Songs without words

Music I live by.......

I saw the hypnotic Van Gogh Immersive Experience last week. The visuals and staging are stunning. You do, as they promise, step inside the paintings.

The soundtrack was less inspiring, snapshots of well-worn, much-loved, internationally recognisable classical masterpieces. Beautiful, but a missed opportunity. Or perhaps a deliberate choice to ensure global appeal and unadulterated focus on the art.

Nestled in the playlist was a piece by the French composer Erik Satie, reminding me of long childhood summers spent desecrating his beautiful Gymnopedie No.1, with my mediocre piano playing. Satie, I am sorry.


Classical vs Instrumental

I admire classical music, but I never choose to listen to it. Some compositions are interwoven with my history and become meaningful by extension. Others, like Satie’s music, move me, but there are no recordings in my home, or on my playlists.

I am beguiled and a little jealous of the passion and joy classical music inspires in friends. It may be latent in me, but I haven’t (yet) accessed it. I doubt I will, there are many higher things on my bucket list.

I listen to a lot of music without vocals – tomorrow’s classical music. I have no knowledge of the genres, and a cursory search of Google suggests I am not alone. If I hear an instrumental track I like, I save it, or Shazam it and store it by the need it serves. Here are a couple of examples:


When I need serenity

The Swimmer by Phil France

I had a brief period of anxious insomnia a few years ago, and this was the track that I turned to, night after night. The rhythm soothes me. I don’t find ‘relaxing’ music very relaxing, it makes me anxious that I am failing to RELAX. Phil France’s music has the elemental cadence of a world turning on its axis. It makes me feel I’ll be all right.

I discovered when writing this that France is a member of the Cinematic Orchestra, a band I love dearly, who are playing today at a festival I failed to get tickets for. It is a very small world.


When I need renewal

Memento (For D) by Guy Sigsworth

I first heard this at an Imogen Heap gig in 2019. Amongst the noisy revelers, I became still. There was no one in the Roundhouse but me, Guy, and his keyboard. As the track ended, I found my cheeks were wet with tears, of neither joy nor sadness, just aliveness.

When I feel numb, at the end of a long day, I play this track and emerge fresh, reborn. The world feels full of beautiful possibilities. I do hope you love it.

Yours hopefully,

Nazneen xxx


Yours Hopefully is an experiment in living hopefully. With music and musings, from a singer-songwriter-scientist. Why not subscribe and get a post every Sunday in your inbox?