Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Music to watch the marks go by

I've been in the office for 13 hours now. I've been marking essays and listening to music but - unusually for me - I can't settle on any particular type.

Usually it's easy: minimalism or Classical: Reich, Adams, Glass, Beethoven, or even some Renaissance polyphony. But today, I'm too antsy - annoyed by bad and/or lazy work. I've tried St. Etienne, and Neil Young's on right now, and working quite nicely. I also played REM's Monster to wake me up and Tallulah Gosh to calm me down.

What do you suggest?


oldgirlatuni said...


Brandenburgs are good, the cantatas, or for pure beauty, the Cello suites.

Alternatively, I'm really liking Zdob di Zdub who are the Moldovan band from Eurovision at the weekend (try not to hold that against them - I think they're really cool). Gypsy punk - I'm loving it.

Blossom said...

I find it harder to talk about music than rabbits; strangely, music seems more personal. Have you come across Stuart Mitchell? He composed (I think it's called) The Seven Wonders Suite. It's a bit hit and miss but Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is (I think) beautiful. I'm no musical expert, but I love listening to it - it's calming, majestic, poignant and very impressive, especially when you consider that Mitchell was only 28 when he composed it.

If you want something more contemporary, then As If To Nothing by Craig Armstrong is interesting. Quite diverse tracks, some haunting, some strange (my ex hated it), some that need to be played extremely loudly to piss off the neighbours. The Space Between Us, by him is also good (again, purely subjective). Armstrong has composed for a number of films but he was one of the original members of Texas, I believe. Anyway, people do seem to either love him or hate him.

The Plashing Vole said...

The Cello Suites are my favourite pieces of music ever.

As to gypsy punk: Gogol Bordello - insane, especially live.

Blossom: I haven't heard of either of those - I'll check them out. Although Texas aren't a band I remember with any fondness!

Blossom said...

Trust me, his stuff is nothing like Texas- there's not even a Sharleen in sight. He's done a few collaborations (such as with Bono (not with anything sounding like U2) and Paul Buchanan from Blue Nile) but a lot of his stuff is orchestral and a bit different. (Just don't hold the Texas thing against him.)

The Plashing Vole said...

OK, Blue Nile I love… but U2? That bunch of blustering Dutch tax-evaders?

Blossom said...

It's not U2, just a quarter of them, albeit the gobbiest one. Avoid the Bono track then, or mark essays from people you don't like during that one.

I feel I may have affected Armstrong's chances of you listening to him now. Do, do try him.

Dan said...

When working I also usually listen to (minimal-ish) classical stuff - Morton Feldman, John Cage, etc.

Besides that I listen to electronic stuff like Autechre, Aphex Twin's more repetitive, ambient stuff, or even some straightforward, repetitive, minimal techno (e.g. Gez Varley, Robert Hood - not your sort of thing I know).

Surprisingly, when I'm really into a piece of work and enjoying it, I find that some bangin' drum and bass works well. I realise I'm probably alone in that one.

Dan said...

Oh, and I listen to Seefeel a lot too. You might like them.