Great tunes to code to?
February 19, 2013 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Hello, I'm trying to get a playlist for my hubbie for him to code to - ideally electronica, drum and bass, EDM or even modern classical like Arvo Part. Only caveat is that there must be no lyrics - I'd love to hear your favourite picks! I've got a bunch up already at blip for him - he listens to my radio station there - user name - emilybear - to give you an idea of what I've got there currently but I need more, so much more as there's a whole lot of coding to be done. Thanks!
posted by ebear to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
musicForProgramming(); is good and so is the theta states.
posted by aeighty at 9:14 AM on February 19, 2013

Aphex Twin
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 9:16 AM on February 19, 2013

Palm Fabric Orchestra
posted by 1367 at 9:18 AM on February 19, 2013

You might like Philip Glass.
posted by bunderful at 9:28 AM on February 19, 2013

Best answer: Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians does wonders for me (not in programming, but just grinding away at the computer working), and I'd think that some of his other long-form compositions might work as well. I'm thinking Drumming, but maybe skipping the first part.

It's similar to Music for 18 Musicians in some ways, but "Ho Renomo" by Cluster and Eno (this is the artist name and the album title - a collaboration between Brian Eno and a couple German guys) works as well. The rest of the album is good and doesn't have vocals, but isn't quite as hypnotic as that first track. Some other Brian Eno ambient-type stuff might work, even track selections off Another Green World or Before and After Science, but those albums also include some vocal stuff, so you'll have to pick out individual tracks.

Most Godspeed You! Black Emperor stuff has found sounds and recorded speech in it, but Yanqui U.X.O. is all instrumental and works for me as well. They're generally rock instrumentation plus some classical string instruments and the odd percussion bit like glockenspiel.

It might be a stretch taste-wise, but Glenn Branca has a bunch of "symphonies" that mostly consist of an army of guitars. I'd avoid #2.
posted by LionIndex at 9:31 AM on February 19, 2013

Relevant and recent.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:33 AM on February 19, 2013

Oval's 94 Diskont record (esp. the first track "Do While") brings me to that same hyper-focused state as Music for 18 Musicians does.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:38 AM on February 19, 2013

My programmer husband loves Amon Tobin and Zoe Keating.
posted by telophase at 9:38 AM on February 19, 2013

Best answer: My go-to at-work artist is Tycho. On a given day, I might loop the "Dive" record six or seven times.
posted by jbickers at 10:16 AM on February 19, 2013

I'm a big fan of Goa/Psychedelic Trance for coding. No lyrics (except the occasional ethereal vocal sample, but that hardly counts), a steady, driving beat, and repetitive, slowly evolving melodies make it perfect for me. For years and years and years, the internet streaming radio station Philosomatika was the best place for the ideal music for coding, but they disappeared a couple years ago. Digitally-Imported Radio ( has a Goa/Psytrance station, though the stream quality is lower than Philosomatika and the music selection isn't nearly as consistent.

Sometimes, I'll just search for a Psytrance compilation on Spotify, like this one, and throw it on, and I'll take the tracks I especially like and throw them on a Spotify playlist.

Christopher Lawrence has been going more and more in a Psytrance direction over the last few years, and his album Pharmacy, Phase 1 as well as his collaborations with John 00 Fleming, like Global Trance Grooves, are consistently high quality and well mixed.
posted by smoq at 10:44 AM on February 19, 2013

Best answer: Boards of Canada, definitely.

There are a couple of Boards of Canada soundalikes I like, and some I don't (like Tycho!). Ciaran Byrne is pretty good, although his stuff is kinda hard to find. I also like Self-Destruct by Airliner.

And one last recommendation: Tides by Arovane.
posted by O9scar at 10:51 AM on February 19, 2013

I like the Tron Legacy soundtrack.
Trent Reznor's "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "Social Network" soundtrack.
Explosions in the Sky
posted by backwards guitar at 10:51 AM on February 19, 2013

Anything from Groove Salad (it's available via the "Radio" section of iTunes).
posted by Wild_Eep at 11:34 AM on February 19, 2013

Best answer: Ulrich Schnauss is very good. I think of him more as driving music than coding music, but it'd work either way. Boards of Canada are excellent, and here's a whole thread full of similar sounding artists. Fuck Buttons do a very good wall-of-noise kind of thing that's a fine electronic counterpart to Mogwai, who don't precisely match your description but might work well anyway. But now you need something lighter and a little more ear-candy, so try some Bonobo.
posted by echo target at 11:40 AM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's some examples of music you might like, released in the last couple of years. I tried to give a good slice across various genres, so poke around and see if something appeals to you:

