Aroshanti is one of the best sound support whenever I need to create an atmosphere to relax and focus. I was glad to discover his work and use it on a daily basis after I had tried many other sound backgrounds.
As I started learning music when I was very young, it became a reflex to analyze musics I hear: harmonies, various instruments, ambiance, melodies, etc.
With time, this ability to pick out the details of music has become both a talent and a constraint.
A talent because I can sing or play just about any melody after hearing it once. It’s great whenever I can play, improvise and enjoy this universal sharing of music.
A constraint when I hear out-of-key notes, mistakes, poorly tuned instruments, discordant harmonies… (I’m a snob) And for a long time I’ve had the impression of watching for these imperfections without totally enjoying a musical event.
Today I need a little “let go” effort in order to enjoy live music. Fortunately with time and use, it becomes much easier.
However, when I need to focus (for meditation, work, reading…), I am easily distracted by surrounding sounds, whether it comes from music, the neighbors, the sounds of the city, etc.
So I tried different types of music to try to find one that allows me to better focus on what I do.
Among the tests, there were:
- classical music (do you know Valentina Lisitsa?),
- nature sounds (birds, jungle, sea, river, etc),
- reggae (which I use for cooking),
- Tibetan chants,
- Zen flute (Katsuya Yokoyama)…
The problem is that each of them contains elements that, at some point, catch my attention.
Is my concentration not intense enough?
Or is that my brain analyzing sounds while I try to focus on something else?
I feel like it is a mixture of both.
Randomly shopping in Palermo, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires, I found an Aroshanti CD entitled “Zen Relaxation”. I had never heard of it but for some reason I can’t explain, among dozens of other titles I bought it.
Shortly after it became my reference: I use it without hesitation when it comes to relax or concentrate on a task.
What is Aroshanti?
Aroshanti is the pseudonym used by Nick Truch for the composition of its relaxing music.
Settled in the English Lakes region, we can imagine he gets inspiration from this breath-taking nature.
When not composing for films and documentaries, he creates more “Zen” albums by putting together ambient harmonies with ethnic and authentic instruments, as shakuhachi flutes, shamanic style drums, Hang drum and Tibetan bowls.
Maybe you are thinking “Ok, it looks like so many other musics from the new-age, relaxation and yoga markets!”
So let me tell you why I find it so interesting.
The sounds used by Nick in his “Relaxation” albums create a warm and consistent ambiance.
Warm from the texture of bells sounds, percussion skins and tambura that slowly put rhythm to harmonic pieces of landscape.
Consistent with the background music, synthetic waves intertwining peacefully, smoothly, like the fibers of a long braid.
In this constant background, the key element for the concentration is a controlled musical space in which we are not surprised by a high-pitched note or a deep unexpected resonance.
This combination brings an impression of a tight and warm cocoon, of a universal matrix of peace where we can let our mind wander safely.
Wind instruments (wood and bamboo flutes) come as aurora borealis to take us where we please, without suggesting anything else than light and serene traveling.
The rhythm of breathing through these instruments gently pushes us towards an intense and sustained concentration.
Many artists bring different personal touch to each piece, which has the effect of pulling me out of my thinking every now and then. It quickly turns the ambient music into entertainment and this is exactly the opposite from what I’m looking for.
Yet Nick maintains a very constant general level. This way, the comfort zone he created at the beginning of a song is kept intact, while creating a mobile guide for thinking.
If we used a constant sound, it would soon be unbearable: here that’s not the case because in each song the atmosphere is slightly different, without creating surprising variation which, again, would tend to pull us out of our concentration between songs.
The rhythmic part
According to me, this is the most important element.
A large majority of the artists creating this type of music adds a sustained rhythm at some point in the composition. And during my concentration I end sooner or later paying attention to it.
It’s interesting in those compositions – as Nick seems to be more attracted by percussion instruments – because it seems like there is almost none. Just as if he tried to create some pieces without his favorite part.
Thank you Nick for this silent drum!
It is subtle, diaphanous, created by some percussion here and there in the background, a handful of Hang drum sounds, a plain-skin dully-struck drum.
In this way we do not feel pushed by a beat that is not ours. We do not suddenly face a new rhythm to follow, or realize that a rhythm suddenly stopped.
This aspect of the compositions of Aroshanti strengthens the almost meditative support this music brings to any focused practice.
To test this musical support, I also looped it with other songs that brought the same kind of ambiance, likely to focus on my current tasks. It allowed me to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each… only to return each time to Nick’s compositions.
So I was able to observe the effectiveness provided by one or several of Aroshanti’s albums put in loop over long periods of time.
Which albums to use?
The songs of these albums follow the same principles and provide equivalent support. Choose your favorite ones.
Other albums by the artist are also very nice, but they are out of my category “intense focus” for the reasons mentioned earlier about other composers from the usual “relaxation” category.
If you want to create, at home, office or work, a space for relaxation, an ambiance permitting mental relaxation and focus, try among Aroshanti’s songs from your favorite store (check the links a the bottom of this article).
Tip: the online music stores allow you to listen to samples of each song. Thus, you can buy only your 2 or 3 favorite songs and test them for yourself!
For well-being professionals: the author provides a free practitioner music license on his website, you only have to download it (see the link at the bottom of the article). You will be allowed to use his music in your work space without any additional fee.
Last: Nick Truch is a very nice man. If his creations allow you to focus better on what really matters, to be more efficient and Zen, I find it fair to invest a few euros in his albums rather than downloading “free” tracks on the internet. May everyone be happy!
Aroshanti website: aroshanti.com (for the license, click the “Music license” at the top of the site)
Nick Truch’s website : nick-truch.com