Music that makes you lose yourself of get in the zone.
January 30, 2007 7:03 PM   Subscribe

Recently discovered Explosions in the Sky, The music fades away in the background after awhile and I can concentrate on doing work. Anybody else have artists that are simillar or music that helps you get your work done and gets you in that zone. I do not want classical music, sleepy instrumental music and not drum&bass..please.
posted by radsqd to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (38 answers total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure I'd say any of these bands get me 'in the zone' but they are similar enough to Explosions in the Sky that I think you might enjoy them as well: This Will Destroy You, The Album Leaf, Saxon Shore, Caspian, The Lymbyc Systym, Red Sparowes, Isis, Pelican, and Tides. Maybe even Tulsa Drone.
posted by Venadium at 7:25 PM on January 30, 2007

Godspeed You Black Emperor are the first band I think of when I think of Explosions in the Sky.
posted by dobbs at 7:28 PM on January 30, 2007

Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra shares members with Godspeed and is most delicious.

You might also try Mogwai or Shalabi Effect. It's sort of different, but you might also enjoy Sigur Ros, Amon Tobin,

The genre you're looking for is, in general, prog (for progressive) rock.
posted by heresiarch at 7:35 PM on January 30, 2007

Tim Hecker, Oval, Low.

Also, I'm not sure I agree that the music you're looking for is prog rock. It's probably more along the lines of Eno/Satie's description of music as furniture, like ambient and drone music.
posted by subtle-t at 7:42 PM on January 30, 2007

Spiritualized have that kind of "Zone Out" effect on me. Especially "Pure Phase" And "Lazer Guided Melodies".

I'd link you them, but my work filter prevents me...
posted by gergtreble at 7:44 PM on January 30, 2007

These are the artists on my "study" playlist:

Jose Gonzales
Sophie Barker
Sufjan Stevens
Telefon Tel Aviv
Zero 7
posted by awesomebrad at 7:53 PM on January 30, 2007

I'd say.. Do Make Say Think. Their self-titled album as well as Goodbye Enemy Airship the Landlord Is Dead fit this perfectly.
posted by tmcw at 7:57 PM on January 30, 2007

For my last two years of college, I listened to Iron & Wine and Sufjan Stevens during the writing of all of my papers. Sufjan's got a few peppier songs that might need to be weeded out, but on the whole, they're both extremely non-intrusive, but interesting enough to not put you to sleep.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 7:58 PM on January 30, 2007

The genre you're looking for is post-rock. Major purveyors include:

Explosions in the Sky
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Do Make Say Think
Sigur Rós
The Clogs

and more found here (though I'd quibble with some of the inclusions) and here.

I'd also say:

Red Sparowes
Pelican (harder, but beautiful)
Tim Hecker
Turing Machine
posted by The Michael The at 8:05 PM on January 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

If you can handle the heavier end of this spectrum try Cult of Luna, Rosetta and the new Minsk album coming up called the Ritual Fires of Abandonment.
posted by The Straightener at 8:20 PM on January 30, 2007

sarahsynonymous: ...especially Sufjan's mostly/completely instrumental work (Out Of Egypt and The Devil's Territory on Illinois, Inaugural Pop Music for Margaret Jayne Byrne and Carlyle Lake on The Avalanche).

Laval and Fractal Pattern (not super-easy to find, but really good if you like the experimental jazz side of Do Make Say Think), and Neu!. Apocalyptica, if you like harder stuff too.

If you're looking for anything of post-rock, listen to some of the typical minimalist stuff -- Steve Reich and Philip Glass are good places to start. Very repetitive, yes, but in an perfect-for-doing-work-energizing rather than sleepy way, at least for myself.
posted by thisjax at 8:55 PM on January 30, 2007

This is so timely for me, as I just came across EITS as well, and have been curious about other similar acts.

I'm wondering, radsqd, did you by chance discover Explosions in the Sky from the latest All Songs Considered podcast from NPR?

It's where I did.

As for further suggestions, might bands like Low or Mazzy Star (according to Wikipedia their "dream pop") fit the bill? Not sure.
posted by mrhaydel at 8:55 PM on January 30, 2007

gertreble says: Spiritualized have that kind of "Zone Out" effect on me. Especially "Pure Phase" And "Lazer Guided Melodies".

