Chopin, Rain and My Neighbourhood

Walking to Jiyugaoka in the rain. It’s cold but I’m dressed warmly and have waterproof foot ware. I’m a bit bored so I play some music, but what to play on a rainy-misty day? It’s cold and gray and then I see these tulips outside a local flower shop in Okusawa.


And the answer hits me, this is Chopin weather, Nocturne No.1 in B Flat Minor Op 1-9.

I recently bought the Chopin: The Complete Nocturnes played by Dang Thai Son. 

Chopin is one of my favorites. Mozart can be exhausting and Beethoven can be too dramatic though I like both composers. I soon realized I didn’t own any recordings by Chopin. When I went to iTunes, there were heaps of choices. But what to buy? For interest sake I researched who was the best Chopin interpreter and enjoyed this link:

It’s really far beyond my scope of true appreciation and discernment but I enjoyed the discussion and is how I decided to buy recordings by Dang Thai Son.

So back to the tulips and the inspiration to play Chopin. The music was complex, soothing and the perfect balance of contemplation and energy.

I recommend this as your soundtrack for rainy day walking in Tokyo.

Playlist Your Work Habits

A few days ago I wrote a post about music and work habits.

This evening has been an editing evening and I thought I’d share another playlist.

Finally Moving by Pretty Lights is a song I really like to listen to. Electric hip hop soul. Great for thinking or writing a rainy scene set in the city. Maybe you have another idea. I love listening to this song when driving in the car at night except it makes my husband sleepy. He drives and I don’t so that is a problem.

Frohlocker is a staple.  I was listening to Hipbrass and decided to move onto Malaga-la-la-la (Frohlocker’s Sweet Duck Edit). Frohlocker tags are funk, latin, and world music. Hipbrass is a bit more contemplative, a kind of techno-swing but with a steady beat. Malaga-la-la-la is pure energy. Better for cleaning my room. I’m going to try playing it when I’m getting ready for work tomorrow.

I adore Cinnamon Girl by Dunkel Bunt. I think if you can listen to this electro swing song and not become cheerful, there is something seriously wrong. But there are lyrics which, while fun, make it a song for doing something other than writing.

Chambermaid Swing by Parov Stelar cheers me up immensely. I always imagine some kind of heist. It’s been integral to writing an action scene in my graphic novel. Libella Swing by Parov Stelar also will do but it’s less vivid in my imagination.

And more or less, that takes care of tonight’s playlist… except for the Def Lepard and TopGun 80’s flashback that somehow got on my genius playlist.

As always, if you have songs that motivate you or work for you in certain situations, share them and what they do for you.

Burning Out Inspiration: Music While You Work

Music while you work, inspiration or irritation?

I thought everyone liked to listen to music while they worked. Then one day I talked to a friend who said he needs complete quiet to work. It was a revelation to me.

I can deal with a lot of background noise when I’m working on something. But lately, when it comes to music, I’m paying a lot more attention to what I’m listening to in relation to how much I can get done. The results have been interesting.

If it’s housework or working out I need strong beat, vocals are fine and fun. TV in the background is a no-no. I will sit down and watch.

If it’s photography or illustration, anything can be playing in the background. It all pretty much just fades to a buzz.

If I’m writing, music with vocals is the kiss of death to getting anything done. Lyrics get in the way of the words I want to get out of my head. But writing in silence makes me sleepy. I’ve tried to keep writing even when I’m nodding off and the results are not good. Once I sort out the typos, I still end up with unrelated ramblings. This is not redundant. Often my ramblings are at least on the same tangent. Not so when I am almost asleep.

Finding music that inspires me and keeps me awake but doesn’t distract me has been a problem. Movie soundtracks are often the solution for me. When I find something that works, I end up listening to it over and over until I burn it out and can’t listen to it anymore.

My current burnout target is Nero on the album Archangel by Two Steps from Hell. I first heard it when looking at a video of an image developed in Photoshop. The song has a really nice cinematic scope to it and definitely keeps me interested and awake yet able to focus on my own words.

Current Playlist

Nero on by Two Steps from Hell on Archangel

Work by Clint Mansell from The Fountain soundtrack I love every song on this album. It’s not happy music but it’s amazing.

Victor’s Piano Solo by Danny Elfman on The Corpse Bride Soundtrack  Not a big fan of the whole soundtrack but I love piano.

Ruthless Gravity by Craig Armstrong on As If To Nothing

Death is the Road to Awe, The Fountain

Liz on Top of the World by Jea-Yves Thibaudet on Pride and Prejudice soundtrack I bought this album for this song.

Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18: 1. Moderato, Rachmaninov

Any Chopin Nocturne  I love Chopin. Music for all moods.

L’Autre Valse d’Amelie by Yaan Tiersen Amelie Soundtrack I have burnt this one out so bad I couldn’t listen to it for a couple years.

O-Kagura from the Zato Ichi soundtrack The soundtrack is fascinating and the finale of tap dancing in geta is also worth watching.

Dracula soundtrack the the  Cronos Quartet. DEFINITELY check this out. It’s music from the silent film Dracula.

Blood + soundtrack. Yes, it’s anime but the music is good. A local TV station even uses some tracks as BGM for variety shows and news.

So what music works for you? Is it all good or all a distraction? Do you burn out your inspiration music?

Share your creative work playlist!

%d bloggers like this: