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Silent vinyl is here for when you just want a bit of quiet

By | Published on Friday 22 March 2019

Silent Meditation

BPI figures confirmed this week that vinyl is still bringing in more revenue for the UK record industry than all those YouTube streams. Hurrah for the ongoing (if still somewhat over-hyped) vinyl revival! You know what’s also in vogue at the moment? Meditation. And over in the US someone has hit upon an idea of combining both of those fads by releasing a twelve-inch record featuring nothing but silence.

Titled ‘Silent Meditation’, the new release – now up for pre-order on Kickstarter – will feature 20 solid minutes of nothing on each side. “No sound, no narration, no chimes at the end”, says creator Eric Antonow. “Drop the needle and enjoy the silence”.

The idea, he explains, came after he bought a meditation record he found in a second hand vinyl store. “As a fan of meditation, I bought it and took it home to play”, he says. “The first part was an explanation [of] why meditation was good for you, then came a few sternly guided meditations. It wasn’t at all what I wanted”.

What he wanted, he realised, was silence. “Each listening would be totally different, a surprise, and another chance to be aware”, he explains. “Having a physical record was not just cool, but probably surprisingly useful. I imagined flipping through albums, looking for something to play. It would stand out, like an invitation to a party. Hey! Let’s go sit”.

He insists that this is “a serious project”, but admits it’s also “intentionally humorous”, hoping that it will act as “a reminder that silence is valuable and it can be enjoyed”.

The record has been predictably compared to John Cage’s ‘4’33’, in which musicians sit in silence for four minutes and 33 seconds. But Antonow dismisses this comparison, on the grounds that his record is “not music, nor were any musicians involved in this recording”. However, the idea still isn’t wholly original.

Back in 1980, Stiff Records released ‘The Wit And Wisdom Of Ronald Reagan’, which featured 40 minutes of silence over two sides of vinyl. This idea was then borrowed by Alcopop! Records for 2015 single ‘The Wit And Wisdom Of Nigel Farage’. The seven-inch features the title track on side A, backed with an Enter Shikari remix.

Of course, ‘Silent Meditation’ makes no comment on politics, so it is different in that regard. I’m sure you could put it on and think about politics if you wanted, though. Or not. The possibilities are endless.