The title White Sleep probably conjures up one image in your brain, and if so, that’s an OK place to start. Yuta Nagashima’s second album brings us quiet, pretty ambient music that unfolds at a patient pace. You could put this music on while you’re sleeping, daydreaming or meditating, and it would be a perfect companion. But think a bit more about sleep for a second. Sleep is not simple. It’s confounding, mysterious. It taunts, confuses, tempts and frustrates. The elusive nature of sleep and dreams is also noticeably present within the music on White Sleep. It’s in the way it can be still, almost hovering in the air, but also in the smaller, stranger sounds that make up the overall sound — submerged snippets from field recordings, near-silent electro-acoustic doodles.
Listen up close to this and you will get lost, but lost within an overall feeling and mood that becomes more complex the longer you stay there. According to Darla Records’ promotional materials for the album, Nagashima has said “white sleep” is the state of consciousness that a baby begins life with; sleep is when we get closest to returning to it. That explanation further enhances the feeling that we get while listening to this. It’s as though we’re stepping into a gorgeous no man’s land, an immaterial state of being that’s hard to put boundaries, or words, around.