In My Sleep

  • Submitted on time! Feb 26, 2023
Earth Tones

In My Sleep

Location: 34.198395833561506, -115.887317888133 AKA Joshua Tree

This song is about an evening of very heavy wind in Joshua Tree. I was laying in a hammock right beside a tree at the location above^. Every few seconds the tree would make this incredible whistle sound, almost like it was singing directly to me. It was pretty wild how tonal it sounded. I wish i could have remembered or tried to capture a note. tried to take an audio recording but the wind was too strong. You can hear the recording in the track.

I’ve been heavily into voice and strings lately. This track is pretty vocally heavy and I added some live viola in there. I love the hollow quality of a viola. Not quite as sharp as a violin, not quite as low end as a cello. Somewhere in the middle. It also tonally really reminded me of the almost human-like hollow whistle of the wind in the tree.

Not sorry about the dissonance. I guess you could say I went where the wind took me!


I hear you breathing

Syncopated through the branches of the trees

I hear you stirring

Whistling into the night

While we sleep

I hear you stirring

In my Sleep


Looking for feedback on

Could you hear any layers you think would work here?


Tengo March 9, 2023 12:01am

Julia, you are just world class. This is, in a word, exquisite. I love the way you’ve managed to unite the vocal processing with your vocal itself so they are in total harmony and achieve a perfect mix. It’s such a testament to how freakin’ good you are at all the things 🙂

Can I ask what reverb/delay you are using that make those beautiful vocal moments where the melody peaks?

juliapiker March 9, 2023 6:39pm

hi!!! I’m using Valhalla vintage! I use it on everything.

Also this is a VERY VERY kind message <3 thank you so much for the sweet words.

nurphgun March 7, 2023 9:37pm

So stunning Julia. The background vocal line that comes in at 0:55 is the moment I really perked up listening to this, and the bass coming in at 1:45 – so delicious. This could have been gorgeous purely as a swirly, layered vocal situation, but the percussive elements keep it from being too indulgent in that way. And as always your production is like a drink of water in the desert (no offense to the other chefs lmao).

juliapiker March 9, 2023 6:41pm

nora!! so so kind. I had a lot of fun at this one, i may try and lengthen !

gosh thanks for the note about the production, I learn every day!

TylerK March 2, 2023 3:58pm

Love the flutters that come in at 1:58, panned perfectly where your attention is brought left but the vibe/verb is felt on the right, feels like how a pro boxer might pan this sound. EAR CANDY. The wind is another layer. I saw that the guy from Disclosure sometimes puts street noise under a lot of his tracks to transport the listener into a chosen location. The wind audio brought me to where this song was for sure. I think the dissonance adds good tension to the eventual dive. Your voice is huge. Great lyrics, performance and mix on this.

juliapiker March 9, 2023 6:42pm

Thanks Tyler !!

nick March 2, 2023 11:44am

Thank you for giving me a description of a viola besides “a little bit bigger.” We’ve been on a Caroline Polachek kick over here, and well you’re giving her a run for her money. Did you… play the viola? or is that ian.

juliapiker March 9, 2023 6:40pm

i played the viola and Ian made steaks on the barbie

Sam Pearce March 1, 2023 6:08pm

Hey Julia! I’ve listened several times now…the music sounds expansive. I hadn’t seen the location till now, and I think it evokes Joshua Tree convincingly (from what I’ve seen in pictures). I really like the way the parts interact: the relentless almost brutal nature of that low part that comes in at -1.34 underneath the feeling of freedom in the vocals and high strings (I don’t know whether its violin or viola or both). And that dark-toned ostinato in 6 binds them together somehow. I also like how I can’t really tell whether the very first vocals are verbal or not, like I might be listening to a language I don’t recognize. In my opinion, this has the depth to become a much longer piece, if you were interested in expanding it.

juliapiker March 9, 2023 6:42pm

Thanks Sam!!

