Having read Andy Coverdale’s excellent post on Music to Survive a PhD, I decided it was time to roll up the shutters on my own PhD blog and document the contents of my headphones as I was writing up this Summer. Like Andy, I cannot listen to lyrics while writing. Sometimes, if things are getting particularly tricky, all music has to go off in order to think. However, in the main music was a helpful way of blocking out the rest of the (shared) office and acting as a signal to myself that it was time for me to work. And there were also the very early morning bus rides to the office where I needed getting going for the day, hence:
Beyonce – 4
This was the album I listened to more than anything else this year. If, like me, you never paid that much attention to Beyonce before, you should really check this album out, it’s one of the best albums in years. Very strong songs all the way through, and her singing – my god, her voice is incredible. Too good to write to, but great for maintaining sanity when faced with another day of trying to keep up with the writing schedule
Anything by Theo Parrish
Parrish is generally groove-based enough for my brain to latch on to, while not being dancefloor enough to distrct me from the job in hand, Also, I have been listening to him for a long time, so there is enough familiarity with the music for me not to have to concentrate too hard. Like driving a fmiliar stretch of motorway and subconsciosuly knowing which junction to leave at. So for me, his music was instrumental in helping me write. For you, it’s worth listening because he makes otherworldly house music like no-one else. Lots of imitators – no equals.
Hugo Capablanca – Beats In Space Hallowwen 2011 special
http://www.beatsinspace.net/playlists/492 (free download)
One-off studio session orchestrated by Capablanca which has never been released. Psych-Krautrock vibe which manages to sound really fresh despite being an overcrowded genre. Listened to this a lot while writing. The pulsing effects and shards of melody work really well for me – would like to hear more from this man.
Legowelt – The Teac Life
Here is an artist that never reallygot on my radar until the release of this album. A blisfully melodic soup of techno unwinding over two hours, this was the only album I listened to while working and commuting. Glorious. What is more, the album was released as a free download – pick it up here.
Rustie – Glass Swords
If Legowelt took full advantage of the extended album lengths available to artists in the download era, Rustie turned the other way, issuing a series of 7-inch length missiles that sounded like techno/R&B cut-and-shut jobs given a progrock-synth respray. This was fantastic for propelling me through mundane tasks such as proof reading or bibliography-checking, although I eventually found the beats too busy not to be distracting. Amazing music though.
My Last FM stats were very helpful in jogging my memory for this post. You can see a lot more of the stuff I have been listening to at http://www.last.fm/user/WarrenPearce/charts