Spotify Playlist of the Week

Michael Quick

“(Not from) Concentrate”

Since school is starting to pick up speed, this week’s playlist is perfect for those of you who (unfortunately) need to start studying for your first exams.

The Snarky Puppy is featured on Mike’s Spotify Playlist of the Week (Photo obtained via Facebook)
The Snarky Puppy is featured on Mike’s Spotify Playlist of the Week (Photo obtained via Facebook)

It’s pretty common knowledge that listening to classical music (and just instrumental music in general) improves one’s concentration, so this playlist is full of enough of that to get you into the right headspace.

I tried incredibly hard to not just include classical pieces (because that’s what everyone thinks of when they think of “study music”), but instead bring a mix of that, post-rock, and some electronic music for a little bit of variety.

Opening up the playlist is “Silent Flight, Sleeping Dawn” by the Japanese Post-Rock band MONO. They are essentially the epitome of Post-Rock.

A large percentage of their work includes lengthy, evolving pieces that vary dynamically all the while sticking to a basic melodic theme, and this piece is no exception. Something interesting and refreshing about this piece, in particular, is that it never gets as huge as some of MONO’s other songs, or other Post-Rock songs in general.

It always teases that it is going to build up and get loud and intense, but never really does. Post-Rock is a sort of formulaic genre of music: start out quiet, repeat a simple melody, get loud; so this piece plays off of that formula, changing it up.

A little bit further down the list, is a piece by the jazz/fusion ensemble Snarky Puppy. “Young Stuff” also features wonderful dynamic contrast, waxing and waning between mellow and marginally loud.

Featuring satisfying horn lines and a wicked organ solo, but the real stand out section of this song is the bass solo about halfway through.

It begins with just drums, electric piano, and electric guitar playing impossibly quiet while the bassist weaves these interesting melodies over the bed of music the accompanists created, ultimately building it back up to the climax of the song at full volume and throwing back in those pleasing horns.

The piece is just incredible to listen to on its own, or to have in the background.

Classical music needed to be included on the playlist in one form or another, but I tried to take it away from the stereotypical orchestral works, so “The Spheres” by Ola Gjeilo makes an appearance.

This choral piece is very ethereal and wonderful to have on while working. The vocalists don’t do any ridiculous or distracting lines, it’s very atmospheric. It seems long because not a lot is happening, but there is beauty in its simplicity.