I was busy the whole week with a project I can’t talk about for now. So in order to fill this space, I’m writing a little bit about music.
We have wifi speakers in our studio, and everybody is taking over DJ duties now and then. Or is it the streaming services’ algorithms picking the songs?
Personally, I don’t like generated playlists. Selecting music and discovering new artists is still a manual job for me. So I’m constantly adding songs which I consider pleasant (or at least tolerable) for everybody else to a “studio”-playlist. But it’s just a bucket filled with songs without any concept (other than “I like it and I hope the others will too”). So when I play it, I put it in shuffle mode. And I don’t like shuffle mode either. I guess all those years of filling TDKs with a carefully crafted dramaturgy of handpicked songs left their mark. My listening habits are still very old school, I guess.
Anyway, this week I spend most of the time alone, so I could fill the room with whatever music I wanted without having to worry about annoying anybody.
One of my favourite bands to work to is Three Trapped Tigers. Their music works very well for doing layouts and visual design (which I had to do this week). Tasks which don’t require too much thinking¹, when you either explore different variations or do something repetitive. Older Squarepusher tracks are good for this, too.
I used to be a big fan of Oval, but I haven’t listened to any of their/his music for quite a while. Somehow – while clicking through related artists suggestions in my music player – I ended up at Oval. I knew that he released an album three years ago, but I have never listened to it. Or maybe I did, but wasn’t in the right mood, because it never stuck with me.
This week, however, it clicked. When I hit play, the sun started to break through the grey sky and illuminated the studio. And those tracks where the perfect soundtrack. Like a musical kaleidoscope. Sounds like sunbeams dancing on the leaves of the trees. It was one of those rare occasions, when it feels as if the music was just made for this very instant.
I had a similar magic moment with Bon Iver some years ago. Their self-titled album came out a few weeks earlier and I listened to it a lot. But when my wife and I were driving through the White Mountain National Forest during the Golden Hour a song I heard dozens of times before became something else. Again, it was the combination of light and sound (and probably the presence of the person right next to me) that filled me with bliss from head to toe. I still get a warm and fuzzy feeling when listening to Bon Iver because of that moment. So the week in music ended with a pleasant surprise when they released their new album online way before the announced release date. It’s a beautiful record, go check it out.