The "post-everything electronic-rock" project known as Ghost Against Ghost was quite literally the stuff of dreams for Christopher Bono. Back in 2007, the New York-based composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist dreamt of a "surreal socio-political concept album," as he told the blog TuneCore.
Soon enough, Bono turned his reverie into reality. In order to achieve his vision of "epic soundscapes and arrangements," Bono — who turned to music at 21, after an injury threw a wrench in his plans to play professional baseball — took up the study of classical music. He also recruited two other artists, including Thomas Pridgen, ex-drummer for The Mars Volta, to help bring his project to life. Now, a decade later, Bono has released four Ghost Against Ghost albums, the most recent of which, "Still Love," came out in April.
Bono generally ends his days at 10pm, after two hours in the studio. To turn off his busy mind and transition into sleep mode, Bono often does a short pre-bed meditation session. And, when he's traveling, Bono relies on reading or listening to music to "tune out the external noise."
What music does Bono recommend turning on to help you nod off? It depends. "First," Bono told Van Winkle's, "[you need to] decide on what you intend to induce."
"I believe Bach on repeat encourages mathematical and structural neuron development in the mind," he explained, noting that he favors performances of Bach by the classical pianist Angela Hewitt.
But, if Bono wants to, say, "induce sleepy visions," he'll select early compositions by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, such as the "Rite of Spring," "Petrushka" or "The Firebird." "I believe 20th century composers are fantastic for inducing alien dreamworlds," he said.
Drone music, by artists like Steve Roach, Stars of the Lid and Brian Eno, makes for ideal bedtime listening, Bono says, because "the lack of rhythmic punctuation tends to put the mind in a calm, floating state."
And, if you're looking to put yourself into a grateful mood, Bono suggests transcendent jazz, such as "A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane or something by the nature-inspired pianist John Luther Adams, whose compositions, Bono says, "are great reminders of the beauty of existence on planet earth."
His final piece of advice for a sleep soundtrack? "Don't neglect the profound value of silence."
Check out Bono's full bedtime playlist: