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In the mood

It happens to all of us.

1. You have 5 hours of work to do but only 2 hours until the meeting. So of course, you grab a cup of coffee, sit down, throw on some music and go at it.

2. You have to draw an elegant translation of a vase and you have all day to do it. So of course, you grab a cup of coffee, sit down, throw on some music and go at it.

3. You come into work on a normal day. So of course, you grab a cup of coffee, sit down, throw on some music and go at it.

What kind of music gets you in the design mood?

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ARCHIVE ID 1887 FILED UNDER Miscellaneous
PUBLISHED ON Mar.26.2004 BY David Weinberger
David Weinberger’s comment is:

I'll start. Let's keep it to two albums.

1. 5 hours in 2 hours:

Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction

Guru - Jazzmatazz Volume I

2. Elegant Translation:

Simon and Garfunkel - The Concert in Central Park

Chicane - Behind the Sun

3. Normal Day:

Wagon - Beauty Angel Queen

Wyclef- The Ecleftic

On Mar.26.2004 at 08:43 AM
Armin’s comment is:

For any of the situations mentioned, strangely: A Mighty Wind soundtrack. Please, don't ask.

On Mar.26.2004 at 08:58 AM
Bryony’s comment is:

On a day in which I really want to concentrate or I am really energized about a specific task ahead:

La Traviata - Verdi

The power of One - Soundtrack

Cosi Fan Tutte - Mozart

Some others:

Norah Jones, Lhasa, Cafe Tacuva, Enya, Serrat. Andrea Bocelli, Mozart, Ana Belen, Jewel, Zucchero, Tribu del Sol, U2 (oldies)...

On Mar.26.2004 at 09:05 AM
surts’s comment is:

most days it's kexp in the morning to get things started right

On Mar.26.2004 at 09:07 AM
amanda’s comment is:

I constantly listen to my favorite radio station

I also like to design to Muddy Waters, Weakerthans, Sarah Harmer, Be Good Tanyas,...the list goes on and changes frequently.

On Mar.26.2004 at 09:37 AM
joshb’s comment is:


5 hours in 2: postal service - give up

just working: death cab for cutie - transatlanticism

normal day: minus the bear - highly refined pirates

On Mar.26.2004 at 09:52 AM
Adrian Repasch’s comment is:

1. 5 hours in 2 hours:

Klute - Lie, Cheat and Steal (Drum & Bass)

D'Headbanga - Phrenetic Drums (Drum & Bass)

2. Elegant Translation:

Balligomingo - Beneathe the Surface

Chicane - Behind the Sun

(Have to agree with you on Chicane, David)

3. Normal Day:

Dido - Any CD

Lamb - Any CD

On Mar.26.2004 at 09:59 AM
Rebecca C.’s comment is:

5 in 2: Feeder Echo Park & Garbage Garbage

Elegant translation: Sneaker Pimps Becoming X, Smashing Pumpkins Adore

Normal day: Radiohead Kid A & Good Charlotte The Young and the Hopeless

Of course, my iTunes playlists are always appropriate.

On Mar.26.2004 at 10:02 AM
Adrian Repasch’s comment is:

Nods to The Power of One soundtrack

On Mar.26.2004 at 10:16 AM
pk’s comment is:

any of the three pieces available from truly, madly. gorgeous DJing from someone with a rare sense of pacing.

On Mar.26.2004 at 10:18 AM
Sam’s comment is:

I don't know about music to work by, but after a long day of graphic-designing, or making neater stacks of paper on my desk, or just sharpening pencils, I like to pour myself a nice Amaretto on the rocks, throw the phone out the window, and listen to the dulcet tones of Mr. Paul Sahre reading karlssonwilker's portfolio on the Internet. Somehow it always seems to soothe my bezier-curved mind.

On Mar.26.2004 at 10:42 AM
marian’s comment is:

5 hrs in 2 hrs:

Nothing. Total concentration.

On a regular day I have iTunes in constant rotation. I don't even know half the stuff that's in there.

But when I really need to get in the groove and get some serious work done (esp. creative) it's all Pearl Jam all the time. Hmmm. This just might be a Pearl Jam day.

