Since isolation is ending around the world and businesses are starting to open back up from the devastating impact of Coronavirus, it made more sense to pivot from Isolation Ambient Music to something a little different. Bringing this under our ambient meditations, we have a new album from Philadelphia-based physicist Jonah PC who makes ambient music on the side. His new album Pull of Tides pulls gently like small waves in the ocean.
The album is built around beautiful, meditative piano compositions with touches of electronic pads and strings to help drive home a solemn and melancholic feeling that most of us are feeling at the moment. It is 40 minutes of calm that I think we all need right now to focus our rage. It will make you feel as calm as that cat, who is named Squirt.
We asked Jonah PC a little more about how he makes ambient music and the connections between physics and music.
1. How do you make ambient music that is interesting, but also still very chill?
Rarely do my music projects have a goal. As I have minimal musical training, creation of music is typically inspired by my emotional environment and sheer patience. Usually, I start a song with experimentation; I pick up the instrument that feels like I am most able to use at that time and start recording and messing around, trying to capture the moment. This album was different; my intent was clear.
The goal of this album was to show that, even with limited knowledge, you can create something that helps actualize your mental environment and thus help cope with mental distraught. It's critical to create an easel to project and analyze your mental state, otherwise thoughts and feelings become entangled and coupled. It does not require a genius or even talent to take a step back and take an objective look of your thought patterns. My mind is quite scattered, cloudy, and entangled and the actualization of this is where the "interest" comes from.
As I can't actually play piano, I know that I have only have one chance; I cannot remember the music that I play, and I cannot write it down. I spend the whole day figuring out the song, note by note, chord by chord. Persistence of capturing exactly what I am feeling, inspired by the knowledge that I only have one session to finish the song, is what drives this interest. It was important for me to not get frustrated by the mistakes I made when creating the songs. This drive to stay patient, stay present, and to play with an open heart and forgiveness is what makes the album so "chill".
2. Why do you think ambient music is having a moment right now?
Music has always been highly sensationalist. It is people's go-to for expressing themselves, whether the track is being played to change your emotional state to a different one, or to amplify the current state the listener is in. The pace of life has sped up. Ambient music allows you to take a step back and breathe. It allows you to feel the emotions that are so easily buried and overseen by society. More importantly, it allows you to process those feelings and healthily cope, creating an environment of listeners who feel what the artists feels and, hopefully, as a society, become more empathetic and understanding.
3. What do you apply from physics into music?
Physics is deeply rooted in my music. I began creating music in college for a math/physics thesis project. I would walk around with a field-recording microphone and use different techniques to analyze the geometry of the sound. The first synthesizer I ever used was one I created by using a bird sounds that I recorded and used as oscillators.
One of the reasons I fell in love with math and physics is because of the intrinsic order of the fields. As I am naturally incredibly ADD, the conventional idea of order does not work for me. Most people think of order as something that is innate to math and physics, but in actuality, they have a beautiful way of describing seemingly unexplainable and chaotic events into a simple and all-encompassing explanation. In this way, it has helped me feel comfortable with exploring outside the normal structures of music, as no matter what I did, there was a place for it.
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