Meditation music tends to be what it says on the tin: music, or sometimes even just tones, designed to put the listener into a meditative state. This is achieved by various means: binaural beats, solfeggio tones and spoken guided meditations are popular formats on YouTube and other platforms nowadays, but as such an open format, this most ambient of the ambient forms of electronica is, by its nature, also the most open to the creative ideas of the sound artists creating them. They don’t have to be neutral or have a specific meditative journey, or, on the flip side, they can be even more specific than the average guided meditation.
At this crossroads of open and specific, meditation and music and spoken word, is where the new sound design project The Muse Frequency has set up camp. Using all the techniques described above with an extra, ultra-intimate twist, their new album Diary of an Artist In Love creates a new aim for meditation music: getting personal. Inspired by the diaries of famous erotica writer Anaïs Nin, each track on Diary of an Artist In Love tells an intimate story and gives the listener focus for their journey through love and self-expression. It’s done in a way, however, that’s not only meditative but visceral. The breath patterns, the words and the pictures pained by them are much more warm and engaged than the average guided meditation. The speaker addresses the listener directly with instructions and then seemingly reacts to the visualization the listener is having so it’s interactive as well as meditative.
The five purely interactive pieces are spliced with five tracks called “Love Is,” which are more musings on or poetic definitions of the form of love. The tracks move seamlessly between one another, creating a flow of thought and action that can be listened to all at once in one big meditation, but each active track is also its own vignette experience and can be used to focus on one aspect of love or paired with one of the definitive tracks. There are, in fact, seemingly endless ways to listen to and experience this album, all of which lead to a new opening to and experience of love.
The music, as one might expect, is in the very ambient end of the beatless meditative world. “Beatless” is a relative term, however, as it’s only beatless as compared to EDM or pop tracks. Like many meditative music sampling of the last two or three decades, the music of Diary of an Artist In Love contains binaural beats, a type of pulse frequency meant to balance the hemispheres of the brain by having offset tones go into each ear. Binaural beats are only scientifically effective whilst listening on earbuds of headphones, but it’s not just new age hoodoo: countless scientific studies have been published on the efficacy of binaural beats in healing brain trauma and lessening the effects of cognition issues, ADHD, bipolar disorder and more.
Quite often, binaural beats are also paired with solfeggio tones, which are certain frequencies meant to stimulate different nerves and meridians of the body for nervous system healing. The science is not as strong on solfeggio tones, but frequencies like 528, 432 and 963Hz well-known in music and considered among the most beautiful and uplifting tones. The Muse Frequency also uses a healthy dose of solfeggio in their work on Diary of an Artist In Love, so the uplifting effects can be heard and felt on a deeper level.
With the sells of music complimenting the intimate vocals, there’s really no way the listener won’t be swept away into this loving world of this Diary. If you’ve ever read Anaïs Nin, it’s clear that The Muse Frequency’s intent was for the listener to be completely immersed in these scenes, but with the bonus effect of calming, healing and hopefully getting to a better place in understanding one’s own journey in love. This is really novel approach in the meditation world but one that is visceral and could promote deep healing and self-discovery. Aside from that, it’s a dreamy, beautifully produced art piece that any ambient musician or spoken word poet should be proud of. Diary of an Artist In Love is, unlike many other meditation music offerings, so much more than what it says on the tin.