On the fifth day of each month, 5 on the 5th shares five of something that I like or recommend to readers. Whether it’s five items that share a common theme, or five reasons why I like the topic at hand, this monthly meme gives us an opportunity to talk about other subjects that aren’t normally discussed here at the blog.
I have pretty eclectic tastes when it comes to music: symphonic metal, progressive rock, singer-songwriter, classical crossover… And over the past couple years, new age and instrumental music has woven its way into my iTunes library. While I can understand why some people would find this genre “boring,” I’ve grown to love it. New age instrumentals are now my go-to music picks when I’m working on blog articles – and they’re immensely helpful for meditating, stress relief, or winding down at the end of the day.
So, for today’s 5 on the 5th, I’d like to recommend Five Soothing Music Albums to Help You Relax, complete with links to each CD’s Amazon page and song clips on YouTube. If you like keyboards, acoustic guitars, and nature sounds, perhaps one or more of these gems will be perfect for playing in the background or for lulling you into a calmer, more peaceful state.
Dreamwaves by Deuter
One of the world’s best-selling new age musicians, Chaitanya G. Deuter blends Eastern and Western music styles to create a hypnotic, mystical music style that’s a favorite among yoga instructors, Reiki practitioners, massage therapists, and other medical and spiritual healers. Play any of Deuter’s albums, and you’ll hear keyboards and synthesizers mingling with a wide range of string, wind, and percussion instruments from all ethnic backgrounds. Dreamwaves in particular is a “greatest hits” CD, compiling songs from several Deuter albums released in the 2000s. If you like what you hear on this album, you’re bound to fall for his other works as well.
Native Spirit: A Relaxing Flute Collection by Dan Gibson
This two-CD collection from Dan Gibson’s Solitudes series (consisting of Native Spirit and Mystic Sky) features Native American flutes and acoustic guitar with the gentle sounds of nature. Bird calls, insects, trickling water, calm winds… If the simple pleasure of lying in a meadow and watching clouds roll by was set to music, it would sound like this. The first CD (Native Spirit) also includes piano, cello, light percussion, and vocal chants. It’s soothing in a different way than Deuter’s music, while grounding listeners in the tranquil beauty of the natural world and the ancient cultures who still worship it today.
Ocean Dreams by David Arkenstone
I’ve confessed to being a Cape Cod girl, but I’ve always been an ocean lover in general. So, when I came across this instrumental album by David Arkenstone, I just had to pick it up. 😉 Ocean Dreams combines lilting piano, synthesizer, and acoustic arrangements with ocean surf and seagull calls. What’s neat about this album is that each song has a distinct “personality.” For example, “The Secret Cave” sounds like the kind of guitar song you’d hear while walking Florida’s beaches, with minimal percussion that gives it a swaying rhythm. “Swirling Pools” is all tidal synthesizers, and “Wind in the Waves” conjures images of leaping dolphins and (of course) sea breezes teasing your hair and clothes. It’s such a lovely, nostalgic CD that it’s now the first thing I play at my day job each weekday morning.
Serenity by David Lyndon Huff
I found Serenity at a gift shop a couple years ago and was grateful I bought it on a whim. It’s in a similar vein to Ocean Dreams, marrying water sounds from nature with atmospheric, ethereal harp pieces. Pianos and synthesizers also play along, but the soft, rhythmic plucking of harp strings takes center stage. If you like that instrument, or if you find ocean waves, flowing streams, and falling rain peaceful, Serenity will be a welcome addition to your collection.
Tranquility by David Lyndon Huff
Originally I was avoiding listing two albums by the same artist… But David Lyndon Huff’s instrumentals are pure magic. So, I couldn’t not include Tranquility. This album comes from the same series as Serenity, but has a different ambiance. Instead of a harp, the piano is the musical centerpiece, giving each song a lyrical cadence. Keyboards, synthesizers, and limited soft percussion also drift in, with the sounds of streams, chirping crickets, and rowing paddles in the water book-ending each track. A lovely, refreshing choice for the soul.
What kind of music helps you relax? Do you have any CDs to recommend? Or, do other kinds of activities help you wind down after a long or stressful day?
Oh – and did you notice something that all of today’s featured musicians have in common besides their music genre? 😉