The Easter half term draws closer and we all have one thing on our minds: deadlines. The constant blagging that you’re busy doing ‘research’ to your dissertation tutor is over. The dreaded group presentations have to be endured. We know it’s tough. So, while you persistently glance at your word count figure under Hallward’s fluorescent flickery lights, we have you covered. Listen to Impact’s soothing instrumental playlist and wait for the six cups of coffee you drunk earlier kick in.
Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Liberi Fatali’
The soundtrack to a video game is often an underrated choice when choosing standalone music, however there are a real selection of gems to suit any occasion, especially when the occasion calls for deadlines. ‘Liberi Fatali’ from the acclaimed Final Fantasy VIII makes for a great choice for revision. Its blend of a minimalist chorus and a sublime orchestra is, simply put, wicked. It can induce a heart pumping rhythmic feel which accompanies greatly the swift changes in tempo to make for a chilling, yet weirdly soothing instrumental piece. This particular track also has quite an ethereal feel to it, which is a perfect foil to the tedium of an essay or lab report. Playing this one with a pair of headphones can either increase the hype levels when doing your essays, or soothe you so much the work load doesn’t even seem like a pain anymore. And if this manages to tickle your fancy, it manages to fit in well with the rest of the Final Fantasy VIII soundtrack to make for some epic background library music.
Bill Laurance – ‘Ready Wednesday’
A song recorded first by Snarky Puppy, but written and rerecorded on Bill Laurance’s first album, it is both relaxed and energetic, rhythmic and fluid. It’s one to play when you need that ‘pick me up’ for your all night last minute cram session: pulsing with enough energy to put Monster out of business. It’s also undeniably groovy, which is great for those synapses, keeping them alive and jaunty is important for all that hard work after all.
Howard Shore – ‘Samwise the Brave’
If I could I would have put the entire Lord of the Rings soundtrack (though maybe not the Hobbit) on this list, so as representation I’ve chosen one of my favourites. There’s nothing to put revision into perspective quite like the vista of sound Howard Shore created for Peter Jackson’s magnum opus. It is easy to realise just how inconsequential this essay is in light of the Hobbit’s struggle to destroy the ring, so it is good to help calm down at the point of the panic and melodrama that is: ‘if I get a 2:2 on this dissertation my life is over’, just 12 hours before hand in time. On top of this, it is relatively motivational, and to paraphrase the titular Sam: There’s some good in this world and it’s worth staying up late in Hallward library for.
William Basinski – ‘d|p 1.1’
Avant-garde musician William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops are absolutely perfect for days of intense studying; firstly because there’s hours of material here. This first track lasts over an hour and all are so hypnotic in content and conceit that it’s hard not be pulled into any task at hand with these sounds in your ears. They exist by accident; Basinski recorded some loops in the 80’s from an easy listening radio station and this is the sound of them being digitised, but also the sound of the old magnetic tape disintegrating as the ferrite detaches from the plastic backing and the tape falls apart. It’s the sound of sound physically crumbling; the odd crackle appearing a few minutes in and then slowly the spool falls apart, sometimes in small cracks, sometimes vast chasms just disappear from the rhythm never to return. It’s fascinating to listen to on public transport; to hear the sound of the outside world force its way back into the gaps created, but it’s also great for when you’re working; while soundtracks and scores protrude with jolts of instrumentation, the loops coax you into concentration as silence prevails. On their own they also remark upon the frailty of objects, of even the music that we love; and what’s a more perfect soundtrack to your inevitable pre-exam existential crisis than that?
Bonobo – ‘Cirrus’
So you’ve been at your desk for what seems like a lifetime, your fingers are numb, your eyes are straining, your brain is mush. All you need is a sly power-nap, a hobnob and the perfect track to completely immerse yourself in – Cirrus by Bonobo is the answer. Lie back and exhale deeply as the carefully crafted rhythms and jangling electronic hooks soothe your fuzzy mind, the stresses and worries of deadlines and word counts fade into nothingness as the playful builds and drops of Cirrus surround you. As the track progresses to its final refrain, the pulsing energy of chillwave-cum-trip-hop is guaranteed to rejuvenate those tired synapses – all the layers come together to draw you from your happy slumber, and back to your laptop: reluctant, but rejuvenated. Or maybe just hit repeat.
Michael Haggins – ‘Daybreak’
Daybreak is a smooth jazz instrumental that builds around a simple, yet catchy, saxophone melody which guides the listener through the song. It gained media notice after being used in the NBC show ‘Community’. You can’t help but close your eyes and smile as the soulful sound of the saxophone comes pouring out your speakers and gently caresses your ear drums. The silky sax melody combined with the soaring and good natured feel of the song is bound to have you tapping along by the end.
This Will Destroy You – ‘The Mighty Rio Grande’
The Texan based post-rock band have the ability to be beautiful background noise when you need to concentrate on hitting your word count. The songs, especially ‘The Mighty Rio Grande’ are also beautiful songs for a much needed break. Lasting about 10 minutes, the song is ideal for getting lost before continuing with work. The undulating guitars build up to some beautiful big moments, perfect for giving you that final push at 3 AM in Hallward library. This track has an unexplainable way of giving you a determined, empowered feeling. That may sound cheesy but press play and you will understand. Good luck.
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