Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dreams Kaimin: Music and the Science of Sleep

A mass experiment with around 1500 participants took place in Japan recently to investigate the power of music to help people sleep. Not a new phenomenon, but the experiment was unique in that it was presented as a concert playing a selection of music designed to help send people into slumber. The event was called Dreams Kaimin (translated as 'good sleep') and organised by Dr Takuro Endo who is a neurologist and a music designer for sleep, selling CDs that help induce slumber.

Quite what the point of the mass experiment was, i'm not sure. Taking 1500 into a mass arena that surely excites the senses akin to a night out is surely an unusual way to recreate a setting that most would find themselves in when trying to catch some Zzzz's. However, maybe that was the point - if the music was so powerful as to override the other senses and event signifiers, Endo would surely be onto a winner!

But, with a few exceptions, most of the audience were wide awake at the end. Feedback questioned the choice of music as being too 'popular', therefore triggering opinion-based memories amongst listeners keeping them awake. I would suggest that instrumental, soothing, repetitive, minimalist, slow music from one of two artists (so the style is similar throughout) such as James Blackshaw or Arvo Part or even the wonderful buddha machine (pictured - portable playing soothing loops of instrumental sound) would be better choices than Endo's mixture of Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Mary Hopkins and Japanese pop...

or maybe the point was to try and sell a few more of his sleep CDs?!

N.B. i personally don't listen music to help me sleep as i listen to so much during the day, at night i like natural ambience to help me drift off..

if this article didn't send you to sleep, feel free to post your sleepy tunes below!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Event: Dialogues of Wind and Bamboo

I was a bit slow on the uptake on this interesting event taking place in Edinburgh right now. It features one of our fave bands Found, with installations and performances from Chinese acts and composers. I've copied and pasted info below -

Welcome to Dialogues of Wind and Bamboo. This is the story of a journey exploring themes inspired by the connection between plants and people. For Kimho Ip, a composer and musician from Hong Kong working in Edinburgh, wind symbolises change while bamboo represents traditional Chinese culture but it also stands for constant renewal.

In the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on June 21, Midsummer night, the audience will be invited to join the journey, following different artists as they explore themes of change and continuity through music, art, dance and song. Click here for full details about the performance.

As we travel from the Palm House to the Chinese Hillside we will move from the ‘reality’ of the technological modern world to an idealised view of traditional Chinese culture at the T’ing. What we discover there is likely to be different for every member of the audience but Kimho hopes that as we return to the Palm House we can bring a memory of the ‘ideal’ to reconnect us with an understanding of nature in the ‘reality’ of the modern world.