Slow Sound

Meet the musicians creating seasonal soundscapes from color swatches, in partnership with lifestyle brand Toast.

Leon Jean-Marie and Christin Rauter see their decade-long collaboration as proof that good things happen when musicians step outside their comfort zones. Jean-Marie’s background is as a recording artist, producer and sound engineer, while Rauter is a classically-trained pianist and sound designer. But the “kindred spirits” (their description) share a fascination with using music as a tool for wellbeing.

Over the last year, Jean-Marie and Rauter have been collaborating with Toast to create Slow Sound: a series of seasonal soundscapes designed to calm, reset and enliven the mind, and chime with Toast’s philosophy of pursuing a slower, more thoughtful way of life.

What was the creative starting point for Slow Sound?
LJM: Christin and I studied the fabric and color swatches from Toast’s upcoming collections. Colors have frequencies similar to sounds—that’s how our brains can process them. So we married the color frequencies from the swatches with sound frequencies, creating a scale or a key that we composed within. We also incorporated how the collection’s clothes and fabrics themselves sounded, by ruffling or scratching them. We made five compositions: Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer and Earth, which is an amalgamation of the four seasons.

CR: To make the Earth composition we used the Schumann resonance which is the natural frequency of the earth’s electromagnetic field. It’s very calming.

Do you see music as a calming force in general?
CK: I experience it myself. Playing the piano is like healing or mediation for me: I feel the sound, I connect with the instrument. But not everyone is a pianist or has a piano, so you need to find different ways. I also work with Himalayan singing bowls, which Leon and I recorded for the Toast tracks. You can feel their vibrations so strongly when you listen to them. It goes through your body; it frees the energy.

How do you incorporate slowness in your daily lives?
CR: Every day is rich with sound, you’re walking through it and responding to it. I love the sound of a train when it switches rails, people think it’s weird but I find it so beautiful. Over the last ten years, wherever I go I have my little recorder with me and I capture anything that sounds interesting. I went to a desert island in Thailand to record the pure waves there.

LJM: As a producer, you take for granted all of the outside noise. Working with Christin, and doing my own meditation practice, it’s like I’ve been in training to pay attention to it: I’m not an expert, but I noticed if I went for a walk after a 20-minute meditation session, the world, the trees would appear and sound different.

What would you like listeners to take away from the project with Toast?
LJM: Whatever a listener is doing or going through in their daily life, we want to encourage them to slow down and pay attention to things that we commonly take for granted. That’s also really staying authentic to what Toast is about as a brand.

CR: Because the soundscapes are based so exactly upon these clothes from Toast—the colors, fabrics and the feelings we had when we wore them, they can become an additional sense for someone to experience that item. We buy so much as consumers, but hopefully, our soundscapes will make it more special and bring us back to thinking, “What do I already have? What makes me feel good? How can I simplify my life to just the things that really matter to me?”

This interview was produced in partnership with Toast to mark the launch of Slow Sound.


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