There are only certain types of music I can listen to whilst I work. Nothing too intrusive – i.e. nothing energetic or with distracting words. Preferably something creative that acts as a constant reminder that the world is an interesting place. Here are some words about five favourites…
Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtrack to the 1990 television show Twin Peaks unfolds slowly and is rich in mystery – though, as with its parent television program – it does not offer up these mysteries easily. It never gives you a straightforward answer – moments of peace are haunted by a spooky unease, fear-drenched sequences break down in to moments of beauty.
Consisting of three pieces of music based on the latter part of David Bowie’s Low album, Philip Glass‘ The Low Symphony is just a very beautiful and calming piece of work – it somehow manages the trick of being simultaneously enjoyable to concentrate on listening to, yet also something that it is possible to let fade in to the background.
Moving to something more recent… Haiku Salut’s first two albums, Tricolore and Etch And Etch Deep are two of my favourite records released in the last few years. All of their music is instrumental and inventive, everything feels handcrafted. They are the kind of band whose track titles – e.g. Sounds Like There’s A Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart or Things Were Happening And They Were Strange – say a lot about them, and even sound a bit like the titles of interesting short stories.
I came across Leave Now For Adventure by Feedle in about 2007 and I don’t remember how or why. It has a great title, a kind of faux-naïve picture of a train on the cover, and an odd little piece of writing in the inside cover that ends:
when you close the front door behind you on a weekend morning the garden is only the beginning, the shops beyond, the town further still, the city and then the ocean. if you leave now, you’ve got all weekend, if you call in sick, you’ve got all week, if you don’t call at all, you don’t ever have to go back
Beyond that, the music itself is something I just don’t understand. It is electronic and a lot of it has the rhythm of a train, but I have no ability to describe music, so it is not possible to give you more detail.
Finally, on the slower, lower, more spacious end of the scale is The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull on which Earth manage to make every moment sound momentous, portentous. Its best track, Hung From The Moon, ambles along for minutes before beautiful shafts of light break through.