Sui Zhen - Sleepless
Sui Zhen

Sui Zhen’s "Sleepless" is a song about grief and persevering through it. The track was first conceived in 2018, as a stream-of-consciousness response to her mother’s passing. The catharsis of musical improvisation served as a refuge, a way to navigate the fog of sleepless nights and immense pain. Since then, the track has evolved gradually, transforming through reiteration and further losses - particularly the tragic death of her newborn son in 2021. 

At 13 minutes, the piece stretches out like a horizon, more a landscape than a song, mirroring the way grief warps our perception of time. Influences like Sheila Chandra’s ‘Out on My Own’, Can’s ‘Tago Mago’ and Durutti Column’s ‘Fidelity’ have made their presence felt on the recording. Spoken-word incantations and melodic hooks weave into pulsing synths, distortion and a mix of live and electronic percussion embracing Sui Zhen’s signature raw emotion and vulnerability.  

In the artists’ words: “I could use my voice against the backdrop of beats and bass without needing it to take the shape of words. I would let my sorrow take centrestage”. The self-reflexive lyrics traverse the experience of loss and healing, and may offer solace to others facing grief both personal or collective.