OBEY XII: Nick Schofield

Soothing ambient sounds borne out of insomnia.


Like so many creative rabbit holes, the idea behind Nick Schofield's first ambient record, Water Sine, presented itself after dark.

Schofield says Water Sine emerged out of a series of sleepless nights. Instead of battling his insomnia, Schofield embraced it—he wanted to harness the creative energy of the night and try a "more intuitive approach" to music-making. Inspired by ambient greats like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Schofield put together the simplest of recording setups—a small keyboard and a reverb delay pedal—and allowed himself to gravitate towards it when sleep wouldn't come.

Those creative limitations shaped the world of the music—with such a narrow palate, Schofield needed to lean deeply into his mind and the emotional depths of the sound available to him. The music on Water Sine sounds appropriately tranquil—its songs wander through tonal shifts, while field recordings of water from significant places in Schofield's life providing a thematic and emotional throughline. This is music as a salve—ideal for the final night of a weekend of adventurous sounds.

"I didn't think during the creation of it, I just felt," he says. "And in many ways, I think that's why I'm so proud of it—because I didn't over-intellectualize the process. It really just came from a place of what was helping me, and in turn it seems to have offered some amount of soothing appeal to other people as well."

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