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Music That’s Perfect for Working

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 29, 2020

I like to listen to music while I work, but it can’t have any vocals or I get too distracted when I’m writing or reading. So I end up listening to a lot of electronic, classical, and soundtracks. During the pandemic, I’ve been sharing my daily work soundtrack in this Twitter thread with selections like the Amelie soundtrack, Burial, Tycho, Nine Inch Nails, and Philip Glass. I’m no musical expert or connoisseur, but I know what I like and what works to keep me focused.

Over the past few months, I’ve been getting a lot of good music recommendations from the Flow State newsletter, so I was happy to write a guest issue for them today recommending music from Ben Prunty.

Today we’re listening to Ben Prunty, a composer of video game soundtracks. His first release was the chiptune soundtrack for the critically acclaimed FTL: Faster Than Light, a video game released in 2012. The music is chill and retro, the perfect backdrop for gameplay that’s more about careful planning and execution than fast-twitch reflexes. Inspired by fans who listened to the FTL soundtrack while working or studying, Prunty released Color Sky a couple of years later, describing the album as an “epic journey across your own subconscious.”

You can find the links for the albums I mentioned if you click through and so many more recommendations in their back issues.

Update: Damien Joyce reminded me that I asked for recommendations for “head-down coding/designing/writing concentration music” on Twitter a few years ago and received a bunch of great responses. Joyce compiled many of the responses into a 15-hour playlist on Spotify.