I am convinced that the reason why quiet household sounds are relaxing is exactly BECAUSE they have no rhythm.

We hear music all day long. At home, in the car, in the mall, in each store, in the restaurant, practically 24/7. I don’t listen to music in my car and I will drive miles further to avoid a gas station that plays music. I detest restaurants that play loud music and malls are only for emergencies.

Being surrounded by different kinds of rhythm all day long it has to be the very quality of no-rhythm that makes ASMR so appealing.

The thing to do then, is to treat sounds as if they are ocean waves playing in the background while the guitar is the foreground.

Or perhaps I can sculpt a soundscape from such sounds, some slowly repeating, others coming and going. A walk through a landscape, where the hills are a sound, the trees are a sound, the ground cunching under our feet is a sound, and the distant caw of the crow in the tree is a sound.

Turning the Page

Yesterday I recorded turning the page of a ring-bound notebook and occasionally writing something with a nib and no ink.


I love listening to this. I wonder wether it would be more interesting to use this file as a background to some guitar music as is, meaning not in any rhythm, or whether I should try to fashion a rhythm from this raw material. Turning the page could become a “hi-hat”, the scribbling nib might turn into a shaker. Back to the lab for more experiments.

PS: experimenting with the sounds this morning I am thinking that I might not want to use them to create a rhythm. That’s been done by lots of people before. Matthew Herbert did an album called “Around the House” in 1998 and one called “Bodily Functions” in 2001. The former utilized lots of house hold samples and the latter used sounds like brushing teeth and cracking knuckles. Matmos released an album in 2001 that is called “A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure”. It uses sounds from surgery and has titles like “Lipostudio… and So On” and “California Rhinoplasty”. Yikes.

No, I feel that the a-rhythmic quality is actually what makes sounds soothing, like the bubbling pumpkin sound, or the paper turning. Bare feet on wooden stairs might be nice too, and could be a little more rhythmic.


I have watched a whole bunch of videos. My first reaction is that I can’t believe people are willing to sit through so many ads! I suppose this reaction is similar to my disbelief that humanity is happy to use free email even if it means giving up loads of data.

I watched a Korean woman’s YouTube videos. She has almost 600,000 subscribers and gets away with multiple ads in each video. I am convinced that most of the appeal lies in the well-recorded ASMR-type sounds.

I started wondering about the importance of the human interaction. Could the imagery be more abstract without losing the appeal? Here is an example: what if a video combined the sound of brushing hair with moving images of a field of wheat or tall grass moving with the wind. Or, perhaps, the sound of soft footsteps and imagery of water – a still lake perhaps.

Does abstraction not work, or would it be more interesting?

Three Sounds

I am experimenting with different methods and microphones to record soft sounds and how play with them, arranging them in some way. Here is this morning’s experiment. The file starts with the sound of boiling plantains on the left side. Second, the sound of my footsteps on wooden stairs, in the center. I was wearing wide pants and one can hear the fabric against my leg as well as the foot steps. Third, the sound of typing on a laptop keyboard, on the right side.