On Mar.26.2004 at 10:44 AM
KM’s comment is:

1. 5 hours in 2 hours:

AFI - Sing the Sorrow

H.I.M. - Razorblade Romance or Love Metal

2. Elegant Translation:

Postal Service - Give Up

3. Normal Day:

Dizzie Rascal - Boy In Da Corner

H.I.M. - Razorblade Romance or Love Metal

On Mar.26.2004 at 10:56 AM
laura’s comment is:

5 hours in 2: Samiam - Astray

Pixies - Trompe la Monde

All Day: Donovan - Greatest Hits -yes he had some

Normal Day: Jets to Brazil - anything

On Mar.26.2004 at 10:56 AM
timmy’s comment is:

5 in 2:

Roni Size - Reprezent

Pretty much any Dancehall Reggae

Elegant Translation:

Old episodes of This American Life

Regular Day:

Phish, Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic you know, hippie music.

On Mar.26.2004 at 11:01 AM
Rob’s comment is:

5 hours in 2...Jane's Addiction, Nothing Shocking and then followed up by Ozzy, The Ozzman Commeth that's on a good day by the way.

Elegant Translation....Norah Jones, Simon & Garfunkel, Santana

Regular Day (any of my custom ITunes rotations) or The Shins, BEP, Elvis Costello, Etta James, Interpol, Jay Z and DJ Danger Mouse (The Gray Album....let's say I have eclectic tastes, sort of like my design. : ^ )

On Mar.26.2004 at 12:32 PM
Nat Bolton’s comment is:

I find myself tuning in to KEXP via iTunes most of the time. Their DJs are really good at putting together brilliant sets of music. Better then any mix even I could come up with. The best part though, it's a commercial free station.

On Mar.26.2004 at 12:35 PM
Tan’s comment is:

> For any of the situations mentioned, strangely: A Mighty Wind soundtrack. Please, don't ask.

dude, caught it on cable again last night. Michael McKeon wrote most of songs. Fucking brilliant. Gotta get the CD.

The soundtrack to Lost in Translation is a current fave too.

5 hours in 2: Radiohead, Flaming Lips, Jet

Elegant vase: Cold Play, Howard Shore's LOR soundtracks, Diana Krall, Alison Krauss, Johnny Cash

Normal: Outkast, Elvis Costello, Chris Cornell, Elliott Smith, Liz Phair, Beatles

On Mar.26.2004 at 12:37 PM
marian’s comment is:

Old episodes of This American Life

I too am listening to every single back episode; but i can't work while doing so, unless I'm drawing.

On Mar.26.2004 at 12:50 PM
darrel’s comment is:

Anything sufficiently obscure enough to generate music taste street cred when I mention it to my peers.


That, or like Armin said, the Mighty Wind Soundtrack.

On Mar.26.2004 at 12:53 PM
Kingsley’s comment is:

Crunch Time - LTJ Bukem's Progression Sessions.

Normal Day - Hip-Hop, Drum'n'Bass, Downtempo just about anything.

On Mar.26.2004 at 01:10 PM
Jim’s comment is:

5 in 2:

• Anything by the Foo Fighters or Outkast

Elegant Translation:

• Ryan Adams - Love is Hell Pts. 1 & 2

• Sun Kil Moon - Ghosts of the Great Highway

Normal Day:

• I second the nod to KEXP mornings. Great great stuff!

• Interpol - Turn on the Brights Lights (I know, I know - I can't stop!)

On Mar.26.2004 at 01:14 PM
Greg’s comment is:

I've been enjoying Magnatune recently, since I discovered it off the SXSW website. They even have playlists according to mood.

On Mar.26.2004 at 01:22 PM
Zoelle’s comment is:

Music to design to: iTunes radio > Electronica category

I'm a drummer, so if I listen to music with talented drummers while working I become too distracted by dissecting grooves.

Recreational music: Pungent Stench, Sepultura, Tenacious D, Ween and Bone Thugs In Harmony

Death metal and gangster rap give me that invincible feeling needed for cold calls. Ween and the "D" are great for cheering me up when I need to be in a good mood.

