Find a place to lay down or sit down, find a pair of headphones, and press play. You don’t have to tune out the world, because the song itself does that. Slow, melodious vocals penetrate your busy thoughts. The artist of this song, Imogen Heap, is known for her creative music making, and this song is not lacking in creativity. It’s as if Heap’s voice is a synthesizer. Each note she sings is like a chord played on a keyboard. The effect is achieved by using a vocoder. This device essentially reproduces human speech by inputting it through an encoder that filters the sound waves and then a decoder assigns the corresponding waves in a synthesizer. An example of a vocoder at work in popular music is in Michael Jackson’s PYT (Thriller, 1982). You can hear the same effect on the “ohs” at the very beginning of the song. It’s an amazing effect to listen to.
I like to listen to this song before bed. It quiets the mind and slows down the thoughts, which is essential for my over-thinking self. There was a period of about 2 weeks when this song was the last thing I heard before I fell asleep. It’s so serene and strange. Even if this particular song doesn’t appeal to your taste, I’d encourage you to listen to other songs of Imogen Heap. She’s skilled at pairing ambient sound (think footsteps and water drops) with technological mixes, a clash of everyday noises and intentionally mastered sounds.