Jamie xx ‘Sleep Sound’ Video Breaks Silence for Deaf Dancers

Jamie xx's 'Sleep Sound' Video Breaks Silence for Deaf Dancers Photo courtesy of Nowness

Jamie xx‘s single ‘Sleep Sound‘ video connects silence and sound by letting deaf dancers illustrate how the song feels, mastering music that springs from negative space. The track slips underwater at points, then rises up in a chorus of bouncy, spongey vocals. The song plays on subtle instrumentals, and speaks to Jamie xx’s ability to find music in negative space, creating music without heavy production or structured sound. It’s the type of atmospheric music that grows on you after the second listen, as you begin to appreciate the subtleties-spiraling chimes, spacey doo-wop vocals, and sparse bird-like chirps laid over a UK garage beat. Sofia Mattoli is the London-based artist that created the idea for this video. She says:

“I was on a train listening to music, getting deep into it, and this girl started staring at me…After a while I took my headphones off and she came up to me, started signing and then wrote me a note to say that she was deaf but could almost feel the music by my movement.”

Mattoli took the idea to member of The xx and Grammy-winning producer of Alicia Keys, Gil Scott-Heron and Drake. The video takes 13 members of the Manchester Deaf Centre who responded to Sophie’s movements and the vibrations in the air from xx’s Sleep Sound’. Mattoli says this “relationship between silence and music is a big part of what I am trying to express with [her] work.” The video is touching in a way. It captures the power music has to transcend physical boundaries and invoke a pure, light-hearted movement in humans. The film’s dancers show music’s ability to connect people in both sound and silence, and draws out the positive, bouyant quality of Jamie xx’s ‘Sleep Sound’ song. Easily appreciated on its own as an atmospheric track, Mattoli’s original visuals  breathe life into Jamie xx’s spacey instrumental. “Girl / Sleep Sound” is out May 5 on Young Turks.  You can order it on iTunes or buy the 12-inch vinyl now

Watch the video here.