to be when you woke up under something heavy and angular, generally a long way from a bed with a feeling like a nocturnal creature had used your mouth for a toilet. Now we find that even in controlled safe environments we are not entitled to quality downtime.

I recently acquired a smart watch which is able to somehow determine the type of sleep I am getting. Well this is hugely disconcerting. Now I am worried that I’m not getting enough ‘deep sleep’. Here I was cheerful in the fact that I am able to sleep at will for countless hours. Confident in my sleeping ability and self assured of the good it is doing me. Now I find out that my sleep quality is quite probably trash. My ‘device’ reports that I’m basically just splashing around at the shallow end of sleep playing with all my abstract memories and shimmying like leaf toiling on the wind of a moonless night.

Rather than achieving the golden state of full regenerative recharge whereby i lose weight, file all of my stress and do a bit of rapid cell division. I’m clearly chewing through the night on the verge of consciousness, halfheartedly powering my internal hamster wheel and probably aging faster than I do when I’m awake.

What to do? Maybe I should meditate more, reduce my blue light exposure, listen to whale-song, rub hemp seed oil on my chest and sleep in a cradle of hay. Or just possibly, maybe, I should take the watch off before I go to bed.

And so the theme of sleep in music. Of course there has been much to be said. My initial list was extensive. Everything from Mr Sandman to No sleep til Brooklyn (both nearly made it) so it was hard to narrow the field. But I’m quietly pleased with the 4 survivors. The thing I like most about these 4 tunes are their diversity. At first it feels as if the CD rack has fallen onto your head and left you with a series of bruises and rare personality disorder, but as the dust starts to settle and the room stops spinning you can see the alignment. That makes me happy.


First up is a band that rarely associated with an afternoon doze. Rage Against the Machine with Sleep Now in the Fire from the brilliant 3rd studio album The Battle of Los Angeles. The video for this track was directed by Michael Moore and filmed on Wall Street, almost predictably inciting a near riot and resulting in the arrest of Mr Moore at the scene. Spookily about 1 minute into the video there is footage of a man holding a placard with “Donald Trump for President 2000” on it. Typical inflammatory Moore hyperbole. Oh right… damn.

Next in seeming diametric opposition to RATM we have Belle & Sebastian with the lo-fi dreamy pop tune Sleep The Clock Around from their second album the Boy with the Arab Strap. Stuart Murdoch suffered with chronic fatigue syndrome for much of his youth. Something which drastically impacted his life. That he managed to find a way through it to cultivate the musical outpourings of Belle and Sebastian is as much a testament to his character as to the healing quality of music. Take note that this tune also includes bagpipes woven in between the fender rhodes and trumpet and synth. Scottish to the end.

Next to Jamie XX and Sleep Sound from his 2014 solo album In Colour. In Colour is an elemental piece of work, an album I keep rediscovering over time always finding a new energy on each listen. This track may not be the best on the record, although the bar is high, but it has all of the ingredients. I learned that the video was shot with members of the Manchester Deaf Centre under a project by artist Sofia Mattioli. The dancers responding to her movements and the vibrations of the music. It’s a swirling and restless piece of music and the video is mesmerising when you consider the silence.

Finally this quirky piece of resurrection through 2020 pop-sub-culture. Why do I keep hearing this song right now? Well it’s clearly because of some disenfranchised American dude called “dog face” filming himself skateboarding whilst drinking cranberry ocean spray with Dreams as the backing track. Obvious right? Somehow this gentleman has managed to crack open the gateway and channel the boomers directly into the GenZ portal of tik-tok doom. I don’t know what I’m talking about. Or really care. Dreams was always a great record. From the hell born frying pan of fried nerves and imploding relationships in the broken Fleetwood Mac that forged the album Rumours this has and always will be a classic.

Now get some rest.