Doing quantitative research can be exhilarating at times. But working through reams of data and organizing it into presentable charts can also entail a lot of blurry-eyed drudgery. I find it useful to have music playing in the background to keep me going. Music without lyrics that it is. For anything with too many words can get me quite distracted... I have some go-to composers that I listen to perennially, such as Steve Reich, JS Bach, Brahms and Philip Glass, but there's also a lot of contemporary electronic music that can help the brain cells and spreadsheet cells work together in harmony.
What makes electronic music so exciting and ever-changing is that the best producers and DJs have this knack of imperiously drawing on myriad influences from other genres (from hip hop, to grime, to minimal classical and to folk) and then repackaging these sounds in ways that are fresh and exciting. In 2013 we have witnessed ample illustration of this. Here's a list of my top 5 albums. I hope that you enjoy and that you also reciprocate with recommendations of your own...
1) The Field - 'Cupid's Head' - the Field must be the master of putting together throbbing beats in ways that are completely mesmerizing. Pretty edifying stuff.
2) Burial - 'Rival Dealer' - much of Burial's previous material takes me back to the drizzly, melancholy streets of the UK. But this latest album is an unexpected homily on sexual identity.
3) Oneohtrix Point Never - 'R Plus 7' - at some points wistfully ethereal and at other points migraine-inducing mechanical. So many surprises in the album.
4) Forest Swords - 'Engravings' - never has electronic music sounded so utterly pagan. This is a soundscape that is suffused with magic and mystery and it is a soundscape that I have taken a delight in ambling through over and over again.
5) The Range - 'Nonfiction' - Simultaneously brutish and redemptive (in particular the track 'Jamie') apparently this artist drew almost all of his sounds from youtube videos. It therefore seems fitting that the album is available to listen to on the site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj6zBxsU ... xy6NO3fWs-