Chill Out, Drown Out: Resplendent, In Vivid

Chill Out Drown Out: music for when you need to, well, chill out, and also drown out extraneous noise. Tunes for calming down and concentrating on important tasks or just having a peaceful time in the middle of a hurricane of a day/week/month/year/existence.

I occasionally feel bad when my highest recommendation for something is “this is excellent background noise,” but – it is truly one of the finest accolades I can give. It means the music has successfully walked the fine line between “delicate, beautiful, but unobtrusive, integrates well into the process of multi-tasking” and “so boring I forgot the first song half-way through.”

Resplendent, by In Vivid (Ben Snook, of Lawrence, KS) is indeed delicate and beautiful. The swirling textures and gently propulsive energy make it – for me, at least – ideal for tasks that require concentration and creativity. And, best of all, it stands up to repetition; I listened to it three times in a row one night last week and never got sick of it.

Here are three songs to whet your appetite, chosen at least in part because I liked the titles.

Lightswitch Indicator: The second song on the record, this one is for when your brain is still spinning up. The mix of high and low tones supported by a steady warm background thrum is perfect for when it is way too early but the work must get done.

Some Imagine Caretaker: This one has a steady thud-thud at its heart, surrounded by oscillating bands of other tones. It feels a bit like having a friendly metronome around to prod you out of the sloughs of distraction.

Three Person Pillow: There are vocals, on this one, but they mostly sound like aliens making vaguely familiar encouraging noises. Aliens who have brought their very own extra large pillow for all of you to sit on together while you complete your tasks and they watch with great interest, because they have never seen PowerPoint before and are fascinated.

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