Few beings are more self-conscious than teenage girls. “Music for Sleeping Children,” a new collaborative projective between photographer Charlie White and experimental hip-hop producer Boom Bip, takes a long look at some of the more uncomfortable, vulnerable, and moving moments of adolescence and, as if to amplify the sense of scrutiny, wreathes them in electronic beats. Today, ARTINFO is pleased to debut an exclusive track from the project, set to be released as an EP featuring photography by White later this month.
The collaboration is part of Los Angeles-based White’s greater body of work on American youth, which includes his 2008 film “American Minor,” selected for the Sundance and Cannes film festivals, as well as his 2009 “Spilling Hot Gossip” exhibition at Oslo Kunstforening in Norway and his “The Teen and Transgender Comparative Studies” series.
This isn’t the first time the two men have worked together. White first teamed with Boom Bip, aka Bryan Hollon, in 2009 on “We Like to Shop” at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, which transformed a clap-along song from White’s animation “OMG BFF LOL” into an electronica dance track. (Hollon is a prolific musician and producer with a taste for the 1980s who has released a series of solo albums, as well as collaborating with Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals under the name Neon Neon.)
“Music for Sleeping Children” builds on this aesthetic mashup, blending snippets of teenage language with dance music through five tracks incorporating dialogue culled from hours of interviews White conducted with six girls. There’s a bass-driven confession of fear of failure from Sabrina, while sensitive Isabelle’s friendship woes are set to minor key thuds. Eighth-grade-bound Baylee has her emerging individualism accented by a cheerleader-like chant.
Accompanying the music are selected photographs from White’s “The Cyrilla Strothers Project,” which documents the life of a teenage girl in the suburbs of California through around 11,000 photographs taken between 2004 and 2006. Twelve of these are being unveiled for “Music for Sleeping Children” to match the theme of the music, including two showing Cyrilla sleeping.
“When I decided to realize an experimental teen pop album, the name came rather automatically,” White told ARTINFO. “‘Music for Sleeping Children’ is less about literal sleep than it is about the haze and blur of adolescence itself. I think of the child (or teen) as asleep while their inner adult wakens. So in that way the title operates like a testament to transformation, transition, or becoming.”
“Music for Sleeping Children” will be available for free online at musicforsleepingchildren.com on October 29, and this fall Lex Records will release a limited edition that includes a “Cyrilla Strothers Project” print.