POTW (2019/37): Dreamy Cinematic and Ambient

This week’s playlist of the week, Dreamy Cinematic and Ambient, is just what the doctor ordered after a monster-shaped week. It was my first week in a new temporary day-job, trying to learn the ropes. I was not feeling well, and plumbers were replacing the central heating system in the house where I was staying. (Following their work, there is now a working shower as well, which is my favourite part of last week!)

I’ve taken the job because my income as a musician falls woefully short of paying even my basic bills currently. Let me be very clear: I am not giving up making music (I couldn’t if I tried). But it will do wonders for my stress levels to know that I am earning enough to cover my bills.

Our playlist this week is a collection of pieces curated by Andy Salvanos (he of the Chapman Stick). It is one of the most relaxing sets of music I’ve played in a while. It will take best part of a day to play it, so expect to feel really chilled by the end. (That’s always assuming you haven’t dropped off in the meantime). This playlist would actually work quite well for sleeping music. I managed to stay awake all the way through this time, though!

Stand-out tracks

The talent represented in this playlist is phenomenal. Max Richter, Hans Zimmer, Pat Metheny, ├ôlafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm… Just to mention a few of the best known artists – and the list goes on.

The stand-out tracks for me included Salt of the Sound’s Deep Peace, and Armstrong’s The Noetic Quality. Deep Peace is unusual tracks for this list as it features a female vocal, whereas most tracks are instrumentals. The Noetic Quality is a gentle percussive track with ringing marimba and xylophone over synth washes. It has a repeated theme that slowly morphs into forms that are different, yet the same. Two other tracks that grabbed my attention were Maneli Jamal’s Floating and Kirsten Agresta Copely’s Onde. Floating is a beautifully recorded, layered, echoing guitar piece, and Onde is a lovely harp piece with Celtic vibes. Both fit their names very well.

Dreamy, Cinematic and Ambient playlist, curated by Andy Salvanos

Duration: 6h 38min, 106 songs

Rating: U – nothing to be scared of.

Ideal for: Focussed study, destressing, and/or quiet evenings in.

POTW (2019/26): Long Afternoons

I’m shocked! We’re already half way through this year’s playlists. It doesn’t seem all that long ago I was writing the first few entries. Michelle Qureshi joins us again as this week’s curator, with her fantastic relaxation playlist, Long Afternoons. (You can check out her Yoga Chill playlist here.)

Almost as soon as the opening track by Stars of the Lid began, I could feel a wave of sleep catching up with me. Now I am typing this yawning my head off, about 20 minutes in. (My excuse: it’s late and it has been a busy day).

I would recommend this playlist for siestas or late night pre-sleep listening, or to accompany slow food with slow music. It would also work well in a spa or massage setting if that’s your thing.

[Pauses for sleep before resuming writing…]

With the aid of tea and toast smothered with marmalade I managed to keep awake and listening for about another hour. After that I resurfaced several times with the playlist still going next to my pillow. As a relaxation playlist it definitely works.

One stand-out track for me before I got too drowsy was the melancholically beautiful collaboration Renewal between Al Jewer, Andy Mitran and Michelle Qureshi. There was also Max Richter’s Dream 8 (Late and Soon) which was beautiful and irritating in equal measure; I couldn’t decide which side I was going to fall on. The last track that I remember noticing before I drifted away was Tiempo from Lionel Scardino, a solemnly evocative piano based piece with atmospheric synths and beats.

Duration: 3h 53min, 33 tracks.

Rating: U (suitable for all listeners).