Dog Orchestra - I Can't Sleep Without The TV On

Berlin's Dog Orchestra explore the dream life of the '80s in hypnagogic "I Can't Sleep Without The TV On" music video. A We Are: The Guard world premier!

Back in the ‘80s - when TVs still wore rabbit ears and ceased broadcasting eventually - it wouldn’t be that uncommon to fall asleep on the sofa, watching TGIF, Family Matters, The Smurfs, or the Friday Night Movie (heavily censored for prime time, natch). In the in-between state between dreaming and wakefulness, the day-glo neon cartoon hues would blend, blur, and melt behind your eyelids, while smooth jazz saxophones echoed off the caverns of your thoughts. It was both intimate and soothing and incredibly disorienting and unsettling.



This in-between state, known as hypnagogia, is a pretty decent lead-in to the brand new video by Swedish-by-way-of-Berlin indie electronic duo Dog Orchestra, “I Can’t Sleep Without The TV On.” In the video, our protagonist - a young woman seemingly deep in her cups - comes home from a hard night on the town. She struggles and shimmies out of her club wear, smokes a cigarette, and promptly passes the hell out with the TV still blaring. A kaleidoscopic montage of ‘80s iconography - He-Man, Mrs. Brisby from The Secret Of N.I.M.H., The Teenage Mutant Turtles - melt and warp like silly putty left in the sun. The visuals are matched by Dog Orchestra’s foggy, fuzzy fugue - all chopped ‘n slurred vocals and ritualistic Velvet Underground percussion, swathed in echoes and reverb, like vaseline on the lens during a dream sequence.

Looking back creates a nostalgia for these lo-fi, analog days. At the time, it was kind of crappy, tbh - the colors were a bit lackluster, and the lack of choice was maddening (even if we didn’t know it, yet). In the harsh light of the never-setting digital sun, however, we begin to miss the mystery, the shades and hues, the shadows and murk of poorly-tuned television sets and anonymous Made-For-Tv movies, which were kind of soothing, in contrast to today’s endless streaming.

For those that miss waking up to a wall of static, confused, with your dreaming still on your mind, Dog Orchestra are here to take you back, hopefully finding some missing pieces and lost sentiments along the way.

“I Can’t Sleep Without The TV On” is taken from Dog Orchestra’s Meow EP, which has already garnered praise from the likes of Moby and Vice’s Noisey Magazine!


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.