Music to drum to: Dave Mathews, 311, Alice in Chains and Slayer

On Mar.26.2004 at 01:47 PM
Rick’s comment is:

5 in 2:

Rites of Spring: End on End

Lifetime: Hello Bastards

Regular work:

Tiger Trap: s/t

Time to Fly: Birth. Work. Death

Black Flag: Anything

On Mar.26.2004 at 01:47 PM
JT Helms’s comment is:

More experimental electronic music or hard jazz usually lets my brain think a little out of the norm...so I usually have going:

Autechre, Squarepusher, Oval, Phoenecia, Tony Williams Lifetime, Miles Davis, U.S. Maple, Boards of Canada, Brothomstates, Chick Corea, Freeform, ect.

And I always have to throw in a little RZA.

Music always helps inspire me.

On Mar.26.2004 at 01:48 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Minor point of clarification: I am not 'Kingsley'.

That said; my listening material:

1. the sound of a ringing telephone

2. the whispers of history

3. voices left behind

4. a messenger at the door

5. estonian tree-bending music

On Mar.26.2004 at 02:07 PM
Mark’s comment is:

Good call on the Power of One - very moving! Buy the DVD too.

my mix varies...


Ali Farka Toure - Talking Timbuktu

Buena Vista Social Club

Buju Banton - til Shiloh

Dead Can Dance

Finley Quaye

Manu Chao

Willy and Lobo


Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks

Ben Harper

Be Good Tanyas

Don Ross

Jack Johnson

Neil Young (Hey, I'm Canadian)


Beastie Boys (Instrumental) the in sound from way out


Dead man walking soundtrack


Tea Party

and forget the coffee, gotta be English Breakfast tea in the mornings and something soothing in the afternoons like Bengal Spice, Green teas, Emperors Choice etc.

On Mar.26.2004 at 02:09 PM
Armin’s comment is:

From Zoelle: Pungent Stench, Sepultura, Tenacious D, Ween and Bone Thugs In Harmony

Sepultura… ah, the good ol' days. Once went to a concert of theirs in Mexico, ended in a semi-riot. Very cool — in a fifteen-year-old way.

On Mar.26.2004 at 02:12 PM
Brian’s comment is:

I really like to work to Groove Salad, available at SomaFM.

I'm with Greg on the Magnatune site, too. While their Metal selection is a bit weak, the World stuff is really cool.

PK gets a big thank you for the "Truely-Madly" tip. What a nice way to end the week.

On Mar.26.2004 at 02:14 PM
Zoelle’s comment is:

Armin: Sepultura… ah, the good ol' days. Once went to a concert of theirs in Mexico, ended in a semi-riot. Very cool — in a fifteen-year-old way.

Very cool! When I was in high school a friend of mine drove Max and Igor to the mall in Green Bay, WI. Igor wanted some new shoes for the gig. Most people didn't believe my friend, but he was lucky enough to have pictures taken with them at the mall. I miss the days when you could actually talk to band members without a "pass".

On Mar.26.2004 at 02:21 PM
jemma’s comment is:

5 in 2:

Karri O strange techno from Finland

Elegant Translation:

• Bjork, Boards of Canada, Amon Tobin.

Normal Day:

• Have to agree with the vote for Groove Salad on Soma FM

• Also great is "delicious lo-fi lounge" on Live365

On Mar.26.2004 at 03:04 PM
Lea’s comment is:

I listen to Streaming Soundtracks all the time. Movie soundtracks are the best. Eclectic choices of soundtracks, so I think everyone would be satisfied with whatever they're playing.

On Mar.26.2004 at 04:31 PM
Jennifer Lathrop’s comment is:

Wow...I feel kinda lame! I've never heard of most of this!

And I'm pained to admit that when I'm on the 5 in 2 deadline I love to listen to shallow, upbeat pop music. But my favorite discover yhas been Web radio in iTunes.

