Can’t visit this California aquarium? Chill with its emotional support squids from home

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When Evie Silver gets down to work every morning, they usually put up a YouTube video titled “Chill Shrimp for 2 hours to work/study/relax“On their living room TV.

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“It’s shrimp, it’s great, it’s so relaxing,” he said. “And then at the one hour and 22-minute mark, it gets inexplicably funky for about four minutes, and then cools back down. It’s a complete experience.”

Silver, who operates publishing from his home in Hamilton, Canada, is one of millions who have streamed the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s ambient and lo-fi videos, a mix of popular low-fidelity hip-hop music. Let’s fuse the aquarium’s livestream together. It’s all over YouTube.


Emily Simpson, a senior social media content producer for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, said her team began making these videos in 2020 while the aquarium was closed.

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“Especially when the pandemic hit, we’ve had to move to a lot of new social outreach to keep aquarium presence in check,” Simpson said.


Aquarium’s first lo-fi video.2 hours of squid to rest / study / work”, was posted that August and has since become the third most popular video on his YouTube channel with over 2.3 million views.

“Calm down everyone,” read the video’s top comment, “I’m looking for my emotional support squid.”

The videos are used in many ways: Simpson said that people have commented and conveyed that they can be used while sleeping, studying, meditating or even entertaining pets who are alone at home. How to play video.

“There are hospitals that will broadcast live cameras to the waiting room,” Simpson said, “and there are a lot of people who turn to those live cameras, which are a really quiet, almost meditative thing in the background.”

“Shut up everyone. I’m watching my emotional support squid.”

– youtube commenter

Lo-fi music is often associated with lofi girl: The uber-famous YouTube channel that streams 24/7 streams of lo-fi music, for a depiction of an animated girl wearing a green sweater and over-ear headphones and writing calmly. With over 11 million subscribers (and thousands streaming at most hours of the day and night), it became National News When the Lofi Girl stream was removed for two days during July.

Griffin Candy, a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan’s University of Music, Theater and Dance, said that when he was working on a paper for himself about the lo-fi hip-hop community, he found Monterey Bay Aquarium’s lo-fi videos. meet. Musicology class.

“This kind of hip-hop isn’t new,” Candy said, as he traced aspects of the lo-fi subgenre back to Brian Eno’s 1978 album “Ambient 1: Music for Airports.” “but [the Lofi Girl] The channel is the primary broadcast voice. ,

Candy compared contemporary lo-fi music to an Eno quote about how ambient music should “accommodate multiple levels of listening without imposing one in particular; it should be as unpleasant as it is interesting. “

“Because it has a very repetitive structure, or that kind of predilection, it’s not something that you have to actively use a lot of brain power on,” he said. “They blend into each other very easily.”

But as lo-fi hip-hop evolved from that ambient ethos, it was also heavily influenced by the work of Detroit-born producer Jay Dilla and Japanese producer Nujabes, who inspired the style’s smooth and funky beats.

“Those two artists also use this technique called sidechain compression, which basically reduces the volume of the rest of the instrument when the kit hits the kick drum,” Candy said. “So the combination of asymmetric beats, sidechain compression and sampled digital media that bring out the natural imperfections in the music creates a kind of wavy texture, which is a very lo-fi thing.”

Some of the fuel behind YouTube’s many lo-fi streams is copyright-free lo-fi hubs like lofi girl And chillhop (the library that the Monterey Bay Aquarium uses), which allows creators to access music for free as long as the artists are credited.

Large, diverse audiences for these ambient videos, including whatever is shown Killer Belly Comb Jellyfish swimming in deep water Bart and Homer Simpson on a Drive either spongeBob enjoying a crisp autumn dayattracted the team of Emily Simpson (no relation to Bart or Homer) to create their lo-fi videos at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

In Simpson’s eyes, these videos are a way for aquariums to reach people who don’t often feel welcome in science-heavy spaces.

“Being on the internet and doing weird things like ‘Animal Crossing’ and talking about the animals you might be fishing for, or making these lo-fi videos, connects to a lot of young people who use this kind of content. are consuming,” Simpson said.

“To be in a world they’re already familiar with is so impressive,” he said. “And we get a lot of people who reach out to us saying, ‘Oh my god, I never thought I’d be an aquarium fan on Tumblr making memes or listening to these lo-fi videos And just doing squid or shrimp up in the background.'”

It should be as indecent as it is interesting.

– Brian Eno, who coined the term “ambient music”

Silver, who watches these videos working from home, said background noise can also be an essential tool for focusing.

“I have ADHD, and I have such a hard time balancing two things at the same time,” he said. “But I think it’s really good for my brain. Because it’s a few videos of the same kind, I can rotate and have continuity during half-listening, so I think it’s really A good access tool, honestly.”

But regardless of whether these messy videos are used by viewers to sleep, chemistry 101 or just escape the vibe, their effects seem overwhelmingly positive.

“Fantastic. This is truly the pinnacle of human creation,” wrote a commentary on the shrimp video. “The Internet was made so I could chill with two prawns.”


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