Thinking of using some cd music as a background to some visuals, or for a meditation? Or even just because there’s a deathly silence when people walk into the church in the morning? If so, please pay attention.
For years now we’ve gone ahead and used the good old versions of Mozart, Taize chants on cd or even that cassette tape of nicemeditation music that grandma gave you a few years back. This is fairly safe, there’s no mess in the music, we all know that thelyrics are ok and that it’s nice and quiet reflective music that can sit in the background and not affect anyone.
Electronic, dub, ambient, dance and jazz music is under-utilised in our churches as “reflective” music, probably because it’s “noteveryone’s idea of good music.” This is rather objective, I like Mozart, however if you play some Moby or Sigar-Ros and the musicgives the space a new dimension, opens it up for people to not only focus on the images but onto the music as well.
Jazz and world music is a bit more unpredictable than the good old “sounds of the outback” reflective music that we’re used to, but hey… it’s a lot more interesting.
Dub and electronic music has a bit of mess associated with it, there’s scratches, body and machine noises as a part of the tracks, its unpredictable, its not necessarily ordered…
Oh yeah, and it makes people want to move.
My tip for this year is to give these types of music a shot behind images, as a part of worship, during reflections… Get funky with your use of music in church, bland doesn’t cut it anymore, use something that makes the body move and the mind wake up.
Where do I find this music?
For ideas I generally pay attention to local radio, normally there’s a cool person who’s on radio putting out the new dub and electronic music that you can hunt down at the local cd store.
Triple j has the “sound lab” on Sunday evenings and the “groove train” on Friday, they play some nice electronic music to listen to and use as a research tool.
Alternative cd compilations from overseas sometimes have some good songs on them, particularly ones that focus on electronic music. Remix cds are quite the norm now-days as an addition to the normal cds, this gives you more options to use during worship.
Alternative music magazines also have some good sections on electronic music, THE WIRE magazine sometimes has a cd titled “tapper” which usually has some great unheard music on it.
Soundtracks and compilation cds are great places to find great artists, however they don’t normally target and support the artist who put the song together, why not hear a song that you like and buy the artist’s cd, after all without anyone buying their stuff specifically they’ll stop putting cd’s out.
And for songs with lyrics, that’s another story, I suggest once a month that you listen to the top 100 on your local triple m or FM radio station and once a month listen to the net 50 on triple j. These are great resources of popular new music that people are being subject to on a daily basis.
Bands and cds I like using:
- Sigur Ros
- Four Tet
- All India Radio
- Afro Celt Sound System
- Sheila Chandra
- Mo Horizons
- Ben Harper
- Bruce Cockburn
- Black Eyed Peas
- Paul Kelly
- Spearhead / Michael Franti