Brian Eno & Steve Reich : Music to listen to while writing

When you write, you have to focus.

If you are one of these young people, you have to listen to the music you love, you put TV on, you check your phone and your Facebook Instagram Twitter whatever accounts, you open the window to hear the cars passing by and you Skype your best friend while you work on your exams. Perfect multitask.

I do not own this kind of brain. I really have to focus!

If you write, sometimes you need music, but music is too much. Music is CALLING you. It goes :

“Hey! Listen! I’m interesting! There’s a change here! Listen to meee!”

But no music and closed window, it’s silence. Sometimes, it’s too much. It’s a no.

I thought about this a lot. When I have to work, I ban singers, because, errr, they sing. Pfff. They talk to you, right? They talk about problems, mainly. OK : no singers.

I pick up instrumental musics for the mood. Röyksopp or any electro dancing music are great. Classical is a whole kingdom : I choose Brahms if I want powerful brown thick thinking, Prokofiev if I want triangles and fast drive, or Debussy if I wanna be impressionismistonic. You can push to Boulez (complex rotating-moving architectures) or Hindemith or Chopin for other “moods”.

  • Between watching TV and watching nothing, you can evolve around a painting.
  • Between listening to music and silence, you can write on Eno or Reich.

Both are enough “neutral” to let you work. Both are enough “full” to feed you.

Eno’s Thursday afternoon is a one hour piece. It’s not really music (and it NOT new age music), it’s more like a PLACE. Listen at a low level. Layers of sounds passing by. Quiet like a cloister, a convent. It’s a bit aquatic, slowly evolving like if you were watching clouds. You have a place to think, to work. You will notice it’s a set of loops. Some sounds come back. You’re in a fresh air coil…

Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians is a one hour piece. It’s a strong fast weaving of notes. They call it “repetitive music” because of the pulses, but it changes constantly. It’s also a “decor” for you to work, but more intense, with more DRIVE. Energy. The 1978 ECM recording is the best. It’s more like you were watching a land from a moving train.

Put them in “loop”. Eno has been in my place, sometimes, a whole day. It’s like a painting. Reich makes you wait, pushes your brain to fast mode. It’s more clever than that. Each piece makes you move. It triggers something.

Find your own tools (Phil Glass? JS Bach? The Field?).

Thanks for reading !

 

 

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