When you are trying to relax or create a relaxed ambience in your home, you would most likely use any of the following accessories to up the ante: scented candles, essential oils, music or incenses. Olfactive art gallery, Folie à Plusieurs and New York-based museum, Noguchi Museum, have teamed up to offer you something even better: a collection of incense that come with their unique soundtracks.
Called Co, this new incense collection is inspired by the Japanese tradition of Koh-do, a refined and elaborate ritual of ‘listening to incense’ that is somewhat similar to traditional tea ceremonies but with emphasis placed on smell rather than taste.
The collection includes five different incense packs created by Japan’s oldest incense supplier, Kungyokudo. Within each pack is a download link to an album that has been composed to accompany that particular incense. The albums have been made by experimental musicians based in Japan and Europe, who vary greatly in style but are united in their idiosyncratic, genre-blending approach.
The jasmine-scented Fernweh incense, for example, comes with a soundtrack by Hatis Noit, a Japanese vocalist currently based in London, whose eclectic music is inspired by influences including Gagaku (music from the courts of ancient Japan), Gregorian chants, contemporary pop, and opera.
Led by a Blue Bird Through a Mountain is an aquatic sandalwood scent with a corresponding soundtrack by Japanese vibraphone musician Masayoshi Fujita. The vibraphone is a more mellow-sounding version of the xylophone, and Fujita has developed his own unique sound on the instrument, often by attaching metal, strips of foil, or other objects to its metal bars.
Then, there is Under Clouds, Ascending – a mixture of sandalwood and vanilla with a soundtrack composed by Daniel Thorne, a Liverpool-based composer, saxophonist, and founder of Immix, the ensemble of artists from around the UK whose works “slips between the cracks of style and genre.”
Outlines of a Distant Memory is a burnt sugar and wood fragrance in the Co incense collection that comes with music by London-based synth producer Rival Consoles. And finally, To Your Borders and Back is a scent that blends cedar and lavender with music by multimedia artist, composer and vocalist Rosa Anschütz.
The project is the most recent in a growing number of initiatives that blend fragrance and sound to create a soothing, immersive environment. As one new study argues, we will be seeing a lot more of such products in the coming years, as our tech-saturated lifestyles encourage people to find solace in sensory forms of relaxation.