Ben February 28, 2023 12:06pm (edited)

please tell me there will be a white lotus season that takes place at a resort around joshua tree. this is that beautiful, ambient, spellbinding music that plays when they show clips of beautiful but vaguely ominous nature and wildlife and you think “oh ok is this what kills the guest in the bodybag from the first episode?”

this is amazing and i keep listening.

juliapiker February 28, 2023 8:31pm

thank you Ben! I have been trying to work on White Lotus since S1. Will let you know if i make it to Cristobals writing team.

Ben February 28, 2023 8:57pm

woooo woo woo-woooo wooo wooo woo woooooooo

bee bo bo bo

WOooOOO Woooo woo wooooo woo woo woo woooooOoOOOooOOoooOO

atalinkay February 27, 2023 11:21pm

Captivated by your spell

juliapiker March 9, 2023 6:42pm


lizzie February 27, 2023 4:07pm

reminds me of an underwater world of selkies and sirens in a fantasy film. the strings are so well placed and harmonized. love how they build you into the drop off of the dream. and, reliably, your vocals are unrealll.

juliapiker February 28, 2023 8:31pm

it’s funny you say that because you remind me of an underwater world of selkies and sirens in a fantasy film <3

lizzie March 1, 2023 4:03pm

*big blush* xo

Z February 27, 2023 3:50pm

Tree analogies incoming, not sorry.

It is really cool how the different layers branch in and out of one another. They are distinct, but they weave together to the extent that I can’t quite tell where one begins and another ends. I really love when a piece seems to break free of linear time nature music. It’s as if I’m watching an object spinning before me and I can just marvel at it from different angles.

This was so vivid, I’ve always wanted to go to Joshua Tree one day so thanks!

juliapiker February 28, 2023 8:31pm

get your ass over to LA and we will take you there

EliasSZ February 27, 2023 2:24pm

The harmony shift on “breathing” felt like magic. The vocal layering is so textural – everything blends but lives in its own space really well. Not sure if I have any ideas of more layers to add – maybe another percussive element to add contrast with the drums that enter at 1:45 when the strings take over just after the 2 minute marker. This piece seemed to draw so much inspiration from the idea of a drone as well as the drone itself – really nice.

juliapiker February 28, 2023 8:32pm

thank you!!

froebusiness February 27, 2023 1:04pm

I’m not sorry about the dissonance either. Wow, what a track. Hmm, as far as layers I really have to stretch my brain because it’s all really cohesive and working well. The only thing I can think of is to work with that (correct me if I’m wrong here) snap of the vocal loop repeating. It works really well as a percussive element, and it might be something you could embellish and build from. Nice work.

juliapiker February 28, 2023 8:32pm

<3 thanks dood

alechutson February 27, 2023 12:26pm

Beautiful vocal layering! And as always, your production and mixing is on point. If you were to add any layers I could hear a plucked string instrument, but really I think it’s wonderful as is. Compliments to the chef 🤌

juliapiker February 28, 2023 8:33pm


agasthya February 26, 2023 10:01pm

wowowowow this is so cool. “breathing” is a beautiful moment. that little reverse vox riff is haunting. the build up starting at 1:45 into the viola entrance is really wonderful.

agasthya February 26, 2023 10:03pm

maaaaaaaybe I could hear a plucked/strummed instrument in the background sometime between 1:45 and 2:40. mandolin? but I think the arrangement is pretty full as is

alechutson February 27, 2023 12:27pm

Yaa ok we had the same ideas haha

Ryan February 26, 2023 9:48pm

These vocals are completely gorgeous. And I love how sneaky the viola entrance is—really well done. In terms of additional layers, I think a thick, crunchy moment could be nice at 1:45. Maybe just one fat, slightly distorted piano chord or something. Also, shout out 2:05—very special when the viola takes off. Great work, Juli.

juliapiker February 28, 2023 8:34pm

tenks Ryon! yeah i need some bass or something coming in that gives crunch. But because i went dissonant I couldnt layer another bass tone against my original one. Or that would just be too much dissonance lol