Music to work by
January 18, 2020 1:38 PM   Subscribe

I need recommendations for more electronic/symphonic music that I can listen to while I work.

I prefer music without lyrics because those tend to distract me. I dont really know how to describe exactly what works best for me, but here are some things Ive really been enjoying: Moderat, Ben Prunty, Audio Machine, Tony Anderson, Johann Johannsson, Kiasmos, Jean Michel Jarre. Movie and game soundtracks are great. Im looking for composers with a little complexity and not depressing or for sleep or meditation. Max Richter is terrible for example, too repetitive and droning. I prefer if I can listen to them streaming on Amazon Unlimited.
posted by Illusory contour to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Video game music. Just find a playlist and go. It’s literally music meant to keep you engaged and focused at the task at hand.
posted by po822000 at 1:51 PM on January 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Flow State is a newsletter that recommends a different artist for working to every week day. You can find a lot of great suggestions in their archive.
posted by tofu_crouton at 1:55 PM on January 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

I love Brian Eno's Thursday Afternoon.
posted by kimdog at 1:56 PM on January 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

I found Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Cinematic Orchestra through a previous AskMe question - I listen to them both a lot when I'm working.
posted by chbrooks at 2:26 PM on January 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Possibly a little too bumpin', but maybe It Came from the 80's... Vol.2 - A Retro Darkwave Horror Synth Special, and there are a bunch of cool mixes by the same youtuber and they're also on soundcloud.
posted by smcameron at 2:37 PM on January 18, 2020

Best answer: Robag Wruhme 1 2 3
Jon Hopkins 1 2 3 4
Pachanga Boys 1
Flako 1
Kuniyuki Takahashi 1 2 3
Djrum 1 2
Nils Frahm 1 2 3
Objekt 1 2
Call Super 1
Skee Mask 1 2
E Ruscha V 1 2 3
DJ Koze 1 2 3 4
Anton Kubikov 1 2
Daniel Avery 1 2 3
Cluster 1 2
Lord of the Isles 1
posted by ageispolis at 2:52 PM on January 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure I am familiar enough with your examples to be sure of my recommendations, but just from a "electronic/symphonic" category, these are from my "work" playlist:

- Animus Vox (The Glitch Mob)
- Black Tears (from Guardians of the Galaxy original score)
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Piano Tribute Players)
- Falling Through a Cloud (Uttara-Kuru)
- Gaviotes (Hevia)
- 19 Axel F (Harold Faltermeyer)
- August's Rhapsody (August Rush)
- Main Theme from Star Trek (Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops)
- Soarin (from Disney World's "Four Parks, One World CD, Disc 2)
- Buckbeak's Flight (John Williams, from Harry Potter)
- The Four Seasons: Winter (arranged for Violincello, performed by Sol Gabetta)
posted by forthright at 3:08 PM on January 18, 2020

I'm an unsophisticated person with mundane tastes. I use Kraftwerk for this. But surely you've already considered that.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:24 PM on January 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

I use Indian ragas for this. I have a Pandora station for work that gives me ragas, Qawali, minimalist composers, and film and TV scores in the Clint Mansell/Ramin Djawadi spectrum.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:36 PM on January 18, 2020

Philip Glass - DancePieces hits the right level of repetition with variation as it's a theater piece for people to move to.
posted by sammyo at 4:58 PM on January 18, 2020

Ash Ra/Manuel Göttsching
Tangerine Dream
posted by porn in the woods at 5:07 PM on January 18, 2020

Do you know about musicForProgramming? Some playlists are better than others, but many are good.
posted by taltalim at 5:53 PM on January 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Cheerful alpine march and dance music might work for you. Definitely in a happy off-to-work-we-go vein.
posted by bertran at 7:24 PM on January 18, 2020

Try seeding a playlist on Pandora with a few things you like, and see where it takes you. I found a lot of good work music that way, and discovered a few great non-work artists as well.
posted by dws at 7:44 PM on January 18, 2020

Good suggestions above, I'll add Rival Consoles, Boards of Canada, Four Tet, Hidden Orchestra, and Bonobo
posted by JZig at 10:03 PM on January 18, 2020
posted by mezzanayne at 10:44 PM on January 18, 2020

Movie and game soundtracks are great. Im looking for composers with a little complexity

Shuffling Thomas Newman scores works for me, especially the ones for Lemony Snicket, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Victoria & Abdul, and WALL-E.
posted by kingless at 2:51 AM on January 19, 2020

Ludovico Einaudi
Explosions in the sky
posted by speakeasy at 8:34 AM on January 19, 2020

Best answer: I also love Tony Anderson, Johansson, and Kiasmos so we have at least some overlap. Try We Are All Astronauts. There is the odd bit of spoken word in one or two tracks, but we're talking a few seconds rather than lyrics per se. If you like Kiasmos, try Olafur Arnalds on his own (he's one half of Kiasmos).

I don't know if lyrics in other languages are intrusive for you in the same way as English ones (for me they are not); if you're ok with them, try Sigur Rós.

This may be too repetitive and droning for you, but for me Reich's Music for 18 musicians nails it. And finally, I know you said not Richter and I am going to be that annoying person who recommends Richter anyway, specifically Recomposed which is his take on Vivaldi's Four Seasons. I find it almost entirely unlike his other work.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:15 PM on January 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Trent Reznor’s soundtrack work is what I play a lot of.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:57 AM on January 20, 2020

My favorite Spotify playlists for this are Space Sounds, Lo-Fi Beats and Mellow Beats. They are mostly without lyrics, although there may be a few outliers. All three lists have a lot of great options—it might be worth checking through to see what is available on Amazon Unlimited as well.
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:56 AM on January 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh, I forgot - Tycho is also great for this kind of thing. I keep going back to Awake and Dive but he has several others too.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:15 PM on January 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

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