With absolutely no bias whatsoever, I have to second this suggestion.

Also, Do Make Say Think
posted by purephase at 9:04 PM on January 30, 2007

Maybe even Tulsa Drone.

I love it when people mention these guys. Brilliant group. I was at their first show. :D

Other artists that come to mind, other than the Drone:

Big Lazy
Boards of Canada
Blue States
posted by secret about box at 9:06 PM on January 30, 2007

To throw out a few names I haven't yet heard mentioned: L'Altra, Bark Psychosis, Piano Magic, and David Sylvian.
posted by kindall at 9:25 PM on January 30, 2007

Lots of good suggestions here. Definitely 2nding Mono, Do Make Say Think and Sigur Ros.

The new record is amazing, by the way.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:25 PM on January 30, 2007

I used to rely on this type of music a lot when drafting or inking in my architecture studio classes. Nth-ing Sigur Ros (I like their two newer albums better for this), and in a different genre the previously suggested Iron and Wine would probably be good to use for this. Air and The Album Leaf are good suggestions also. I found that Radiohead (Kid A and Amnesiac) suited my purposes very well.

What's really good, not to discount the proponents of post-rock, is something where pretty much every song sounds the same after a while and neither music nor vocals have much dynamic or sonic variance. Since my tastes leaned fairly indie, early Death Cab for Cutie albums (actually pretty much anything pre-Plans), Belle and Sebastian, Interpol, Mountain Goats, Joy Division, and Broken Social Scene (esp. You Forgot It In People) worked well for me.

You can find mp3s from most of these artists on Sonic X, Hype Machine, or, but usually listening to full albums best maximizes the zone-out effect.
posted by kyleg at 9:50 PM on January 30, 2007

A new band that really fits this description is the Philippians. You also might look into some of Radiohead's work (especially Kid A) and Thom Yorke's solo album The Eraser.
posted by JPowers at 9:50 PM on January 30, 2007

Stars of the Lid
posted by Falconetti at 9:56 PM on January 30, 2007

What you don't like DnB??! Okay, well try these out then.

Pig Destroyer
Brutal Truth
Napalm Death
Cattle Decapitation
Extreme Noise Terror
posted by j-urb at 10:16 PM on January 30, 2007

The post-rock label is right on, but be aware that it tends to be a pretty inclusive label. For more of this EITS flavour of post-rock that entails pretty noodling combined with dramatic build-ups and extended periods of more frantic activity, definitely look towards those bands suggested by The Michael The: Mogwai, Tortoise and Godspeed You! Black Emperor share very similar aesthetics. To this list, I'd also add Fridge, Decoder Ring and Ukiyo-E (the latter two being Australian -- maybe harder to come by?). And yeah, I too find that these cycles of gentle build-ups to extended driving rhythms are wonderful for getting you into the zone.
posted by bunyip at 10:19 PM on January 30, 2007

additionally: Stars of the Lid and Labradford
posted by judith at 11:22 PM on January 30, 2007

DNTEL, Filla Brazillia and add another vote to Do Make Say Think and Boards of Canada. Final Fantasy (Owen Pallett) and Broken Social Scene (most of the time..) are also on my study playlist, but not as much, as these artists have lyrics and I study slightly better to instrumental music.
posted by rux at 11:49 PM on January 30, 2007

I listen to the same types of music, and I think The Michael The hit it right on the head. If you get the chance to see Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai live, I would definitely recommend them. They each bring an incredible intensity to each show.

Lately I've been relying on lists compiled by The Silent Ballet, a website devoted to the genre. They put out an annual list of 50 (!) top instrumental albums each year from around the world. There is a fairly wide variety of styles represented, but they tend to fall into the post-rock/shoegazer instrumental class.

