Slow Music Collection

If slow music appeals to you, and I find it to be a great antidote for today’s pace, here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Start with my album “slow”, of course. Link to the album page

“Dokunmak” by Erkan Oğur – I love this album and was able to get the CD from Istanbul via a friend of a friend, but if a digital download will do – iTunes has the album: iTunes link

“Sleep” by Max Richter. Link to a post on his website
The artist performs eight hour long sleep-concerts. :-)

“Music For Airports” by Bang On a Can – the group transcribed and arranged music Brian Eno created with loops in 1978, for a live performance. iTunes Link

Album Release

My new album “slow” was released in our own ListeningLounge today.

Here is a link to the album page on our website.

This is a direct link to the album in our ListeningLounge.

And this is the link to a special page about the album, with background information and a track by track guide.

We will have the CD for sale during the last leg of this year’s tour, which starts a week from today in Fort Lauderdale. Here are the dates:

Nov 11 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Parker Playhouse
Nov 12 – Clearwater, FL – Capitol Theater
Nov 13 – Orlando, FL – Plaza Theater
Nov 14 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
Nov 17 – Houston, TX – House of Blues
Nov 18 – Austin, TX – One World Theatre
Nov 19 – San Antonio, TX – Aztec Theater
Nov 20 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues

November 18th is the official release date of the album, and CDs should arrive in stores then. Digital distribution is seriously backlogged for all indies, so the album will be available in digital form at iTunes and Amazon, but I don’t yet know when. I’ll keep you posted.

The Album Cover

As the album took shape, and I walked around listening to mixes of the 17 tracks, I started wondering about the cover imagery. Should the photo convey a sense of the slow pace of the music? That would be good, I thought, because then nobody could claim that they had no idea the music they bought was going to be slow… A picture of a tree, or something even slower, like a rock or a glacier?

One morning, after a night of rain showers, I noticed a lot of snails on the sidewalk. I carefully stepped over and around them on my way to a coffeeshop.

On my way home I saw this snail, and was surprised to see the clear dotted line of mucus behind it. I had always assumed a snail would traverse rough territory by emmiting a constant trail of mucus. I laughed, because I imagined the snail, noticing rough terrain underneath, would emmit mucus, then move an inch, then think “ouch!” when the mucus ran out, then drop more mucus, and so on…

Snail equals slow, I thought, and took a photo with my iPhone. How perfect!

I sent the image to my friend Richard Holbrook, who offered to design the cover. So, thank you snail, and thank you Richard, I think the cover turned out perfect!

Slow iTunes Cover

Slowly + Softly

Love whispers while hate screams, and this year I decided to whisper so softly. I wanted to raise my guitar against the sound of billions of smartphones beeping with the latest news, mentions, likes, and comments, keeping us in a state of constant alarm. I hope that some of you will switch your devices into airplane mode and let this music take you on a flight.

Playing this music softly will perfume the atmosphere, will improve conversation and calm animals. It will make for blithe plants and better growth. My favorite way to listen to this album is with headphones. Moving through a place or a landscape, this music becomes a soundtrack, movie music for one of those foreign films that allow a scene to linger instead of rushing through it toward the climax. The music on this album is equally suitable for lying on your belly and looking at blades of grass moving in the breeze, and standing in a full subway car watching humans sway from the undulations of the track.

I made all of the music on this album with one guitar and one microphone. The palette for the recording was deliberately narrow. Sometimes it reminded me of years ago when I recorded with a four track cassette recorder and had to make things work by improvising solutions.

Working by myself in the studio felt like writing a very personal diary. I recorded Elegy just days after Prince died, and other pieces promptly followed certain world events. I could tell you the source of each song, could tell you each emotion that went into a piece, and what stimulated that emotion… but I’d rather let you discover by yourself the music and the feelings it carries. That’s the beauty of instrumental music – like the description of a tree in a book that requires your imagination so that it can take form in your mind, instrumental music can take on different shapes and colors, depending on your experiences.

Heart Rate + Blood Pressure

Sometime in 2015 I decided to record by myself, without the band, and that I wanted to create slow music. Later I discovered that there has been research into how a song’s tempo can change the listener’s heartbeat and blood pressure. Here are a few of the things I found:

“Past research reveals that types of music varying in tempo, or beats per minute, can have physiological effects on the body. It is shown that fast tempo music of 120-130 beats per minute increases anxiety observed through an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, while slow tempo music of 50-60 beats per minute has the opposite effect on the body (Edworthy and Waring 2010).” – Source

“It has been shown that fast paced music increases heart rate and slow paced music decreases heart rate.” – Source

“This tempo (60 Beats Per Minute) inspires our brains to release alpha brainwaves, which puts our mind in a relaxed state, according to research at the University of Nevada, Reno.” – Source

“For hitting the books, put on music that ranges between 50 and 80 BPM. Metro UK reported on a study from music service Spotify, which found that math students listening to classical music improved their test scores, while those in humanities found creative excitement in songs that were just a bit faster.” – Source 1
Source 2