In March 2017, the last working month of my full-time working career, I happened to be browsing for new music when I came across Moby’s album, long ambients 1: calm. sleep. Of the collection, he said,
“over the last couple of years i’ve been making really really really quiet music to listen to when i do yoga or sleep or meditate or panic. i ended up with 4 hours of music and have decided to give it away.
you can download it for free here: http://moby.com/la1/
it’s really quiet: no drums, no vocals, just very slow calm pretty chords and sounds and things for sleeping and yoga and etc. and feel free to share it or give it away or whatever, it’s not protected or anything, or at least it shouldn’t be.
I’ll admit the skeptic in me said, “Free? How good could it be if he’s giving it away?” Then I felt a little shameful and self-critical of my reaction. I downloaded and played the music. It is very calming, as Moby claims. Much of it seems based on patterns of breath, or waves lapping ashore. There are elements I like in most of the pieces, but my favourite track is the one I’m featuring today, “LA6.” (Next, I’d say is LA1.) The chords of LA6 feel to me like sounds of calm hope.
As it was late winter here, I wasn’t cycling to work, and never listened to music when walking to work (because of nature, and safety, etc. as it was very early in the morning and dark at that time of year). I tried listening to the album on the bus to work, but that loud environment isn’t conducive to appreciating ambient music. It’s sound that is best enjoyed sitting comfortably and just being or approaching calm or sleeping… I haven’t tried it in the latter space and am not sure it would be a fit, personally.
The free download is still available. I think it’s admirable that an artist in a position to do so would give away music, particularly for the much-needed therapeutic purpose for which he made it. Many musicians cannot afford to do that, as music is a challenging craft from an income-generating standpoint.
And it’s not lost on me that it is a gesture of soulful kindness and generosity in a world often devoid of such practices. So as someone who has benefitted from this music, I appreciate Moby’s gift to the world. Something he has added to, with the release of the sequel album long ambients two, which I only learned of today when looking up this piece after it came into my mind this morning, at the start of what has been very hectic but rich and blessed day.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the official audio for the song from Moby’s YouTube channel: