Music suggestions for the daily commute?
August 29, 2006 4:39 AM   Subscribe

MetroFilter: I need some new music to help me get through being packed in like a sardine on the Metro for 60 minutes a day, because the 20 gigs of music already in my pocket just isn't doing it for me. The more it helps me "zone out" the better. My tastes lean towards electronic music, but I'm completely open to all genres. Any suggestions?
posted by DefendBrooklyn to Media & Arts (47 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
There's Radiohead, but you probably already knew that.

I happen to like the couple Ministry of Sound Chillout Sessions (02 and 03) I have, and I'd also recommend Shawn Smith. The downloads section of his site isn't the best, but the stuff he did with Brad and Satchel are great. Satchel's The Family album is a nice easygoing, piano-driven kinda thing. He's quite influenced by Prince (not a bad thing) and is a great singer. The only difference between Brad and Satchel, btw, is that Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) is in Brad. If you like one you'll like the other.
posted by Atom12 at 4:57 AM on August 29, 2006

Try any of the "Back to Mine" series.
I recommend the Groove Armada one!
posted by bhell13 at 4:58 AM on August 29, 2006

Hindu and Buddhist devotionals are good for zoning out or meditation. Persian folk is good, too. Foreign lyrics (assuming you don't speak the languages) are easier to tune out. I listen to these when writing or working on a problem.
posted by evil holiday magic at 5:06 AM on August 29, 2006

Boards Of Canada is pretty good, relaxing electronica.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:07 AM on August 29, 2006

I like the KLF chillout CD, but it's an episodic trip that you might want to catch a few times, rather than listen to often.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:18 AM on August 29, 2006

Have you tried audiobooks and podcasts? If you can find several you like with weekly content and set your ipod to auto-update when you dock it, you can keep some new, interesting content rotating through your iPod on a regular basis. I realize you're asking for music, but I'm thinking something else might serve as a break and make the existing music more bearable. It did on my daily bus commute (and I only have a 4gb mini..).
posted by Alterscape at 5:32 AM on August 29, 2006

I don't know if you're into trance at all, but there are semi-weekly, hours-long trance mixes at One of the DJs behind those mixes (Trance Tuesday) has his own periodic mix podcast called Trance Rotation. They're on iTunes so you can just subscribe there as well.
posted by armage at 5:44 AM on August 29, 2006

Try some of the Warp stuff at bleep. I can particularly recommend Selected Ambient Works II by Aphex Twin, Music for Adverts and Short Films by The Black Dog, Ginger by Speedy J, Dimension Intrusion by F.U.S.E. but there is loads of great stuff on there.
posted by jontyjago at 6:23 AM on August 29, 2006

Raga Darbari Kanada/Dhun in Raga Mishra Pilu by Hariprasad Chaurasia. classical

zone-out dreamy, haunting: Eigh Seasons, Mari Boine, from Norway

Mum, a band from Iceland. They played over the end of an Icelandic movie I saw at the International Film Festival in Chicago one year, dang, I wish I could remember the name of that movie.

zone-out groovy: Hooverphonic

both of these have zone-out moments, but also rev-up ones. I find that type of thing also good for commuting out-of-mind experiences:
Dead Can Dance -- surely you've heard of them and I don't have to provide a link because I'm tired of how long my browser takes to load on my old mac. Speaking of, Delerium -- that goth haunting type of genre.

Who's Your New Professor, Sam Prekop. Chicago "post-rock" groove kind of sound.
posted by bleary at 6:26 AM on August 29, 2006

Anytime something comes on from Kruder & Dorfmeister's K&D Sessions, I do not skip.
posted by mckenney at 6:34 AM on August 29, 2006

You're probably already familiar with it but just in case you're not, the ultimate chill out album has to be Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
posted by ChuckLeChuck at 6:42 AM on August 29, 2006

Caribou (formerly Manitoba) - perfect mass transit music, happy AND dreamy

Boards of Canada (second'd)

Four Tet - pretty dreamy lightish electronic / IDM

Radiohead (also second'd but just so easy to zone out to)

Micheal Blake and Blake Tartare - great loungy jazz that I've really enjoyed while on the bus.