On Mar.26.2004 at 04:34 PM
Jennifer Idol’s comment is:

5 in 2—nothing if I'm breaking a sweat, Digweed, or Rage against the Machine

Elegant Translation—Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Beatles, or Beck

Normal Day—mix according to emotions and goals, Damien Rice, Lifehouse, Portishead, Chieftains

Lately, I ran out of coffee, so espresso.

On Mar.26.2004 at 04:41 PM
ps’s comment is:

5 in 2s:

a. slayer -- reign in blood. not many bands pack an entire album that should last 60 mintues into 22...

b. hellacopters "cream of the crap"

elegant translation.

i don't really do that kinda work..


has to be a mix, but usually one album at a time. and yes, guitars are a big part of it.

On Mar.26.2004 at 04:53 PM
Hrant’s comment is:



On Mar.26.2004 at 05:17 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

I guess I have the most ECCLECTIC TASTE ON SU.

No Day is Normal for me.

Usually start off Listening to Jazz for inspiration; John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson,Billie Holiday, Abby Lincoln, Alberta Hunter,Ole Blue Eyes, Mel Torme, Tony Benedetto, Thelonious Monk,SUN RA, Manhattan Transfer, Romarie Clooney.

Brainstorming, Doo Wop,& R & B Pookie Hudson and the Spaniels, The Flamingos, Johnny Maestro and The Brooklyn Bridge, The Chiffons,The Coasters,Little Anthony & The Imperials,The Cadillacs Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Anything by Phyllis Hyman.

Designing, any combination, of Jazz, Rock, R & B, HIP HOP, Classical, REGGAE.

Euphoria, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Stones, YES,Atomic Rooster Assortment, The Stranglers, The Clash, Robert Frip, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, IGGY POP, Roxy Music, The Damn,The Police,Devolution Band.

Anything by HENDRIX.

Anything by BOB MARLEY.

Anything by Dennis Brown.

Al DeMiola, West Montgomery, Eric Clapton,

Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, Pat Mathiney.

Brian Eno Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy.

Notorios B.I.G.,PAC, NAS, KRS ONE, Rakim, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, MOBB DEEP.

Lauryn Hill.

As usual I went overboard. Truth of the matter. I listen to almost all these genre's in a Days work. Depending on MOOD.


On Mar.26.2004 at 08:27 PM
mitch’s comment is:

5 hours in 2: Underworld, really, really fucking loud.

elegant transition: radiohead, massive attack

normal day: 18.7 GB of MP3's on shuffle. im not even going to pretend to list them here.

On Mar.26.2004 at 11:09 PM
Drew’s comment is:

*Warning - music nerd/geek/elitist*

The Smashing Pumpkins

The Blood Brothers - Burn, Piano Island, Burn

Fall of Troy - s/t

Kane Hodder - A Frank Exploration of Voyeurism and Violence

Time to Fly - Birth. Work. Death.

Frank Black - s/t

Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it In People

Spokane - s/t

Sujfan Stevens

The Darkness - Permission To Land

The Walkmen

Engine Down - Demure

Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary/LP2/How It Feels To Be Something On/The Rising Tide

The Kyds vs. Columbus

The Thermals

The Polyphonic Spree

The Reindeer Section

I'm really incredibly surprised someone else on here listens to Time To Fly . . . one of the most perfect hard pop rock albums ever made . . . especially by 17-19 year olds.

On Mar.27.2004 at 03:32 AM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

1. I second mitch's Underworld. and would add Amon Tobin, and if I'm particularly angry(or even if I'm not) Rage Against the Machine really gets me going.

2. hmmm... Godspeed You! Black Emperor comes to mind... long instrumental, orchestral songs, really sets the necessary atmosphere. On the flip side, old school happy hip hop, De la Soul, Tribe Called Quest, etc.

