Sleeping has long been a fascinating and frustrating activity for me. I am a very light sleeper, if not a frequent insomniac, and when I do sleep I often have bizarre and surreal dreams – which I assume most of us experience at some point. Sleeping is a mysterious activity; a strange altered state of consciousness that may involve sleepwalking, nightmares and fantasies, while also being an essential part of living, providing rejuvenation, relaxation, escape and peace. The power of sleep may go further; as Walt Whitman suggested, sleep is a democratising force – even murderers sleep like the rest of us, young and old, black and white.
I Dance Myself to Sleep explores the general idea of sleep, but more specifically it relates to a perplexing recurring dream that involves the central ‘female companion’ characters from some of my favourite childhood movies like Superman, the Indiana Jones films and the Star Wars saga. Representing this is a repeated, romantic melody – a ‘love theme’ that I wrote at the age of 12 in homage to the enchanting love themes in film scores by John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Max Steiner. However, this recurring dream developed over several years, becoming less whimsical and naive, allegorically suggesting a loss of innocence. This is represented musically in my work by the juxtaposition of sweeping romanticism and haunting musical gestures. The simple melody is played in contexts made bittersweet by particular orchestration, counterpoint and harmony that shrouds and taints the unadorned melody. I Dance Myself to Sleep synthesises several musical influences on my work, including film music and jazz harmony, as well as particular works of Maurice Ravel and Toru Takemitsu.