Saturday, March 13, 2010

Study Music

Pictured is my favorite spot in Alden Library, where I'm currently sitting, attempting to cram as much communication law information into my brain before Monday afternoon. That's right, everyone: it's exam week.

In attempting to come up with an idea for a music-related post while having been buried in books the past couple of days, it struck me--"Hey, I listen to music when I study! So do other people! I can blog about it!"

In my last post, I talked all about mix-making (and let me tell you, working on a mix CD is a terrific way to procrastinate), and I've attempted to make "study mixes" before, but they never work out all too well. Probably because I like to make mixes with a bunch of loud and attention-grabbing tracks, not so conducive to memorizing a bunch of case law (or whatever it is you're studying). I find that specific albums are the way to go for studying--usually weird ambient or electronic music that you can tune out if necessary, but enjoyable to have playing. Lord knows you don't need any more distractions, nevermind that you've been logged into Facebook for the past hour. So here, without any further hesitation, are some of my go-to albums for hours spent in Alden:

Boards of Canada, Music Has the Right To Children

If you're looking to immerse yourself in a mess of eerie vocal samples, vaguely hip-hop drum beats, and otherworldly keyboard noises, then look no further than the first album from Scottish two-piece Boards of Canada (yes, Scottish. Surprise!). I'd recommend holing up somewhere among the eerie stacks on the 6th and 7th floors of Alden for this one, providing you've got the stomach for the at times unsettling nature of this album. But, you're supposed to be studying, so maybe you shouldn't be that focused on atmosphere...

Stars of the Lid, and Their Refinement of the Decline

Here's another duo, specializing in drone-based ambient music. Exciting, right? The band's name refers to, as quoted in an interview by member Brian McBride, as "your own personal cinema, located between your eye and eyelid." Sounds spot-on to me. It's perfect stuff to have on in the background, with swells of orchestral and electronic textures rising and falling over the course of this 2-hour double album (I'm going to be studying for a while). They're not without a sense of humor, though--among their song titles are gems like "Dungtitled (In A Major)" and "December Hunting for Vegetarian Fuckface." I don't know what the last one means, either.

Unwound, Leaves Turn Inside You

A bit different than the last two listed, Unwound is more a traditional rock band; they sing and use guitars and drums and things like that. Still, their brand of music-making on this, their final album, is a hazy sort of psychedelia that you can really get lost in if you're not careful (be careful.) I can specifically remember memorizing French vocabulary words to the tune of "Terminus" more than a few times last year.

Pantha du Prince, Black Noise

This album is sort of like aural caffeine--it's ticking rhythms and pulsing sound swells is enough to keep your heartbeat up and concentration level high (hopefully.) I've only tested this one on the studying battleground a few times since this winter when it was released (his first album, This Bliss, is phenomenal as well), but it's got "future study-music classic" written all over it.

Earth, The Bees Made Honey In the Lion's Skull

Earth specialize in a kind of slow-moving, scorched-earth guitar rock. There are no vocals to be found here, rather impeccably slow-moving rhythms dressed up with band-leader Dylan Carlson's dense guitar work. This album in particular has got an epic, cinematic quality to it; you're studying and it will feel goddamn important if you've got this playing. It's also a pretty good soundtrack for a hangover, so if your Saturday evening festivities don't particularly care what you've got going on Sunday afternoon, this album serves a double purpose.

So, there you have it. Now stop reading my blog and hit the books.


No comments:

Post a Comment