My sleep schedule is and has always been a bit scattered. I am not one of those people who, by the coaxing of a natural internal clock, wakes up every day at 6 am with bright eyes and clear mind. No, my body will sleep until noon if allowed and later I will be guzzling sugar-free Red Bull at 3 am to continue my study groove. Is this healthy? Never said it was. But since I have been perpetually a student it is easy for me to continue with these habits and watch my face ashen from too much caffeine and not enough sunlight.
Other than copious amounts of coffee and energy drinks, the other essential ingredient to productivity is a great soundtrack. I love great music and insist on having appropriate music for the specific occasion, which means that my iTunes playlists are highly organized with customized collections. I have a “Happy” playlist, a “I Feel Shitty” playlist, a “Relaxing Favourites” playlist, and even a collection called “Fun” when I feel like inserting some ridiculous gansta rap (Notorious B.I.G. anyone?) or the energy of Daft Punk into my day. But the playlist on continuous rotation is my mix for studying purposes, which are mainly instrumental tracks plucked from various artists and genres.
I perused these tracks and thought I would share some goodies, some which are oldies but remain classics in my music library. There are so many artists and tracks that I want to share, so I am organizing the tracks by genre and into four separate posts. For this post, I will go over five of my favourite Electronic musicians and songs that are in rotation for my study music soundtrack.
Caribou, formerly known as Manitoba, is a British-based, Canadian musician whose work is usually light, upbeat, and is self-described as “liquid dance music.” The track above, Sun, is from his 2010 effort called Swim. Swim is the follow-up to his 2008 Canadian Polaris Music Prize award-winning album, Andorra. Keep in mind that, in addition to being an award-winning and prolific musician — over an eleven year span, Caribou has issued six albums — Caribou also has a PhD in mathematics. Listening to Caribou smacks me into productivity and promptly cuts any whining that I might have pondered.
Montréal-based musician, Maxime Morin, otherwise known as Champion, fuses rock and electronic tunes into fun or chilled out tracks. The track above, Plastiques et Métaux, is one of his more subdued songs with a ticking beat to help you pump through your tasks. Morin also recently fought lymphoma but, if you have ever seen him in concert, he has the widest smile and bops around like a high jumper. Definitely no whining after listening to Champion.
GIL SCOTT-HERON AND JAMIE XX
This track, NY is Killing Me, is a remix from the late Gil Scott-Heron’s last effort, I’m New Here. Jamie xx, the production brains behind the London musicians, The xx, produced a post-humorous collaborative effort of the rap pioneer’s final album, and the result brings auditory flashes of New York street and grime. The tracks also have Orwellian kind of feel — a futuristic armageddon — and shades of the labouring working class. So get sucked (trapped?) into the flow and work away.
Like Jamie xx, Four Tet is a London-based musician who also hails from the same school in the city. Both Four Tet and Jamie xx’s aesthetic is melancholic and brooding, but Four Tet’s deep bass and dark grooves are great when you want to lose track of time and day and plug at your work. I selected the track for Four Tet’s work with Burial (small world — also from the same London school) because, not only is Moth a great track, but the music video imagery is beautiful and captivating.
When I first started listening to Gold Panda, I thought, This guy sure makes bright, lite, and almost wholesome, music. This is clearly evident in the video above for Quitters Raga starring carefree teenagers, sunny weather, and a beat up car. But I looked at his track listing for his 2010 album Lucky Shiner which includes songs such as Marriage, Before We Talked, and I’m With You But I’m Lonely. Well this proves that Gold Panda is great at bringing positivity. And this kind of music is great for the work day and brings a pop to tired ears.
Next Things That Go Bump in the Night post: Alternative music tracks.