Music to Write To

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, 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.

Four Tet, “Love Cry”
Four Tet, “This Unfolds”

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3 Responses to Music to Write To

  1. Cool stuff, Cydney, especially “Love Cry.” I usually ask my comp students what they listen to (if anything) when they write on the day that I talk about controlling the writing environment. Music that they can listen to without needing to really listen to it, mostly. I’m not sure if Four Tet would qualify, at least not on the first listen!

  2. David G says:

    I dig, Cydney. It’s hard to imagine all the different environmental changes my musical taste has gone through . I remember the first place I really listened to “music” (instead of garbage) was in my parent’s basement while (don’t snicker) lifting weights. Now so much of my music is slated towards work, gym, and commute: it effects what I listen to in a million different ways. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I started this blog: to make me listen to music for itself. Or am I listening music just to write about it? Damn.

    One of my favorite Four Tet songs is also one of his most annoying: “No More Mosquitoes.” Even though the I hate that mosquito sound more than life, I can’t get enough of that processed slap bass and the way the electric noodling explodes over it. And that chorus. That God-forsaken chorus… I hate this song. And now I just put it on repeat.

    • Cydney A says:

      Slap bass and electric noodling–two phrases I love to see together in a sentence. That sounds is annoying and great, like many good things in life. The mosquito sounds remind me of this hideous song several djs used to play in Gainesville in the early 90s–a fly buzzed through the whole thing. It was the worst song ever, and yet I still remember it.

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