Meditation apps want to chill us out. Musicians are happy to help.

When Erica Badu composes a new song, she begins with instruments that are usually thought of as accessories, such as singing bells, shakers, mallets and tuning forks. Such has been the case since the debut of the singer and producer “Baduism” in 1997.

“What attracts me and you and anyone else, is that those frequencies and tones connect with our organs and cells,” she said from her home in Dallas. “You are able to rule out certain diseases. You are taking the molecules apart.”

Badu is a longtime believer and practitioner of what she calls the art of healing. She became a doula in 2001 and a Reiki master in 2006. For his latest iteration, he produced a 58-minute instrument. New Age Ancient Future Healing Music for Meditation App headspace. Released as part of the company’s Focus Music series, it features a gently wavy wave, sometimes punctuated by a deep buzz of bass.

“I feel like life is a process of recovery after recovery,” Badu said. “Everything I make is going to reflect that.”

Badu’s creation is part of the ever-expanding The vortex of music and mindfulness that has only strengthened during the pandemic. With no dance floor or concert hall filling up, many listeners turn to gentle, unobtrusive music to help calm their restless minds. In response, artists who may not have publicly ventured into this sometimes esoteric Terrain now feels excited to do so.

Last September, Diplo released his debut ambient album, “MMXX”, while in early May, Sufjan Stevens put out a five-volume collection of keyboard music titled “Convocations”. Alicia Keys recently hosted a 21-day “meditation experience” with Deepak Chopra which is available through Meditation App Website.

Although New Age artists have released music for attention on cassettes and CDs for decades, tech companies are now happy to financially support the use of music that coincides with their own goals. In the past 15 anxious and uncertain months, wellness apps have grown flush with new customers Looking for different experiences. In the past, musicians may align themselves with initiatives involving Vans, Red Bull or Toyota – powerful brands willing to use their deep pockets to gain credibility with younger consumers. Now, mindfulness apps are playing a similar role, providing artistic opportunities for the music industry at a precarious moment.

Headspace wanted to develop more music that helps people focus on one task, and last August the company announced the appointment. john legend as its Chief Music Officer. Legend inaugurated the monthly Focus Music project with a licensed playlist of melodious jazz tracks. In addition to Badoo’s contributions, subsequent installments feature original, vocal-free pieces by artists including acclaimed film-score composer Hans Zimmer and rock band Arcade Fire.

“Musicians have always been, can they evoke a particular frame of mind through a song or sound,” said William Fowler, head of content for content that appears within the Headspace app. He added that Focus Music “came into a year where musicians who had other plans, who found themselves in time for a project like this one, gave the company access to “people who were otherwise doing other things.” “

In March 2019, Moby debuted “Long Ambientes Too”, an album of expanded compositions aimed at helping listeners sleep, specifically on Calm, which began as a meditation app. Later, the company was inundated with inquiries from other musicians. Calm had limited experience with this world, and hired Courtney Phillips, the former director of brand partnerships at Universal Music Group, to become the head of music and grow its library.

She has continued to stream premieres, but has also commissioned artists such as country star Keith Urban and the genre-twister. Musa Sumani for producing the original track. Calm also released a series of hour-long “sleep remixes” of songs by Universal artists, including Post Malone’s “Circle” and Ariana Grande’s “Breathin”.

“We’re a tech company, so we like to see: What are people coming here for? What do they want?” Phillips said. “According to Callum, piano is by far the most popular genre, so I want to make sure I’m offering a variety of different piano music to people. And at the same time, I want to work with artists and To be like I want to be, let’s do something that people might not expect.”

Berlin-based tech company Andel has developed an approach towards promoting mental health through music that embraces European sophistication. Instead of the bright colors and feel-good iconography of its competitors, its app is strictly black and white with a minimal interface. The company’s CEO, Oleg Stavitsky, is an outspoken music obsessive who proudly brought out his Laurie Anderson and Ornette Coleman albums during our video interview. He said he was interested in digging deeper after mining his parents’ vinyl collection.

“Once you start digging you inevitably end up Brian Eno At some point,” he said, referring to the producer and composer who is responsible for many historical works of ambient music.

While the music on most meditation apps either loops or has predefined start and end points, Andel’s output is more dynamic. The company has developed an algorithm that it says considers factors such as time of day, weather and a person’s heart rate to deliver a personalized sound experience every time.

Neoclassical composer Dmitry Evgrafov is one of the co-founders of Andel, and he provides original stems of music that include artificial intelligence, but naturally those within the company are curious about whether the source material is from other artists. What if it comes? Grimes designed sleep aid “AI Lullaby,” And Andel recently released a productivity piece from Plasticman called “Deep Focus,” the minimalist techno nickname of DJ and producer Richie Houtin.

“When we’re talking to a lot of these artists, either they’re thinking of doing something like this, or they’re already doing something like that,” Stavitsky said. “They’re looking for low-risk and interesting ways to put that content out there.”

Houtin enrolled in a series of transcendental meditation classes shortly before the pandemic engulfed Western Europe, where he lives. Now it takes him 20 minutes to repeat his mantra twice a day. Those experiences remind him of a DJ’s ability to guide and almost hypnotize a receptive crowd. “For all its beauty, the techno and electronic dance music community has been on this hamster wheel for so many years,” Houghtin said. “It’s been a real introspective moment to reconnect with music, machines and alternative ways of thinking and producing.”

Other artists turned to meditative music in 2008 during the final moments of America’s financial uncertainty. Trevor Oswalt, who releases music as East Forest, began the early 2000s playing in the band in New York City, hoping to be signed. Then came the recession. “Things were falling apart outwardly, and that was visible in my inner life as well,” Oswalt said from his current home in southern Utah. “It was pushing me to find alternatives.”

He began making instrumental music to help him during his own meditation practice and to prepare himself mentally before taking psilocybin. Eventually he introduced music to the masses. Since 2011, he has averaged at least one new album a year, including a 2019 collaboration with spiritual teacher Ram Dass, who died in December. Years ago Oswalt composed music for apps like Happy and was developed by Elena Brown, a yoga and meditation instructor. He’s since been joined by apps like WavePaths, Mydelic and Field Trip, which are designed to help during psychedelic therapy sessions.

Oswalt was pleased with the recent influx of artists creating music for mindfulness apps, comparing it to a painter trained in realism creating something abstract. They believe they may have the skills to pull it off, but they don’t really have the experience to know what they’re doing. But he respects the desire of musicians to give it a try.

“It is very clear on the face of things that we as a civilization are going through a major change, and that change has to be let go in ways that are not working,” he said. “It’s like you burn the fields, you have to do that to fertilize the soil.”

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