Here are the 3 years they have available:
The Top 50 Instrumental Albums of 2004
The Top 50 Instrumental Albums of 2005
The Top 50 Instrumental Albums of 2006
posted by toothless joe at 3:06 AM on January 31, 2007 [2 favorites]

Bardo Pond's Dilate qualifies.
posted by Ritchie at 3:40 AM on January 31, 2007

I completely assumed you were familiar with late period Neurosis but if you're not you might want to listen to everything after Times of Grace, especially the Jarboe collaboration. Also, Jesu completely slipped my mind; it's the most recent project by Justin Broaderick and is very shoe gazey but heavier most in that genre.
posted by The Straightener at 4:12 AM on January 31, 2007

Anything by Brother Jack McDuff is classic funk excellence... which is to say that it's great instrumental music that doesn't try and grab your attention, if that makes any sense. It's all about getting into the groove.
posted by ph00dz at 4:43 AM on January 31, 2007

Following up on toothless joe: Explosions in the Sky starts touring behind their new album in less than three weeks; assuming the OP's profile address is correct, here are the relevant shows:

2/19 Brooklyn: The Warsaw (sold out)
2/20 NYC: Society for Ethical Culture Concert Hall (sold out)
3/18 Philly: Starlight Ballroom (I'll be there, no question)
3/20 NYC: Webster Hall

Mogwai have no current tour plans, but they are amazing live; I've seen them three times, and not once have I been anything less than completely blown away. In lieu of that, do yourself a favor and download their set (there's a link that says "download the show" below the RA and WMA links) from this past May from NPR's All Songs Considered live at the 9:30 Club in D.C. (yeah, a full live set mp3. Thanks government funding!). I saw the show the night before or after in Philly, and this is as good as you can get without being there. And when you do go, bring earplugs.
posted by The Michael The at 4:46 AM on January 31, 2007

posted by DarkForest at 6:07 AM on January 31, 2007

There's a guy on Metafilter who has a blog devoted to post-rock. He'll probably be along to help out in a bit, and can recommend all sorts of stuff that you'll probably like.
On the other hand, I'm going to take a moment to steer you toward better music. Post-rock tends toward the boring (at least to me— too much shimmering and confusing dynamic shifts for being interesting), but many of its best characteristics come from Krautrock. Fine Krautrock includes Can, Triumverat, some Gong (watch out for the Radio Gnomes, as they can get a little twee), Amon Duul II, and Magma. You can also scoot around on AMG or Last.FM to find more krautrock. But it tends to be driving, have minimal vocals, and be long. I think it's pretty sweet for working or driving.
Oh, and there's also the late '60s, early '70s jazz fusion stuff like Soft Machine, Weather Report and Miles Davis's Bitches Brew and In A Silent Way.
posted by klangklangston at 7:33 AM on January 31, 2007

Following up on toothless joe: Explosions in the Sky starts touring behind their new album in less than three weeks; assuming the OP's profile address is correct, here are the relevant shows:

Hell yes. Just bought my tickets for the March NYC show.

Now to con an awesome indie chick into going with me. Oh yeah. Party's over here.
posted by secret about box at 7:41 AM on January 31, 2007

Since Yorke's Eraserhead was mentioned, I'm gonna go ahead and suggest Johnny Greenwood's Body Song. Which is actually instrumental, and much better...

I also second Bardo Pond.
posted by stratastar at 7:44 AM on January 31, 2007

I get that work + zone effect you mention with Yo La Tengo, Chet, Matmos, Animal Collective, Dining Rooms, Notwist, Unicorns. (And yes, Sigur Ros.)
posted by bookley at 7:55 AM on January 31, 2007

If I had to classify EITS and similar acts ( Venadium seemed to hit a pretty good list in the first post) I'd have to call it "epic post-rock"

As far as music that helps me get work done, I'd have to go with any 70's miles davis. Live/Evil, Pangea, Jack Johnson, On The Corner, etc. But the epic post rock works well. Dub/Ambient metal stuff as well (justin broadrick stuff [godflesh, jesu]), scorn, etc.
posted by alikins at 9:53 AM on January 31, 2007

Since nobody's mentioned it yet, this is probably off-track. But I zone when I have The Postal Service on. I'm now getting into Mates of State and Emancipator.
posted by Alt F4 at 12:49 PM on January 31, 2007

Sigur Ros
Ulrich Schnauss
Gabriel and Dresden
dZihan And Kamien
Michael Hedges
Jose Gonzales
Boards of Canada
Explosions In The Sky
posted by DudeAsInCool at 6:45 PM on January 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Solar Fields.
posted by aye at 12:53 AM on February 2, 2007

JPowers - loving the Philippians.
posted by Alt F4 at 11:39 AM on February 6, 2007

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