Music to work by

I have a thing for loud, chord heavy rock music. It is why I still enjoy tracks from The Cult, why Puddle of Mudd, Eagles of Death Metal, Aerosmith and the like feature heavily on my playlists.

None of those acts (with perhaps the exception of Aerosmith) would claim that they are at the pinnacle of song writing, I doubt they’re expecting an Ivor Novello anytime soon but they do write some catchy, if simple, melodies. Ideal stuff to whack on in the background whilst I’m getting my head down to work.

On a separate note, is this a generational thing? The need to have a source of ‘noise’ to help focus?

Anyway, riff-tastic rock is a tried and tested accompaniment to my working habits. I do veer into electronica on occasion, but ultimately the Sigur Ros’s and Portisheads of this world are too varied in tone and pace and end up disturbing trains of thought. Rap music is about the only other alternative for me, with Jay-Z and Q-Tip jostling with long time favourites Cypress Hill for ear time.

I’ve tried Classical music, Jazz, Folk, Pop, and everything in-between but nothing works as well as good ole fashioned rock ‘n’ fuckin’ roll! Maybe that’s my predeliction towards rock music, brought up on a diet of Queen and Status Quo, peppered with Simon & Garfunkel, Manilow and Sedaka, it’s understandable that I favour the pop side of rock music, and generally appreciate a well crafted song regardless of genre.

But for music to work by? Gimme chords, heavy riffs, a chugging bass and thumping drums and I’m happy. Lyrics are not important, subject matter makes no difference, as long as I can keep if banging away in the background I’m a happy and productive bunny.

This post was brought to you by the Foo Fighters track All my Life, the Eagles of Death Metal track Cherry Cola and Puddle of Mudd’s Nobody Told Me.

What music do you work by?

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Long time blogger, Father of Jack, geek of many things, random photographer and writer of nonsense.

Doing my best to find a balance.

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[bets on a BW comment regarding “is it generational”]

I’m a great fan of bass-heavy stuff, including things like Dub where there might not even be words, which helps me a lot when it comes to working through stuff I need to do without distraction.

So on that score, rock features fairly high (Cult, AC/DC, etc.) but also Dub (Mad Professor being a particular favourite), stuff like Massive Attack, Pressure Drop, Sabres of Paradise, (working to “Haunted Dancehall” is always fantastic) David Holmes and the like.

A lot depends on my mood too – sometimes I can go with stuff like Luka Bloom or Voice of the Beehive, other days it just has to be Nine Inch Nails or KMFDM. Oddly, database schemas always get worked out best (for me) when there’s something like Nick Cave in the background. Go figure.

What do I listen to? Well, Radio Grayblog, obviously! Duh!

(Actually, I don’t. Not normally, anyway. Usually, if there is noise I listen to Monkey Radio or a CD (TV on the Radio’s Dear Science being the current favourite). But, normally, it’s the sound of the birds tweeting, the neighbour’s dogs barking and low-flying 737s and A320s on their way into LGW).

When I can, and I’m not already doing something that means I need to focus on several different I need music. Or something. Just a noise to help me focus, otherwise my mind wanders – having an external noise will help me focus in on one thing. The more I need to focus, the more all consuming the noise needs to be. If I’m on deadline it has to be through headphones. I’m very VERY easily led off.

And it’s generally something without lyrics – or at least without lyrics in English. That ranges from some Early music, Bach, and other non-shouty classical stuff, to salsa, bollywood soundtracks or instrumental jazz things

Right now my main listening thing for work is FIP, the fantastic, eclectic French station that I can get over my fancy wireless radio (bought because I missed the BBC so much) who do a mix of jazz, world, folk, cover versions, really random things – all mixed in to themed runs. Very easy listening without being dull in the slightest.

I wish I could listen to music when I’m working- but I can’t concentrate. I’ve got to write quite complicated technical stuff that sometimes I can barely understand myself, and I need complete silence.

But when doing housework I’m all for it- right now I’ve got an amazing mix of all the best music from 1969 (I recently had a 1969 party for, um, no reason that anyone needs to know…cough) and it’s chock full of Hendrix, Beatles, Stones, The Mamas and Papas and er, The Jackson Five…I’ve yet to get sick of it.

mum says:

Try ‘Carmina Burana’ by Carl Orff, bet you know some of the choral bits.

Aerosmith! Black Sabbath! Ozzy! Guns ‘n’ Roses! Sisters of Mercy! The Cult! Nickelback! Stiltskin!

And of course Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, St Laurence O’Tool Pipe Band. et al.

I just wish I could listen to all this at my place of paid employment instead of just at home!

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