I mentioned in my sound therapy perspectives article last time that I recommended checking out the Hibino Sound Therapy Lab Vol. 1 album as a good place to start with therapeutic music. I thought it would be a good opportunity to follow up with my own impressions of the album to give you a sense to what to expect as well as provide some samples of my favorite moments on the album.
For those interested, it’s available both digitally and physically from CD Baby for $9.99 and $14, respectively.
Read my impressions below.
The album opens with four pieces from the popular Prescription for Sleep application, which combines music and visuals to help people relax and get ready for a state of sleep. I’ve used this app several times myself, and my son, who’s just over six months old, loves watching images of a pulsating moon moving across the screen before his bedtime.
With that background, it makes sense that these tracks are relaxing and aim to create a restful environment. The four tracks included are distinctly different, with “Crescent Moon” opening with an engrossing melody that comes via a lovely blend of piano, fluttering woodwinds, and a soulful violin. The soothing jazz atmosphere is accented with acoustic guitar and a light shaker in the background, and is perfect at the end of a long and tiring day. “Hikari,” on the other hand, is the track I most associate with the app, coming as majestic and beautiful while also calming. It moves along as a gentle waltz, as if slowly dancing you way to sleep.
“Prayer for Asia” and “Body Healing” both focus on tempo with heavy and repetitive bass notes on the piano to slow your internal clock to prepare you for sleep. “Prayer for Asia” gets an ethnic woodwind melody to accompany it while “Body Healing” is more minimalistic, bringing in a light piano to counter the bass.
From there, you can think of the rest of the music as almost a “Prescription for Wakefulness,” as the melodies are a lot more upbeat, but still relaxing. “Morning Light,” for example, features a measured piano and acoustic guitar duet that is perfect for a dimly lit room either before bed or when waking up. “Awakening,” on the other hand, swells with emotion, with well-placed pauses lending the piece a contemplative edge, while “Sun Comes Up” sounds like a lullaby with its deep, rich strings and inspirational melody.
“Peace in my Heart” is probably my favorite track on the album with its decisive melody that’s brimming with emotion, and the chorus section is amazing. “Joy” is a perfect title for this track, although it doesn’t hit you over the head with its uplifting emotion. Finally, “Universe” offers a wide and nebulous atmosphere that’s easy to get lost in with its array of single guitar and piano notes. While there isn’t a strong sense of melody in a traditional sense, the genius is in the atmosphere. It’s impressive to create an image of outer space in the mind of the listener with a small chamber group devoid of electronic influences.
This is, to this day, one of my most listened-to CDs in my collection. It’s on a constant rotation on my sleep playlist on my iPod (along with nearly 400 other tracks), and I even have a copy of the CD in the CD player by our bed in the event that my iPod isn’t handy. The performances (all live) are solid, and the music is top notch. We recommend picking this up from CD Baby if you’re looking for some music to unwind to.