In the realms of modern day late night ambient exploration Manchester’s Marconi Union often draw comparisons with Brian Eno and Biosphere, perhaps Sigur Ros, but the graceful manner with which their richly melodic compositions unfold and the emotion these evoke sets them apart from their peers. Since their 2003 debut album, ‘Under Wires and Searchlights’, they have continually refined and developed a unique musical identity that seamlessly blends elements of dub, jazz, ambience and electronic music. Their music straddles the worlds of artistic credibility and musical accessibility and tracks from previous albums have been selected as the beautiful backdrop to television commercials, drama and documentary films worldwide and to accompany art installations, theatre and ballet.
For Marconi Union, the inspiration for their new album came after they were commissioned to collaborate with a sound therapist from the British Academy of Sound Therapy and write a piece of relaxing music, the first “Weightless” track. The plan was that the track would then be scientifically tested for it’s effectiveness. The prospect of being involved in this unusual project proved to be highly alluring and the Union quickly agreed to take part. When “Weightless” was tested at the Mindlab Institute scientists reported that their research indicated that the music slowed the heart rate, reduced blood pressure and decreased levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone that is released in response to stress. When the research was made public there was an instant and intense media reaction, with many newspapers, radio stations and television shows picking up on the claims that ”Weightless” was “the most relaxing song, ever!” one national newspaper even warned motorists not to listen to the track while driving. Appositely, the track even earned the track the accolade of being named as one of the “Best Inventions of the Year” in Time Magazine.
During the process of recording ”Weightless”, a number of musical ideas captured MU’s imagination and unable to explore them all in a one piece they decided to make more music using the same approach. It soon became apparent that this was turning into an album-length work and it was decided that this album should become part of their Ambient Transmissions series.
The new album comprises six tracks, simply entitled Part 1 to Part 6. The tracks are minimal, combining warm drones and drifting sounds with occasional sparse rhythms. Part 1 is the original “Weightless” track, which almost appears to have a heartbeat running through it, slowing down very gently throughout the piece, encouraging a deep sense of relaxation in the body, it’s use of specific rhythms, deep bass tones, frequencies and intervals inducing an almost trance like state in the listener. It has already attracted over 12 million worldwide views on YouTube and 5 million followers on Soundcloud. A recent posting about the track on the Mind Unleashed (following of 4.5 million) attracted nearly 16,000 likes and 13,000 shares – the interest in this track is phenomenal!
Marconi Union have also just launched an online installation for Weightless developed in cross collaboration with web developer Raleigh Green with the Marina Abrabmovic Institute.
What people are saying:
“British ambient band Marconi Union has drummed up the world’s most relaxing song: Weightless….aural bliss” Time Magazine No.11- Best Inventions of the Year
“Marconi Union are amongst today’s most talented musicians” Sunday Times
“Marconi Union have steadily released albums of pristine, clinical electronic music over the last decade… continuing to refine their art in minimalist fashion and placing MU firmly in the vanguard of acts making Atmospheric, ambient music” – Music OMH
“If an electronic track can be a limpid pool, this one is. Not a ripple touches the surface, not a single speck of dust clouds the glassy stillness. Weightless the album contains five more similarly translucently gorgeous tracks” The Sunday Times
“An ethereal sense of eternally free flowing dimensions…worth the wait” DJ Mag 8/10
“Two years after [Weightless] was declared ‘the most relaxing tune ever’ they’ve delivered five further, equally calming, pieces worthy of men once asked to remaster the Eno’s back catalogue” Uncut 8/10
“It sounds as though sleepless nights could be a thing of the past thanks to Marconi Union. They have created a song they called Weightless which has become, officially, the most relaxing song ever. That is the verdict of the boffins who say that its sustaining rhythm, the harmonic intervals, the absence of a repeated melody and the use of “whooshing sounds and hums” all combine to make the perfect aural narcoleptic. It is so effective drivers are being warned not to put it on the car stereo.” The Telegraph
“It’s top of the popzzz… Is this the most relaxing song to fall asleep to? Check it out for yourself. Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy, said “It is ideal for unwinding after a stressful day” The Sun
“Weightless, by Manchester trio Marconi Union, is officially the most relaxing song ever” The People
“More relaxing than a massage, walk or cup of tea. Forget hot baths, yoga classes and wacky spa treatments – the best way to chillout is to listen to music. But not just any old track. Musicians have composed the world’s most relaxing song – and it doesn’t include whale sounds or panpipes” The Daily Mail
“Stress relief in a song” Daily Express
“Music and sound therapists have done some brilliant work using music to treat patients. With the more active approach that Marconi Union has demonstrated here, how might music therapist be better able to meet the needs of their patients?” Music Sparks
“A lovely slice of ambience that is a fine example of Marconi Union at their dreamy somnambulistic best” Opus.fm