Actress: Example #1; Example #2

Objekt: Example #1; Example #2

Oneohtrix Point Never: Example #1; Example #2

Pachanga Boys: Example #1 (there's some scattered vocal samples, but this is like the most epic coding track ever)

Shackleton: Example #1; Example #2

Todd Terje: Example #1; Example #2; Example #3

Lone: Example #1; Example #2

Clark: Example #1

CID RIM: Example #1; Example #2

Submerse: Example #1

Siriusmo: Example #1

Andy Stott: Example #1

The Field: Example #1; Example #2; Example #3

Synkro: Example #1

Two Fingers: Example #1

DJ Koze: Example #1; Example #2

Flying Lotus: Example #1; Example #2

James Ferraro: Example #1

Mala: Example #1; Example #2

Four Tet: Example #1; Example #2

Ital Tek: Example #1; Example #2

Mosca: Example #1

Burial: Example #1; Example #2
posted by ageispolis at 1:21 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Great examples given so far
The recent/relevant thread should be very helpful
Basic Channel "Quadrant Dub" and etc should work out

posted by J0 at 1:31 PM on February 19, 2013

Vince Watson
LTJ Bukem
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 4:45 PM on February 19, 2013

posted by oceanjesse at 5:43 PM on February 19, 2013

The first few tracks of Orbus Terrarum by The Orb:



Oxbow Lakes

Boards of Canada, Dayvan Cowboy

Four Tet, Everything is Alright
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:01 PM on February 19, 2013

My coding playlist mostly includes:

You Bred Raptors?
Zoe Keating
Mediaeval Baebes
Ana Tijoux
E.S. Posthumus
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Dead Can Dance

(Some have lyrics, but they're mostly not in English so they don't really catch my attention.)
posted by 168 at 8:49 PM on February 19, 2013

You might like Philip Glass.

Go find the Agua de Amazonias album on grooveshark.
posted by victory_laser at 2:22 AM on February 20, 2013

Best answer: Apologies for linking a blog rather than specific artists, but the following has what I've found to be cast iron recs for exactly the mix of styles you're looking for, plus some other genres that may appeal such as psy / goa, ambient, dub techno, IDM and various combinations thereof: I am not a Music Journalist

I've found some exceptionally good music through this site recently; it probably accounts for 50% of my work music over the past month or so.
posted by protorp at 4:11 AM on February 20, 2013

Response by poster: There are some some awesome ideas here thanks! I always love these recommendation asks as it always brings up new ideas and sounds to enjoy.
posted by ebear at 7:43 AM on February 20, 2013

Best answer: I have a playlist on spotify specifically designed for this!

But if I could make one recommendation, it would be everything by Nils Frahm. The man is a genius - did I think a 20-minute-long piano piece could have me rapt like a child with its first toy? No I did not, prior to Nils wafting gorgeously into my ears.
posted by greenish at 9:28 AM on February 20, 2013

Best answer: My go-to album for programming for the past few years has been Riceboy Sleeps by Jonsi and Alex. You can listen to the whole album here. It took me a while to like it at first, then I started to wake up at the end of the album after an hour of intense focus.

I can't work listening to music with vocals, except if I can't understand what they're saying or it's a chant. So I like to listen to things like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's album Shahen-Shah or to Zanzibara Vol 1.

The other classic that no one's mentioned is Brian Eno's Music For Airports.

And as a last few:
Ass by Ass
Lush Rush by Midori Hirano
Madar by Garbarek Brahem Hussain
Afterglow by Akira Kosemura & Haruka Nakamura.
posted by nevan at 12:08 PM on February 20, 2013

Zircon, skip the first and last songs on their album. Deadmau5. The Daft Punk TRON soundtrack.
posted by RogueTech at 7:22 PM on February 20, 2013

Nevan beat me to it, I listen to a lot of brian eno, any of the 4 in his ambient series, especially
music for airports,

some favorites:
aphex twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92
aphex twin - Selected Ambient Works, vol. 2
FSOL (future sound of london) - lifeforms
bt - this binary universe
global communication - 76:14
tim hecker - any album (more DRONE)
steve reich
mark McGuire
Board of canada
the field
steve roach

For more modern classical, Balmorhea.
posted by fizzix at 10:56 AM on February 21, 2013

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