Sometimes you just need a (mostly) wordless soundtrack to accompany your writing schedule. Here are some of our favourites for tuning out and tuning in.
1. El Retorno – Monster Rally
This song is from Monster Rally’s album “Return to Paradise,” an album that accompanied me as I read Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam series. This album will forever remind me of Jimmy the Snowman and the Crakers.
2. El Toro – Bonobo
Bonobo has been around since 1999 so if you like this, there’s a massive back catalog of his work to get you moving through those writing slumps.
3. Ascension Phase – Kuedo
A friend introduced me to Kuedo about this time last year and he’s become a part of my regular writing rotation ever since. Sometimes you just need a little ambient intensity to get you through a tough passage.
4. minipops 67 [120.2] – Aphex Twin
Aphex Twin dropped his album “Syro” last year, ending the prolonged Aphex Twin drought that we had all been experiencing/mourning.
5. Bohemian Forest – Pantha du Prince
This is, hands down, the best music to draw mandalas to (see our post on alternative Valentine’s Day dates).
6. Sea Bed Meditation – Jürgen Müller
Müller’s album “The Science of the Sea” is a dreamy underwater soundscape and has an origin story that is the stuff of myth. Supposedly, Müller was studying ocean science and living on a houseboat off the northern coast of Germany. He bought some electronic instruments, taught himself how to use them, and set about creating an album that reflected the sounds of life under the sea.
7. Failing Light – Brian Eno & Harold Budd
I really don’t think I need to provide any explanation for the wonder that is Brian Eno. This song is so dreamy to me. It should be music that accompanies any scene of mermaid Daryl Hannah swimming in Splash. Essentially, I wish I could have scored Splash. The whole soundtrack would have been composed of this song and Jürgen Müller.
8. An Hour – Forest Swords
I saw Forest Swords and Boards of Canada (see below) last spring and they just killed it together. I was completely absorbed with my experience and basically ignored everyone around me. It was amazing.
9. Nothing is Real – Boards of Canada
This song has a great, slow burning movement. I find it really pushes me along when I am a bit stuck with a piece. But it pushes me at a nice volcanic-lava-type pace so, you know, it’s not overwhelming.
10. Plains – Tycho
This completes the trio of slower, moodier pieces. Tycho’s minimal album “Awake” came out last year and the whole album is particularly perfect for early morning/late night writing.
11. Take Pills – Panda Bear
Panda Bear’s new album is amazing, but “Person Pitch” still holds the key to my heart. As I am sure it does for many.
12. Inspector Norse – Todd Terje
This song is perfect for the end of a playlist. It gives you the energy you often need when coming the close. The music video is also quite fun. Fair warning, you will want to get up and dance around the room.
13. Spitfire – Public Service Broadcasting
Public Service Broadcasting sample archival public information radio pieces and footage and then play a variety of instruments over them. “The War Room EP” focusses on sounds of Great Britain during World War II and features some great samples from the Dig for Victory campaign. It’s eerie stuff with a bit of good, old irreverence thrown in.
Enjoy! I’m writing and I know you are out there working as well.