Keefus Ciancia on making Sleeping Tapes with Jeff Bridges

Sleeping Tapes is rapidly becoming a cult record among not just those who need help getting to sleep, but among anyone with an appreciation for surreal poetry and experimental sound design. It's a unique collaboration between actor Jeff Bridges, surrealist illustrator and writer Lou Beach, and film composer and producer Keefus Ciancia, who is also notable for having worked on the stunning score for acclaimed HBO show True Detective.

Getting The Dude to record a meditation tape sounds like something a cynical advertising exec would come up with. Indeed, that's exactly how this project was  dreamed up.

But the results reach far beyond that into something special. Part performance art, part ambient soundscape, its an outsider masterpiece that blends fact and fiction.

It is one of my favourite records of 2015 so far. I tracked down Keefus to find out a bit more to the story. 

He talks about how he came to be involved with the project after an email from Jeff, with whom he'd previously collaborated for the film Crazy Heart. 

"I actually thought I was being pranked," says Keefus, who describes Jeff's outsider take on music as Captain Beefheart, meets Kris Kristofferson, meets music from Mars. "He's one hundred percent pure, a real and very present man and just to be around that was really inspiring." 

Somewhat unbelievably, the whole record was started and finished in January this year. 

"I had never seen something come together so fast, and of such great quality. We actually had a double album, but it was just getting too late. There wasn't the ability to press a double record at the time, so we had to cut off about 30 or 40 more minutes of other material."

Hear our full extended chat here.