3. Anything and everything

On Mar.27.2004 at 08:21 AM
vos broekema’s comment is:

Madrugada: The Nightly Disease (how ironic…)

Roots: any album

On Mar.27.2004 at 02:33 PM
RyAnZky’s comment is:


JACK JOHNSON, MAROON 5 (believe it or not, they've got some funk), BEN HARPER OR JOHN MAYER





On Mar.27.2004 at 05:06 PM
Anthony Edwards’s comment is:

5 in 2:

Biggie—Ready to Die

DJ Qbert—anything

White Stripes—Elephant


Iron & Wine—Our Endless Numbered Days

Elliot Smith—XO

Normal Day:

Shins—Chutes Too Narrow

Sea & Cake—anything

On Mar.28.2004 at 01:48 PM
Armin’s comment is:

An overlooked part of this post has been the "coffee" issue — which is part of all of David's scenarios. Having coffee is very mood-setting. How many coffee drinkers do we have here? Tea drinkers can chip in too.

I myself, can't start the workday without a Grande coffee from Starbucks. And if I'm at home, we will also brew some Starbucks coffee, when I'm not in the mood for coffee I go for an Apple Cinammon tea. And then I turn on A Mighty Wind.

On Mar.28.2004 at 02:15 PM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

mmmm.... coffeeeeeee, couldn't live without it. It is surprisingly hard to find fair-trade coffee here in London. Shocking!

On Mar.28.2004 at 02:26 PM
Hrant’s comment is:

I only take coffee as a drug: like if I feel drowsy but can't afford to. I'm strictly a tea man, and the stuff that best feeds my soul is Lapsang Souchong. There's something about seeping a great cup of tea that coffee doesn't enjoy, maybe because it needs machinery to make well.


On Mar.28.2004 at 07:27 PM
Rick’s comment is:

Never never NEVER enough coffee. Start the day with the gigantic, cream-and-sugar-loaded, massive, heart-stopping, thick-as-a-milkshake drip coffee. 10:30 - more coffee. Lunch - Maybe more coffee. Afternoon slump - Bawls / Red Bull / Rockstar.

Twich: All day long.

Drew: Time To Fly could be the best band in the world. That album holds the record for longest-time-on-my-ipod. Every time I hear a bus slow down and stop, I want to hear that first track... Simply awe-inspiring.


On Mar.29.2004 at 12:39 PM
Jerel’s comment is:

It's all iTunes all the time, but I've got different smart playlists for different scenarios.

5 hours in 2: The metal+punk+rock list grabbing tracks from all three of those genres. Examples: Bad Brains, Bad Religion, Black Flag, Hey Mercedes, Jawbreaker, At the Drive-In, Cheap Trick, Dazzlingkillmen, the EX, Minutemen, Mudhoney, Silkworm, Engine Kid, Unwound, Queens of the Stone Age, etc.

elegant transition: Instrumental Rock list. Examples: Cancer Conspiracy, Dirty Three, FCS North, The For Carnation, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, Mono, NMVGPTS, Paul Newman, Tristeza, etc.

OR, the Roots + Blues list. Examples: Skip James, Gillian Welch, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, etc.

normal day: The whole libary on random.

KEXP makes for a good stream especially when I miss home (though I think it was better as KCMU).

Chai tea in the morning; hot chocolate or coffee in the afternoon as needed.

On Mar.29.2004 at 01:30 PM
Paul’s comment is:

I second Jerel on KEXP (and the majority of your other musical selections as well!) That station gets me through almost every afternoon energy lull. Awareness of the weather in Seattle is also a nice reminder of one of the reasons why I love San Jose.

On Mar.29.2004 at 02:06 PM
Simon S’s comment is:

5 in 2: DJ Hive > Devious Methods / Elite Force > No turning back / Crystal Method > Tweekend

elegant translation: Talk Talk > Laughing Stock / Elbow > Cast of thousands / Kings of convenience > Quiet is the new loud / Mogwai > Rock Action

normal day: Zero 7 / Air / Max Melvin / Lamb / Hooverphonic / Alpha / Bonobo / Visit Venus / etc.

Soma FM's Groove Salad via iTunes Radio plays most of these too.

I just love these "whatcha listenin' to" threads!

