We all need peace right now ~ something to soothe our nerves, calm our hearts, and slow our racing minds. We asked our staff to turn in their picks for The Album I Go To When I Need Peace, and received five amazingly peace-filled responses. Feel free to suggest your own in the comments section!
Richard‘s pick is Yann Novak‘s Blue Hour, (Farmacia901, 2013) and he asks our readers’ forgiveness for picking an EP. The music was composed as a soundtrack to “l’heure bleue,’ the period of twilight each evening when there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness.” Richard writes, “Most ambient music is heard in the background, but this piece has been the score to many l’heures bleue in which time seemed to stop and inch forward at the same time. Whenever I listen, I drop everything else and stare out the front window at the tiny increments of light as they decrease one by one. Yann’s music reminds me to slow down, while reminding me that time is moving forward, and whatever I am going through, ‘this too shall pass.”
James suggests Avec Laudenum from Stars of the Lid (Kranky, 1999). Released three weeks before the end of the last millennium, the album serves as both requiem and clarion of hope. The music is just as soothing now as it was back then: drifting, falling. And look: it’s also blue!
David writes, “My ‘peace’ album is Rameses III‘s I Could Not Love You More (2009). It’s a slow-moving piece of hope for me, peaceful not just in a restricted sense of being relaxing, but also beautiful and fulfilling. It’s intense and emotional, albeit expansive and wide in scope, akin to the kind of peace you get from laying down in the middle of a forest – noisy, full of different sensations, and yet, tranquil.”
Sam suggests Saron Luang Alit Semara Dahana‘s Suara Semara (Insitu Recordings, 2016) and writes, “For comfort and respite, we often return to familiar haunts. The house we grew up in. An old song with remembered lyrics. However, we can also find peace in new experiences, or in the traditions of others. I’ve never visited Bali, and I know shamefully little about Indonesian culture. Yet gamelan music seems to speak my language. This recording charts a territory where tradition meets innovation, and where spiritual soothing meets mental stimulation.”
Jeremy‘s go-to album is Virginia Astley‘s From Gardens Where We Feel Secure, which goes all the way back to 1983 and was released on the artist’s own Happy Valley imprint. From the very beginning, the birds offer messages of bucolic normalcy. Jeremy writes, “Being in nature provides a sense of peace that doesn’t come from urban living. To be clear: I like city life with every useful amenity in easy reach but I also like the option of having a walk in the countryside, which is a challenge when we’re encouraged to stay indoors at the moment. The best alternative is this album of pastoral beauty from Virginia Astley which has been in and (mainly) out of print since 1983. The combination of feather-light melodies on piano and voice, with site-specific field recordings, transport me away from wherever I am and whatever I’m doing to a secret world, where it is always a lazy summer afternoon by a river and there’s nothing to do. Peace, comfort, and, yes, security can be found here in abundance.”