As a composer and producer I’ve always felt my path would lead to some kind of deeper connection with the mindfulness movement and that my work was meant to provide healing and nourishment to others while offering me the joyous vehicle of benevolent creation.
The seed for my recently debuted functional ambient music project, Music for Painters, was planted in early 2006 when I ran into a simple problem: I needed to find a way to use music as a protective bubble so that I could focus on pen and ink drawings in busy parks, coffee shops, and subway cars in New York City.
I noticed that listening to music on my headphones helped drown out the noise but could have other undesirable effects depending on what I was listening to. Pop music pulled my attention and emotional awareness in too many directions, while hip hop, trance, jazz, and EDM all modulated my moods in ways that I found counterproductive to the art.
After weeks of research, I stumbled upon Brian Eno’s genre-defining ambient works from the late 1970’s. The first time I sat down with my sketchpad and put on “Ambient 1: Music for Airports” I knew I was on the right track.
The non-invasive, neutral yet beautiful soundscapes seemed to activate a force field of pleasant equanimity around my brain. It provided the right amount of stimulation and aesthetic smoothness to serve the function I needed it to. Soon after, I set my course on developing a methodology that would lead to numerous sonic sculptures that would become my project’s seminal works.
Twelve years and a career in pop music production later, I’ve finally debuted Music for Painters publically with the premier of “Sitting on a Pale Blue Dot,” a thirty-minute musical sculpture inspired by the iconic 1990 photograph from the Voyager 1 mission which inspired the title of the late astrophysicist and humanitarian Carl Sagan’s 1994 book exploring mankind’s place in the universe.
The exercise of perspective, in this case the perspective of our home planet as one unified ball of light, is a very powerful tool in cultivating mindfulness and allowing a break in the habitual negative thought cycles that can drain our daily energy reservoirs and threaten our ability to feel grateful; one of the pillars of true happiness.
I’ve learned on my own spiritual journey that it takes conscious attention each day to cultivate a sense of connection to the gratefulness that already exists inside of me. Music for Painters is my offering to people looking for a healthy aide towards a better sense of connection with themselves.
By providing stable textural spaces designed to allow the conscious mind to slow down, create space, and to express itself freely, it can be used as a meditative or self-reflective aide; a safe place to focus on mindfulness practices or discover personal truths that may be obscured by the noise of daily life. Try listening in different environments and see how your observations change.
Michael Spivack holds a Master's degree in Music Composition from the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College and has since written and produced music for television, film, and artist collaborations. Under his producer moniker Prospect Lux, Michael has released two 5 song solo EPs “EP-1 (2016)” and “Cocoons (2017)” and received praise from several influential music blogs.