On Mar.29.2004 at 03:18 PM
priya’s comment is:

i've taken to the habit of my mother and brew homemade chai before work... my internship has a Gevalia subscription and i drank that stuff like it was going out of style the first month and became unecessarily twitchy. so now i stick to tea. Twinings Earl Grey and English Breakfast are great in a pinch. Midday it's tea from tealuxe, the best teahouse ever. (pear pomegranate and pear green tea are in my cupboard now.)

5 in 2 .

Handsome Boy Modeling School—So...How's Your Girl?

Roni Size & Reprazent—New Forms

elegant translation


Res—How I Do

Joss Stone—The Soul Sessions

Nikka Costa—Everybody Got Their Something

Nina Simone (Sinnerman...)


Esthero—Breath from Another

Coldplay—Rush of Blood to the Head or Parachutes

10,000 Maniacs—Unplugged

Live—Throwing Copper

Cornershop—When I Was Born for the 7th Time

Normal Day

No Doubt—Any album

N.E.R.D.—In Search Of....

Norah Jones—Any album

Jay-Z—Any album (but I've got the Black Album on constant rotation lately.)

Alicia Keys—Any album

Bilal—1st Born Second

Mos Def—Black on Both Sides

Massive Attack—Mezzanine



Lo Fidelity Allstars—How to Operate with a Blown Mind

Basement Jaxx—Remedy

.... and random people like Tantro Metro & Devonte, Portishead, B.I.G, Usher, Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Panjabi Hit Squad (lovin' the "Hai Hai" garage remix.), Craig David, Black Eyed Peas ("Hey Mama" is my song right now.), Jamiroquai, Luscious Jackson, Erykah Badu, Talvin Singh, Soul Coughing, Cake.

On Mar.30.2004 at 12:33 AM
mitch’s comment is:

tealuxe does indeed rock...we have one around the corner from campus. i actually need to stock up - tea i can drink all day, but usually one one AM coffee or i feel ill. too much acid, etc..

On Mar.30.2004 at 12:59 AM
christopher roeleveld’s comment is:

5 hours in 2:

yo la tengo: painful

elegance, epiphanies and inspiration:

godspeed you black emporer: lift your skinny fists...

any other day:


On Mar.30.2004 at 11:34 AM
Aaron’s comment is:

lots of coffee, although evidently i'm not drinking enough or I'd be more on top of this thread.

hell yes, a little Time To Fly seems to be the perfect soundtrack for nearly any work mood, as does GUK / AK3 / etc. Himsa / Killswitch / Bodom /In Flames when things get really tight, and a little doo-wop / rocksteady / or anything by the clash when it's time to calm the fuck down and realize it's just a job.

On Mar.30.2004 at 06:55 PM
Gatorage’s comment is:

1. 5 hours in 2 hours:

Jerry Cantrell - Degradation Trip

Sevendust - Home

2. Elegant Translation:



3. Normal Day:


Maroon 5

On Mar.31.2004 at 04:04 AM
Amber Nussbaum’s comment is:

5 hours in 2: Down To Nothing - Save it for the birds

Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to die

Relaxed: Denison Witmer - Philadelphia songs

Pedro The Lion - Control

Normal: Kids Like Us - The 80s are dead

Fugazi - 13 songs

On Apr.02.2004 at 10:24 AM
Melange’s comment is:

5h in 2:

Muse - Absolution

Deftones - White Pony

Elegant translation:

Radiohead - OK Computer

Norah Jones - Come Away With Me

Normal day:

Kruder & Dorfsmeister - The K&D Sessions

Incubus - A Crow Left of the Murder

Portishead - Portishead

On Apr.03.2004 at 01:29 AM
Yitz Woolf’s comment is:

5 hours in 2:

Gillian Welch


Lucy Kaplansky

Skin (Skunk Anansie)




Vienna Teng >> my current favorite discovery.

10,000 Maniacs

Natalie Merchant

Sarah MacLachlan

The Smiths

Lighthouse Family


Beth Orton


Sarah Harmer

Sarah Slean

Dave Matthews

Ryan Adams

Pete Yorn

John Mayer


On Apr.05.2004 at 11:24 AM
Sam’s comment is:

Has anyone actually heard Typography?

On Apr.05.2004 at 12:13 PM