"Pure aural bliss"
March 9, 2015 4:15 AM   Subscribe

"There's a song out there that could make you crash your car ... but in the most relaxing way possible."

Music can "help us to relax and unwind. Researchers took the relaxation a step further by trying to create the most relaxing song in the world." The result, Weightless, is the product of Radox, Mindlab, Lyz Cooper from The British Academy of Sound Therapy, and Marconi Union. It has been characterized as "pure aural bliss," and is said to provide relaxation through a rhythm of 60 beats per minute, plus specific tones and musical intervals, to cause brain waves and the heart to synchronize with the 60 BPM beat.

In 2011, Time magazine placed Marconi Union in its Top 50 list of inventors for creating and performing Weightless.

via
posted by key_of_z (26 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is relaxing me so much I can't even finish typing th-
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:23 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to compare this with Eno's Thursday Afternoon, with which it shares various devices. A bit like sensi vs skunk...
posted by Devonian at 4:26 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I use this song a part of my babies' bedtime routine. It may cause car crashes, but its affect on the under 3 set is decidedly mixed.
posted by snickerdoodle at 4:54 AM on March 9, 2015


I like ambient and synth pad and gentle music, but there's something about the chord used for the background wash that makes me feel really tense. It's like the second to the last note of a song, the tense note, before the final note, the resolving note...but the tense note just keeps going and going, without resolving. Any musicians know what about that chord might be creating stress for me? Some diminished 7th or minor tonic or some other music-theory-term?
posted by Bugbread at 5:06 AM on March 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Needs more Kero Kero Bonito.
posted by mittens at 5:06 AM on March 9, 2015


Before I read the details, I opened the song and hit play... and skipped forward a bit, waiting for the intro to end and the song to start... and skipped forward... and forward... and forward... and then I got to the end of the song.
posted by markkraft at 5:29 AM on March 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is there a German word for 'so determinedly nice it sets your teeth on edge'?
posted by Devonian at 5:33 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Cloying."
posted by LogicalDash at 5:52 AM on March 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Goes very well with this post yesterday.
posted by YAMWAK at 5:55 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


..and is said to provide relaxation through a rhythm of 60 beats per minute

Given that my resting heart rate is about 50, no wonder this song makes me tense.
posted by vacapinta at 6:06 AM on March 9, 2015


Doesn't work as well as Cocteau Twins.
posted by Foosnark at 6:07 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


"there's something about the chord used for the background wash that makes me feel really tense"

I am with you 100%. Thanks to markkraft's description I opened the track knowing that I wouldn't have patience for it to just kind of float along in nothingness while I waited for a song to congeal so I started skipping around right away. The first I hit was 0:45 and immediately my brain said, "This is like some Angelo Badalamenti music written for Twin Peaks. This sounds ominous. Laura Palmer is headed into the woods."

so I left the Soundcloud page and came back here to write this comment and never bothered to listen to much more of the track because I don't need the Black Lodge infecting my thoughts and I'd prefer to keep my garmonbozia to myself.
posted by komara at 7:24 AM on March 9, 2015


It sounds to me like a D9 chord, neither major or minor. (Didn't listen to the whole thing.) Say you start on a low note and go up the keyboard. Usually you'll be traveling towards the next iteration of your starting note. But if you instead sort of weave around that note as you go, by striking the whole tone below and above it, you suggest the music transforming as it goes upwards. It's a basic gesture in jazz chords and soloing.

In this case, it's supposed to give you a feeling of ambiguity and floating. But ambiguity can be tense, and in particular the relationship between a note and its minor 7th (between D and C, in this case) is also used to add tension; it's a combo used to power a move to the next chord, for instance.

I'm with you, Bugbread; I find it a little anxiety inducing.
posted by argybarg at 7:54 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sounds like someone slowed down a Tim Hecker song by 33%.
posted by Philipschall at 8:10 AM on March 9, 2015


I gave up after 2+ minutes of waiting for the intro section to end. Apparently "relaxing" means "dull".
posted by librosegretti at 8:14 AM on March 9, 2015


This makes the rounds in parenting forums off and on as an answer to "my baby won't sleep". I could never listen to it long enough to want to subject a baby or toddler to it.
posted by lawliet at 8:43 AM on March 9, 2015


Much ambient music does this: attempts to keep you in a space; a hypnogogic, contemplative, meditative space.

And of course, YMMV. I did not care for it. Nice space, but what's that buzzing on the window over there kinda thing.

Eno's Music for Airports works for me when I wanna get in the comfortable space....
posted by CrowGoat at 8:44 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


A few tunes I find to be more "pure aural bliss," in case anyone wants to go down the ambient/electronic rabbit hole.

Riding Thermals, by Geotic
Venice, by Windy and Carl
Taco me Manque by The Dead Texan

Among many, many others.
posted by god hates math at 9:00 AM on March 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Devonian: "Is there a German word for 'so determinedly nice it sets your teeth on edge'?"

über­freund­lich probably comes close. It means "overly friendly" with a slight derogatory undertone.
posted by bigendian at 9:41 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I crashed my car into the bridge. I watched, I let it burn.

I don't care. I love it.
posted by maryr at 9:51 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Music for Airports is less rote than this and subsequently more enjoyable, but It's in the same ballpark, for sure.
posted by trif at 9:55 AM on March 9, 2015


So it's ambient music? I actually like this but it doesn't seem particularly pioneering.
posted by atoxyl at 10:33 AM on March 9, 2015


*does mashup with "sympathy for the devil" just because*
posted by pyramid termite at 12:32 PM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Huh. I usually can't be arsed with most ambient music, but this: 1:40 in and I actually felt my whole body relax, just as I was getting annoyed with the auto-panning of the background pad.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:33 PM on March 9, 2015


See, I listen to all sorts of ambient and drone, and this just sounds like some lightweight beginner biz. Granted, after a while of dabbling in the ambient arts, you start to develop a taste for the hard stuff.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:36 PM on March 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sounds a lot like Michael Stearns from Planetary Unfolding (1981).
posted by doctor_negative at 2:51 PM on March 9, 2015


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