Portishead - also great and zone-out-able, but try not to fall asleep :)

For something a little darker and less dreamy, I usually opt for Tool, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly or Haujobb.
posted by utsutsu at 6:50 AM on August 29, 2006

Moodorama does it for me.
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:55 AM on August 29, 2006

Seconding Aphex/Richard D. James/AFXII. The Killers are less anti-social, Lemongrass and Massive Attack are great too. Enter any one of these artists into Pandora, and see what they play.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 6:55 AM on August 29, 2006

Tunng [myspace] [mp3 direct link] [more mp3s]

Helios [myspace] [mp3]
posted by yeti at 7:07 AM on August 29, 2006

late cabaret voltaire--the stuff they did on the instinct label.
posted by lester at 7:08 AM on August 29, 2006

La IncreĆ­ble Aventura by Migala is a fantastic album, and great to go comotose to. I second Hooverphonic.

You could always listen to the Space Station or Groove Salad stations (or any of them, really) at Soma. I love discovering new music that way - their stuff is the best.
posted by iconomy at 7:24 AM on August 29, 2006

You sound like you want some Yo la Tengo.
posted by Sara Anne at 7:25 AM on August 29, 2006

Peter Gabriel:soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ.

Morcheeba: Who Can You Trust?

(seconding) Portishead: Live Roseland NYC. (live album with orchestra)

(seconding) Dead Can Dance: Into the Labyrinth or Toward the Within (live album)

(seconding) Delerium: Karma

A couple of these are live albums, which can be a bit irritating with the clapping, etc., but the music is just so damn good.
posted by witchstone at 7:36 AM on August 29, 2006

You could try some of my music, or any of the other great stuff, on MeFi music.
posted by csimpkins at 7:37 AM on August 29, 2006

Chicane, most specifically (if you can get it somehow) "far away from the maddening crowds"
posted by shepd at 7:53 AM on August 29, 2006

Oh yeah, duh, just remembered Brian Eno, Music for Airp^H^H^H^HCommuting
posted by bleary at 8:17 AM on August 29, 2006

You could go old school... Learn up on some of that there Prog Rock. ELP, Alan Parsons, early pink Floyd, early Genesis, King Crimson. Heck you'd probably like Peter Gabriel's first three solo albums, and by extension the soundtrack to Birdy, Last temptation (as mentioned above), and Rabbit Proof Fence.

Try also Holgar Czukay, and Robert Fripp's two solo albums
posted by Gungho at 8:37 AM on August 29, 2006

My favorite on the train is Coil.
Beware! Choose the right album!
I would highly recommend the Equinox and Solstice albums, as well as Musick To Play in the Dark Vol 1 & 2 for traintime brainventures.

I would not recommend Time Machines unless you are planted somewhere comfortable for several hours.
Also avoid Hellraiser Themes.
Do not listen to How To Destroy Angels.
It's phenomenal, but never listen to it (especially while driving)

Here is a discography.
posted by zerokey at 8:54 AM on August 29, 2006

awesome answers. I'm going to check some of this stuff out!
posted by DefendBrooklyn at 8:59 AM on August 29, 2006

For different, try some of the Nordic Roots compilations. Different, some of the stuff on them should appeal to you.

Also, you might try some Bach, Mozart, Barber or other classical music. Or even Gregorian Chant, or other kinds of church music (say, Maronite stuff from Soeur Marie Kayrouz).
posted by QIbHom at 9:11 AM on August 29, 2006

d/l this mix from Sami Koivikko.
posted by dydecker at 9:19 AM on August 29, 2006

or this one by Jeffrey Mac. If you like these, mail me. I have hundreds of other suggestions.
posted by dydecker at 9:23 AM on August 29, 2006

Seconding Hooverphonic. Blue Wonder Power Milk hits the sweet spot, I think.

You'll have to find some way of tracking these down (they're imports and may not even be available anymore), but I enjoy the Jazzflora and Jazzflora 2 compilations. Slick stuff that ranges from relatively straightforward jazz to more beat-heavy stuff.
posted by chrominance at 9:29 AM on August 29, 2006

definately, definately postal service and sufjan stevens. i don't know how electro stevens is in your opinion, but they both kick ass.
posted by alon at 9:56 AM on August 29, 2006

If you go for prog rock, then don't forget Tangerine Dream. If you go for Alan Parsons, check out his instrumental collections, that is, if you don't want lyrics.

backing away from prog rock, I can't beleive no one has recommended The Orb. cool song: Fluffy Little Clouds. it's on a 2 cd set. I recommend that one.
posted by bleary at 10:02 AM on August 29, 2006

Oh... and for chill-out, instrumental electronica, I'd also recommend:

dZihan & Kamien

If you want that synthetic electronica sound, maybe try:

Sigur Ros
posted by csimpkins at 10:11 AM on August 29, 2006

^^ Those are four different bands! Not two bands and their albums.
posted by csimpkins at 10:12 AM on August 29, 2006

Hard to find but: Volume All-Star
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:45 AM on August 29, 2006

If you want that synthetic electronica sound, maybe try:

Sigur Ros

Neither Sigur Ros or Mogwai make electronic music.
posted by dydecker at 11:20 AM on August 29, 2006

The Cinematic Orchestra's Everyday is phenomenal.

