Best background music to listen to at work

There are time when I don’t want any distractions at all and for those times nothing can beat silence, but in recent times there has been a lot of building work going on outside my windows so on occasions where the axel grinder is grinding my nerves as well as the concrete I like to block as much out as possible with music that helps me stay focused.

The music I work to can vary depending on the task I am undertaking. The more technical the task the more I veer towards some for of minimal electronic music and when it’s more design focused I lean towards a funkier feel.

When engaging the left side of the brain (supposedly the logic side) I prefer beat oriented music as opposed to vocal based music as this puts me into a more computational mind frame. In the same way that Buddhist chanting can put people into a meditative state, the repetitive nature of electronic music puts me into a focused machine like state.

Some albums work but the album form is generally to short in length to work to. I’ve tried them in the past and find I spend too much time having to flick between albums or I end up putting them on a loop and get bored of hearing the same songs over and over again.

Playlists of songs can be fun to make up though I do find this to be somewhat time consuming and distracting.

The perfect alternative to albums and playlists are podcasts. Find one that has music you can listen whilst programming or coding then you can in theory listen to music uninterrupted all day.

In no particular order, these are some of my favourite podcasts to listen to:

SolidSteel Logo

Solid Steel Podcast

Recent favourites are ‘Tony Allen’ and ‘Metronomy’.

This is released monthly and comprises of tracks with fantastic beats, playing across a wide spectrum of musical genres. I mainly listen these when undertaking design tasks as sometimes they include a lot of vocal tracks.

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Resident Advisor Podcast

Recent favourites are ‘Neel’ and ‘Anastasia Kristensen’.

This is released weekly and they feature a mix of electronic music from musicians and DJs. I like to listen to these podcasts when I am coding because it is more house based.

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Boiler Rooms Sessions (available on youtube)

This is a collection of underground music with a wide variety of styles ranging from hip hop to dubstep. This makes it a great place to look at for music for a multitude of tasks.

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Low End Theory

Recent favourit Nobody and Tsuruda.

High quality and quite an eclectic mix of Hip Hop, Techno, Soul, funk, and much more.

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ShopTalk Show

OK so this one isn’t music. Sometimes if I’m doing more creative work then I can listen to people talk as well as work and on some occasions I like to listen to the ShopTalk Show, which is a fun show about all things internet, web development and web design.