German-born and British-reared, Max Richter, 53, crafts bold classical music (recomposition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons) and politically conscious compositions (the anti-violence The Blue Notebooks and anti-hustle Sleep). The pianist of prolific film and ballet scores currently tours music from his score to HBO’s The Leftovers and a 60-minute version of his eight-hour concert Sleep. Richter emailed from the road.
Austin Chronicle: Could you discuss why Sleep encourages people to unplug?
Max Richter: One of the things that started me writing Sleep was realizing that we’re moving toward a culture suited very well to corporations while eroding some basic human experiences. That really valuable and speculative “not really doing anything in particular” space has been taken from us by our screens. Or we have taken it from ourselves. Insomnia is on the rise. We are wired.
But we are more than units of production and consumption. Sleep is a manifesto for a slower pace of existence. My hope is that the project can work as a pause button on the digital universe; an invitation to step off the hamster wheel.
AC: What are you currently listening to?
MR: It’s the Beethoven anniversary year, so I’m revisiting his music, which is a huge pleasure. I’m also listening to a lot of Little Richard and his contemporaries. I love the rawness and energy of that material.
AC: Do you have any favorite electronic artists right now?
MR: Arca and the Haxan Cloak would be a couple I’ve enjoyed recently. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, too.
AC: Who’s your favorite rock band?
MR: Khruangbin are a bit of a favourite right now.
AC: What so-called “guilty pleasures” would you admit to?
MR: King Gizzard are definitely a pleasure, guilty or not.
Fri., Oct. 18, 8pm