Music to Work With:
We’ve all been here: sitting at our desk, glancing at the clock, pacing back-and-forth to and from the coffee machine, the bathroom, the window, wishing the day was at an end. But just because we don’t feel inspired to work doesn’t mean we get the day off. Work still piles up, meetings need to be prepared for, and presentations need to be completed. When that workday sluggishness hits you hard, don’t reach for yet another cup of coffee. Instead, put in your headphones and let these three songs guide you to productivity.
“Ether” by Mogwai:
Mogwai is an instrumental post-rock band whose music is both beautiful and inspiring. “Ether” is a melodious tune that starts off slow and builds up over the course of its 5-minute run time. What makes this song so special is the way that it slowly layers more and more instruments into the mix until, by the climax of the song, you’ve forgotten all about how tired you are and, without realizing it, have begun working in earnest. For best results, begin by listening carefully to the music, but keep your work open and in front of you. After the trumpets start in, get to work. By the time the song is over, you’ll be in the flow-state of productivity.
“Flight From the City” by Jóhann Jóhannsson:
Jóhannsson was best known for his work on soundtracks for movies such as “Arrival” and “Blade Runner: 2049.” But his most recent solo album, Orphée, is a beautiful, melodious, complex ode to urban life. His songs don’t include lyrics in the traditional sense, and “Flight From the City” is no exception. A single, soulful piano plays with such verve and gravitas that it completely sucks you in. Listen to this one if you’re feeling perpetually distracted by outside thoughts, because it helps you to focus and forget about your other woes. As the piano sonorously trundles forth, as if literally leaving a city by foot, you’ll leave all of your stressors behind and be ready to charge forth into the muck of work.
“Doin Ya Thang” by Oliver Dollar:
In a totally different vein, “Doin Ya Thang” is a classic Chicago deep-house track. If what you really need is to get into the groove to complete hours upon hours of repetitive work, then Oliver Dollar can help. The repetitive beat is balanced out by amusing, talk-y lyrics that can easily be ignored or, if you’re feeling in the mood, listened to with the kind of fugue state half-ear that repetitive work lends itself to. Find yourself bopping your head along with the beat and, as the talking lyrics flow forth, grinning from ear to ear.
Joshua Gruss is the Chairman, CEO and founder of Round Hill Music.