For years now, particularly while completing my PhD thesis, I’ve been searching out the best music to study to. Something I can put on, often with headphones in a public place, that will not only block out the sound of the city, but also any extraneous thoughts that are stopping me from doing the task at hand.
Albums from Loscil, Stars of the Lid, William Basinski, Marsen Jules, Brian Eno, and Jim O’Rourke have been part of my staple diet of music to study to for years. But even these albums have moments that pull my attention, and I end up listening instead of reading or writing.
Most recently, I came across Japanese artist Chihei Hatakeyama, who seems to release more solo and collaborative albums than I have time to study to.
As soon as I hit play on any of his releases my brain feels massaged and ready to retain and categorise any information required. I can listen to any of his albums over and over again in one sitting, on loop, and never feel like I lose my flow.
Still haven’t finished my PhD thesis though…