This Grimes-approved app will help you focus

‘AI Lullaby’ soundtracks your life with music that adapts to your heart rate and the weather.

by Frankie Dunn
28 October 2020, 2:45pm

With the huge number of distractions and incredibly valid reasons to be anxious that exist in 2020, it can be understandably difficult to concentrate. But simple things like work, driving and getting to sleep all require at least some level of focus and calm. Maybe you’ve been relying on YouTube’s “lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to” for several years now, or perhaps Spotify’s ‘Music For Concentration’ playlist does it for you. Well, Grimes has just collaborated with AI app Endel on ‘AI Lullaby’, which is like that but approximately 1000 times better.

Already a fan of the app thanks to its ability to help her sleep, Grimes teamed up with Endel after searching for a better bedtime soundtrack for her five-month-old baby, X Æ A-XII, who she believed deserved more than just white noise. “In general, stuff for babies is really just creatively bad,” she told The New York Times this week. “I don’t want your first introduction to the world to just be all this aimless crap.” And so Grimes worked on a calming ambient dreamscape, peppered with her own heavenly vocals (approved by baby X himself), that launches on the app today.

Endel uses AI to generate a soundscape that constantly evolves to match your changing moods, needs and situations. It takes weather into account, syncs the beat with your heart rate, changes in intensity and tone according to the time of day, and even complements your natural circadian rhythm. "We generate music using pure intonation [based on very simple frequency ratios] which reduces energy consumption of the brain and enhances the listening experience,” Endel explain. “Endel music is based on pentatonic scale, which is free of any harsh or distracting harmonies.”

In her NYT interview, Grimes also discussed her belief that AI will replace humans creatively. "I think at some point, we will want to, as a species, have a discussion about how involved AI will be in art,” she said. “Do we want to just sit around and just watch AI-created art all day? I don't know. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing."

For now though, in the context of this Grimes-blessed app at least, it feels like something of a game-changer. A new way to experience music and a lifeline for those who struggle to focus, relax and/or sleep.

‘AI Lullaby’ is available via the Endel app until 23 December. Some of the proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit Naked Heart Foundation.