Anxieties and Ambience
Life has been stressful recently, as I’m sure it has been for many here in the UK and around the world. Pandemic, health anxieties, and not being able to see loved ones for months at a time have made the last 18 months the most alien period of my life. All the while, the day job has compounded things with accelerating intensity, as we build the 2021 Census dissemination services that allow ONS website users to interrogate the substantial data collected.
When life is stressful, it’s always good to reach out for a comfort blanket.
And that’s what ambient music has become, for me. The therapeutic benefits of ambient music are well documented, but when I listen to a softly undulating piece of music, it offers me a space to meditate as much as it offers me the opportunity to sharpen my clarity, away from the stress points in my life.
With the additional free time the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have afforded me, I’ve also started composing ambient and generative music. I’ve never been one to just ‘relax’ for the sake of relaxing - the sense of guilt hits me sooner rather than later - so being able to dive into a new creative hobby has been a great way for me to occupy my mind away from the stresses in my life.
The following is a piece of music I wrote exploring these very themes. It’s comprised of two instruments - a piano and a synth. There are four chords played over four bars, but through the use of tape delays, arpeggiators and scripts that determine the probability of a note actually being played, the piece of music is going to be different every time it play it back.
I’m not a great musician or composer by any means, but this small project has opened up a new creative outlet for me to explore, invest my time in, and ultimately help handle the stressful periods in my life.