Paul DeMarinis

‘SLEEP: The Penitent’s Journey’ is a sleep-learning song-cycle tape by 72 year old Californian electronic composer and inventor Paul DeMarinis.

“The Penitent’s Journey”

You recorded this music in 1985. Why do you release it now?

Paul DeMarinis: I came across a cassette with this material in 2018 while I was gathering material for my 2-LP album ‘Songs Without Throats’ released in 2019 on Black Truffle Records. While they didn’t really fit the program of that album, I liked them, and especially noticed that listening to them put me right to sleep. So I decided to issue it. The tracks were originally made as “filler” for a concert at Phill Niblock’s Experimental Media Foundation in 1985. In those days loading programs into computers was slow – either by floppy disk or, worse, 300 baud Serial connection from another computer. I needed something pre-recorded to cover the several minute gaps between pieces, so I made these short “cameo” pieces that used the same DSP cross synthesis I was using for the pieces in the concert.

You tagged the album on Bandcamp with ‘hypnopedia’. Why?

Hypnopedia refers to the fantasy of effortless learning while you sleep by listening to pre-recorded tracks. It was applied experimentally, mostly unsuccessfully, from the 1930s through the 1960s. It proposed applications not only in learning school material as Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” depicts, but also in “brainwashing” black-ops as in John Frankenheimer’s “The Manchurian Candidate.” I thought it was a good category for ‘Sleep’, since if it does succeed in putting other listeners to sleep as well as it does for me, the latter part of the cassette would be experienced only during sleep.

The sub-title of the album is ‘The Penitent’s Journey’. Can you explain this to me?

As I listened to this material a lot of memories about 1985 came flooding back to me, in particular about an on-again/off-again relationship I was involved in at the time. I was on the down-side of it at the point I recorded these pieces and had to eat a lot of crow, so I decided to add the subtitle to set the mood.