Before working on a dissertation and at a full-time job, I might not have distinguished quite so readily between work/writing music and other music, though I’ve always had albums I loved to work or fall asleep to, such as Colleen’s Golden Morning Breaks and Brian Eno’s Apollo Soundtrack, respectively.
While I cannot say that working and writing have changed the kind of music I like, these realities have changed the way I listen and the time I can spend letting an album unfold its mysteries over time. Working 40-hour work weeks gives me patience, you might say. While I’m driving, walking, exercising, or just hanging around, I’m unlikely to pop on a sleepy album, which meant in the past that I got to listen to more subdued albums less frequently. I’m usually on the hunt for albums with a ton of energy.
But at work, my constant task-shifting and the need to think while reading admission applications or writing text for a publication has compelled me to spend more time with more ambient, quiet, contemplative albums than I have in a while. Or perhaps it simply is that being pinned to my desk as I am for so much time, I need musical accompaniment. Thanks to Lala.com, I’ve been able to listen to dozens of albums a day and get connected to many other listeners who work full-time jobs and need constant aural companionship.
So I attribute my being drawn to Keiran Hebden of Four Tet’s recent release, There Is Love in You, to the power of the office. I almost dismissed it out-of-hand after the first track, one of the least compelling on the album. But then I found my way to “Love Cry” and “This Unfolds,” the latter an apt title for a song that begins slowly and adds more layers, depth, and complexity as it builds, or unfolds, if you will.
And with that, back to working on my dissertation.