Monday, March 28, 2005

Now That's What I Call Music III

2001: Zero 7 – Simple Things

It was my final year at University that I discovered this album. It was a stressful period of my life. The closest I’ve been to self-destruction. I’d been through a bad patch of my teacher training that I really hadn’t enjoyed and had begun to realise that my childhood dream of being a teacher wasn’t for me.

The month of May 2002 was frantic. University students out there will understand why when I say one word. Dissertation. Friday 10th of May was the hand in date. At 1.00am that morning I read my completed dissertation and the horror dawned on me that the last 3000 words or so were awful. With just hours until the hand in deadline I made a very, very stupid decision. I would re-write it.

The kettle boiled, the ‘Rocket Fuel Coffee’ made and computer switched on. I went for it. Typing at a frantic pace. My eyes heavy, my head dull but I knew it had to be done. I can’t work without music but I knew that putting my usual sing-along stuff – Dodgy, Queen, Robbie would be suicide – I’d get distracted. So I dug out a chillout album. Zero 7. Largely ignored since I’d bought it. Listening to it as I typed and typed it captivated me. Soothing, calming. It focused me full of lush string arrangements, meandering bass lines, gentle drums.

By 6am I had finished the mighty task and just had to await the printer to spit out the to copies of my work. As it did this I listened to the album a third time that morning. Dozing off as I did so, floating. That year was the year of chillout music for me. I had needed it back in January 2002 to clam me down from a stressful time – and in the culmination of that year I called up on chillout one more time. I really think that without Zero 7 I wouldn’t have got through that long morning.

I’d highly recommend this album to anyone – you’d probably recognise many of the tracks, they’ve since been over used on many home improvements type shows.

This wasn’t the final time Zero 7 helped calm me. Exactly a year ago their second album, “When It Falls” was released. I had another stressful time ahead – a flight to Spain, Flying is my greatest fear. Slipping it on as we glided over France the familiar sounds calmed me once more. So thank you to Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker, I know they don’t like being labelled as Chill-Out, and it’s fair to say they are much, much more. Even so the two Zero 7 albums are rarely far from my CD players at those times when soothing sounds are needed!

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