The first, and best Thievery Corporation album, Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi is a chillout classic.

Air's Moon Safari, ditto.

Zero 7's Simple Things, wonderful and a lot like Moon Safari, some say suspiciously so.

If you like the Eastern flavor, go to the source and check out Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, I recommend The Supreme Collection, Vol. 1.
posted by kosem at 12:32 PM on August 29, 2006

Broken Social Scene, Luna, and Spacemen 3, and Spiritulized are all lovely.
posted by dearest at 12:51 PM on August 29, 2006

Digital Witchcraft's mixsets are some of my favorites, though unfortunately there's only a few of them. Some of the slower Jason Dunne sets on the same site might be up your alley, too.
posted by kableh at 1:21 PM on August 29, 2006

Get the Paul Oakenfold essential mixes. BBC Radio 1 did an Essential Mix "World Tour" w/ Oakenfold in '99.. there's a set of I think 12 shows, each 2 hours, with him playing in various places around the world. My favorite, if you can find them, are him @ Ibiza, Cuba, & Shanghai. The Gatecrasher one isn't too bad either, but has some annoying parts.

Another suggestion would be the Requiem for a Dream Remixed soundtrack. Some great downbeat techno there.
posted by devilsbrigade at 1:34 PM on August 29, 2006

please stop with the trance. dj shadow, endtroducing - you will think it is the soundtrack to your commute, put it on when you leave work and roll with it.
posted by fumbducker at 1:40 PM on August 29, 2006

Tosca is my favorite downtempoish electronica for the bus. All the albums are good but Delhi 9 is my personal favorite.
posted by Orrorin at 2:07 PM on August 29, 2006

For Eno, try Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. It'll take you from the Metro to outer space in no time flat. And it's more of a piece than Music for Airports/Commuting (nice!), though that's a good'un, too. My Life in the Bush of Ghosts is stranger, more uptempo, but still worthy.

If you don't already have Orbital's In Sides, you probably should. Also: the soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi meets your specs and would be quite fitting in the setting you describe...
posted by Vervain at 2:54 PM on August 29, 2006

Paul van Dyk. I like Out There and Back when I'm writing long reports, and need to tune everything else out.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:15 PM on August 29, 2006

I'm seconding audiobooks. Audiobooks left me much more relaxed and alert at the end of my 1-1/2 hour commute than listening to music, regardless of genre.

Start with some of the best ones out there, and you'll see what we mean. Check out this previous thread
posted by Brando_T. at 8:07 AM on August 30, 2006

I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'zoning out'. If you mean something hypnotic, I can't help you, but if you mean something that can take the whole of your attention, I'd recommend some proggy/adventurous albums with longs songs and less vocals. Short songs tend to make time pass slower because you get jolted from your reverie at the end of each one. Therefore:

Frances The Mute by The Mars Volta. Swirling, slightly psychedelic album that takes you on a great journey. Basically Latin influenced prog rock with great melodies.

Discography by Maximillian Colby. Post hardcore. Definitely harsh and abrasive, but repetitive and grooving enough to suck you in, and enough interest in the riffs to keep you engaged.

Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen. Or any other album that you used to listen to a lot but haven't heard in years. Reminiscing is a good past-time and the music will help you do it.
posted by pollystark at 8:59 AM on August 30, 2006

Ditto "Back To Mine" series. Particularly Lamb and Morcheeba. Also ditto Morcheeba's Who Can You Trust. And Royksopp's The Understanding. Also the Verve Remixed CD's are excellent.
posted by radioamy at 9:21 AM on August 30, 2006

I'll second Massive Attack, Portishead, Morcheeba, and Thievery Corporation. If you go with Massive Attack, make sure you pick up Mezzanine; it's their best album by far, though all their stuff is good. Dummy is my favorite Portishead CD, and I like The Richest Man in Babylon from Thiever Corporation. My favorite Morcheeba release was The Big Calm; I had trouble getting into 'Who Can You Trust'. You could just kill two birds with one stone and pick up their 'best of' album, Parts of the Process. You might also check out Maxinquaye by Tricky, which I haven't seen mentioned yet.

posted by HighTechUnderpants at 11:17 AM on August 30, 2006

« Older Day in Osaka   |   Willy Wonka dance tune Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.