Jeff Bridges - The Sleeping Tapes

Released January 29, 2015

By Rose Morris

Jeff Bridges has never done anything to convince me that his real-life personality is any different than that of his iconic Coen Brothers character, Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski. This new album, The Sleeping Tapes, just solidifies his Dudeness all the more. This is the most completely batshit insane thing I’ve listened to in a long time – I’m not sure if this album of ambient sounds, lullabies, ramblings, visualizations, and affirmations is meant as art, humour, self-help, or some combination of all three – but it’s completely amazing. 

Bridges’ explanation of this album is pretty simple: “The world is filled with too many restless people in need of rest – that’s why I filled my sleeping tapes with intriguing sounds, noises and other things to help you get a good night’s rest (Source).” After the initial introduction track, in which Bridges tells us he hopes the album inspires us “to do some cool sleeping, some cool dreaming, and some cool waking up,” he launches into several tracks of ambient sounds intended to relax the listener. I listened to this in bed at night a few times, and you know what? The sequence of trance-like chanting, chime sounds, and humming is actually pretty effective for weighing down the old eyelids. Unfortunately, what comes next is two tracks of children laughing and playing which, while sweet and all, is pretty high pitched and jarring. I have a feeling this is intentional.

As the album progresses, there are bedtime stories, musings on life and the afterlife (IKEA), some of the best affirmations you will ever hear (including “even if you think you can’t swim, you probably can” and “you have strong hands capable of woodworking.”), but my personal favourite is Temescal Canyon, by far the longest track on the album clocking in at just over eleven minutes. In this track, the listener is encouraged to “take a guided tour of Temescal Canyon in [your] mind.” Bridges talks us through a visualized hike through the canyon, where we wave at another hiker (a gentle looking fellow possibly named Neil), meet a stray dog, happen upon a pile of gold doubloons (not to mention a pretty okay office chair), and enjoy nature through the sounds of water trickling, birds calling, and wind blowing through tree-branches. The whole thing is very soothing, calming, and weird as hell.

I’d recommend this album to anyone who is a Jeff Bridges fan and anyone else who appreciates general freakishness. And, even if you’re neither of those, you should consider buying a copy anyway because one hundred per cent of the proceeds go to No Kid Hungry, a charity organization that is working towards ending child hunger in the United States.

Give the album a listen here.