Slow Music, as with all things scientifically unquantifiable or mathematically unprovable, is subjective, relative and open to interpretation. Do an online search for "slow music" and you will get several suggestions - from literal interpretations referring to musical tempo, slow music as a community enabling form of live entertainment or as an antidote to modern music commercialisation and consumption. We concur with all of those opinions but would like to offer some further thoughts on what slow music is and could possibly be.
has much in common with other slow movements and fully supports and
advocates a cultural shift towards slowing down life's pace &
connecting more meaningfully with others, our surroundings and
ourselves. We would like to think slow music makes people reflect on
modern living, not shy away from addressing many of the pressing issues
of our times and encourages people to come together and make a positive
Admittedly slow music here at The Slow Music Movement
largely means a drop in tempo. In this modern world of over stimulation
and unrelenting information bombardment we enjoy the mentally soothing
sounds and textures of ambient and more relaxed music. Their assistance
in helping us to switch off from the stresses of modern living, ability
to aid reflection and the sonic joy they provide make them a powerful
Maybe it is just part of the ageing process, the knowledge
of self and place gained by experience, awareness of the perils of
continual growth in a finite world or just largely abandoning those late
night parties but we feel less in need of propulsive music these days.
Saying that we still like to dance when the stars align and movement to
music is a wonderful, liberating, exhilarating experience so there are
times we need something a bit faster to throw some shapes to. It
certainly won't be pounding techno, commercial EDM or death metal though
and we find that dancing to slower music is often a more sensual and
communal experience and we highly recommend dancing with each other
rather than standing in rows staring at the DJ whilst filming a non
experience for the purpose of an enviable status update.
of community building, especially in an autonomous space, even if it a
temporary, fleeting one as happens in dance clubs or concerts with
people uniting through communal listening, movement and it's associated
joy can only be a good thing and is often a welcome and necessary
release from the grind of daily life. We also believe events like this
can assist in altering perceptions, encouraging creativity and
highlighting the power of collective behaviour - a key component in
making the world a better place. So fight for your right to party and
don't forget to move those hips to a slower groove.
Slow music is
also by our definition not, commercial music. Most commercial music
comes from three very large, multi-national companies and as with most
big business their overriding concern is to make money. We prefer
artists and labels whose first purpose is to make music and who then
hope to monetise this art to support themselves and facilitate further
musical creations. We want music coming from the heart and done for the
love not driven by finance and bonus chasing executives.
music has to be popular to succeed in it's money making ambitions and
we're not adverse to pop music as such. It is a rare talent to be able
to write something that appeals to millions of people and as much as we
can appreciate good pop music our heart and ears belong to the musical
underground. That is where the real art is, a place where musicians and
producers can let their minds run free, say what they feel, experiment
and create without restriction. Saying that the major labels do also
control some great, creative sub labels with a focus on interesting sub
genres and also have some of the world's best musicians on their books
so we do keep half an eye on what they do and support good music where
we find it but slow music, on the whole, lies in the world of
independent artists and labels.
Slow music is also about the
consumption of music. The world's literature, every film and tv show
ever made are available at the click of a few buttons or keys and now
there are tens of millions of songs to listen to on your favourite
streaming service. It is an impossible amount of music to comprehend let
alone even start to listen to despite the promise and excitement of
endless possibilities. A tub of chocolate chip is manageable, a free
pass in an ice cream factory an altogether proposition.
The Slow Music Movement we encourage a less is more mantra and offer an
escape from the tyranny of choice. We believe that listening to a small
amount of music intently is more rewarding than flipping through an
endless stream of new releases. That is why we adopt a slow approach to
slow music recommendations. We propose one release a day to our
community and resist the temptation to measure our success by hits,
clicks, likes and reposts. Rather than blindly post press releases we
keep the recommendations personal, heart felt and to a minimum.
Hopefully you trust our judgement, although as music is so subjective,
we don't expect you to agree with everything we say. To this end we keep
our descriptions to a minimum because the real test is your brain's
reactions when those sound waves float into your ear drums. Why read
about something that is created to be listened to? Don't believe the
hype - trust your own ears.
Slow music is also about active
listening. Music is becoming a passive experience as it is increasingly
consumed whilst multi-tasking, often staring at a screen, whilst
commuting, checking photos, working, exercising, idly messaging friends
or sometimes all of those things at once. Rarely is our attention just
on the music. Ideally music should be listened to in a dark room with
eyes closed so the full focus is on that musical creation. When was the
last time you did that, if ever? Try it. Even if you have listened to
that track or LP several times the chances are you will be hearing that
music in a new light now it has your full attention. We know time is
precious though and that the tedium of jogging and road trips are
alleviated by a fine music selection but once in a while just close your
eyes and take a moment to listen to something properly. Just make sure
the hand brake is on.
Slow music is not about format for us here
at The Slow Music Movement although there seems to be an assumption that
a return to vinyl or cassette should be part of the slow music world.
Despite living through the vinyl & CD years before embracing the
digital revolution it has always been about the music not the format.
Don't believe the hype that vinyl sounds better. For sure it sounds
better than a low resolution MP3 but it has limited dynamic range
compared to CD or high resolution digital. It has a different sound not a
better sound. Just do a blind test on a serious hi-fi system and you
will unquestionably hear the difference.
There is also a good
argument that digital formats are more environmentally friendly than
vinyl and cassette. For instance just imagine the natural resources that
go into the production of a piece of vinyl and then the energy to ship
that vinyl from the pressing plant to the distributor, from there to the
global retail network and then finally to people's home. Then think
about the energy used to rotate a heavy vinyl platter and convert that
vinyl into sound waves. I don't know the exact figures but I'm guessing
it is a lot more than downloading a high resolution digital file once
and then playing it on demand or even streaming the same music multiple
times from your streaming provider.
We plan to do an article on
the energy consumption of the various formats when we can find someone
technical enough to do the research project justice but as slow music is
also intrinsically linked to the other slow movements then our present
guess is that, just on environmental grounds, digital music (that
excludes non recyclable CDs) is more "slow music" than vinyl. Embracing
slow living & slow music does not always mean going back in time.
also appreciate that selling merchandise and physical product,
especially at live shows, is an important extra revenue stream for many
live acts struggling in difficult times for artists but until we
complete a well researched paper on the environmental impact of physical
music and how those effects can be made carbon neutral I would suggest
that you plant a few trees every time you produce, sell or buy a record
or tape. In fact when you buy or produce anything!
Slow music is
many things to many people and we're not about to start dictating what
it is or isn't although we're happy to get the conversation started.
Above are a few suggestions and thoughts and we will come back and
update them in the future as our thinking develops, as thinking always
should. Take from them what you want and if you have any suggestions
then don't hesitate to get in touch, we're open to suggestions or even
changing our minds if we hear some well reasoned arguments.
Don't forget our daily social media recommendations. No information overload, one recommendation a day, only the good stuff.