Music To Create To That Isn’t Classical

I’m sure there are a couple out there, but I don’t know any artist who creates to complete silence. The music we listen to can definitely have an effect on how we create. Earlier this year I worked with a group of kids and helped them paint while listening to an orchestral score, the kids painting what they envisioned as they listened to the music. I know as a highly visual person, whenever a song comes on I automatically see flashes of images in my head while I listen, even if it is just colors or patterns that the music brings to mind.When it comes to good art-making music, most people seem to swear by classical. I certainly don’t mind classical music, but I tend to prefer songs with lyrics to solely instrumental. I have a wide range that gets me going. Some days I love painting to Minor Threat and The Misfits, but I have found that for fine detail work calmer is better. I love accompanying art with coffee as well, so if the music is too energetic and I am too caffeinated, I will literally just pace and dance around and get about 1/2 as much work done. Also, when I’ve worked all day and been around lots of noise and chaos aka students (gotta love ’em) for the past 8 hours, it’s nice to listen to something tranquil. For your perusal, I’ve assembled a list of calm and creative music that is my muse while working, at least for right now.

Broadcast

Aside from the fact that the lead of Broadcast had one of the most soothing voices I’ve ever heard, the title of this album is called “Future Crayon” so you know it has to be good art-making-music.

San Fermin

I had the pleasure of seeing San Fermin live last fall, and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to in my life. I’ve never seen a group of people play so many instruments at once, and play them all like masters.

Michael Nyman

I’ve actually never watched the film this song is from, but a yoga class I took in college used this song in a playlist that would be on repeat during every session. All of his music is equally stunning and tranquil, though this song has remained my favorite.

Elliot Smith

What can I say, I love sad songs.

The Entire Old Boy Soundtrack

Ok, so this movie is far from peaceful as you can see from the featured movie poster above – so brutal – but the soundtrack is ahhhmazing. The music varies in style, but most of it is mainly instrumental and it’s very creative and fun, a perfect backdrop for art. This song I’ve featured is my absolute favorite. The movie is pretty visually amazing as well, if you have a strong stomach (or a blanket to peek through intermittently ;)). Watch the original, do not watch the shitty American version, please and thank you.

Beach House

Again, amazingly soothing vocals and creative melodies. I feel like I’m entering a mythical dreamland when I listen to this band.

Morrissey

I may get accused of being a fangirl, but I seriously do make the best things while listening to Morrissey. Both his solo lyrics and those from his songs with The Smiths also tend to have an eerie way of stating what I’m always thinking.

80s music videos … oy.

So, what do you listen to when you need to concentrate but can’t stand the quiet?

Music to Make Stuff To

Hello all! I’ve been super busy lately so this is not going to be one of those deep, introspective posts – sorry! However, I hope it will provide some fun artistic inspiration for some of you. I constantly get asked “What do you like to listen to when you work?” I definitely have certain types of music I enjoy in the car or while cleaning the apartment or on long walks, types of music that don’t always work while creating for whatever reason (see Finnish metal bands ^_^). My brain seems to enjoy a mix of 60s-80s oldies, and drama-infused artsy indie rock to aid in the creation process, so, here are some of my constant go-tos on any Music To Make Stuff To playlist, as I like to call it.

I was obsessed with listening to 50s and 60s music as a kid and would practically cry if my parents had any station other than the oldies on in the car. They were a kid themselves in the 60s and weren’t half as into it as I even was. My heart would always get a little happier when this particular song came on, before I even knew who The Doors were. Still love it.

Everything by the Smiths, enough said.

I think drama through song is creativity’s lifeblood.

And remember what I said about drama?

Another of my favorite oldies from childhood. My parents did actually have this tape. I included the song with clips from the film “Chungking Express” because I have hardly ever seen a song used so seamlessly as a motif throughout a film. Also, the main actress is absolutely adorable and makes the song even better.

Enter: Turkish psychedelic music. What’s that? You never knew such a thing existed? You don’t say … I have always found Middle Eastern chords to be so hauntingly beautiful, and that is especially true in this song.

Anything Michael Nyman, and I repeat, ANYTHING MICHAEL NYMAN! His pandora radio station embodies just about the most soothing art-making-friendly music known to man. If you like his piano music, check out Phillip Glass, also.

The Velvet Underground can certainly be hit and miss, but I cannot be in a bad mood when I hear this song.

First of all, this music video alone is worth a watch – it’s pretty impressive. I have found Grizzly Bear to have great calming, atmospheric music for in the background while creating.

The late 80s/early 90s had fantastic music, in quite a contrast to their clothing. I really missed out being born a bit too late. I was still listening to Disney tapes when this stuff was big.

Lastly, who doesn’t feel empowered to do great things while playing this song? I included the video from Guardians of the Galaxy because, come on, it’s Guardians of the Galaxy!

Don’t let me forget, if any of you have any particular music you love to listen to while making art feel free to share, I love suggestions! Au revoir!