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Interesting background music to put on for your next work or study session

From LEGO to music for plants, you can give the lofi hip hop radio girl a break and try these instead.

Matthaeus Choo
Matthaeus Choo

Published: 19 February 2021, 3:01 PM

Most of us have probably had Lo-Fi Girl and her endless pile of homework accompany us on our study or work sessions. 

We might have even tried white noise, or pretended to be sophisticated by listening to playlists of jazz and classical music.

Yet, partly thanks to how strange the Internet can be, these choices only scratch the surface of what could be used as background music — that is, other than your go-to playlists. Here are just a few odd picks that might become staples for you the next time work has to be productively done. 

1. LEGO White Noise

For those of us fortunate enough to grow up fiddling with LEGO, the gentle clacking sounds of plastic bricks might bring calm memories of childhood and simpler times. LEGO has recently saved us the trouble of looking for our old toys by releasing a seven-track album of sound designers playing with those bricks

There is a surprising amount of variety as well. There are straight-forward takes, such as with Built For Two and its sounds of an intensive building project, complete with page flips and the satisfying sound of LEGO bricks clicking in place. 

On the other hand, there are experimental takes on the unorthodox instrument as well, where the bricks emulate rainfall and wind. 

2. Mort Garson - “Mother Earth’s Plantasia”

Mother Earth’s Plantasia, an early classic of electronic music, wasn’t even made for humans — but for plants. For decades, the album was only (officially) available for those who bought a houseplant from a specific store in America, or those who bought a Simmons mattress from department store chain Sears. 

It was only recently made available on streaming services.

The legend goes that the album is designed to nourish indoor plants. Yet, it might also leave many to ask themselves if they are able to photosynthesise given how relaxing Plantasia is. 

With its widescreen synthesisers and chirpy bleeps, the calming album is bound to relieve your busy day and grow on you. 

3. Ambience sounds (but interesting)

PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM YOUTUBE

 

Most of us might be familiar with the usual white noise palette of rain and cafe sounds. We tend to forget just about anything we can imagine can be found on the internet. 

We can make the best of the humidity by imagining ourselves at the beach, or completely escape Singapore’s heat by imagining ourselves in space

Think outside of the box and we can also choose to spend the working hours with sleeping puppies or ducks and geese.

4. Your favourite songs in oddly specific situations

PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT OF YOUTUBE

 

Similar to the previous point, there is a depth of content on YouTube that will give you brand new ways to enjoy your favourite songs. 

For example, you can listen to the hit song Sweater Weather as if you are in a bathroom or as if it’s raining outside (to really give the sweater weather feels). Dive deeper into the rabbit hole and you’ll also find oddities like this.

There are truly a near limitless number of these remixes of popular songs. 

Just to add to the list, there is Hey There Delilah played in an empty stall to really emphasise the melancholy, and Mr Brightside in a toilet for those still clamouring for Singapore’s nightlife to reopen

Check out this playlist as a start, or create one of your own. As these remixes usually push the music to the background for the sake of atmosphere, these make for surprisingly productive accompaniments.

5. Pink Noise

PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM YOUTUBE

 

For the ultimate distraction-free experience, there is pink noise

While white noise uses a mixture of frequencies to create a zen-like atmosphere, pink noise is a consistent frequency to create a flatter sound. This makes it a prime accompaniment for those seeking help with sleep, as the high pitch will drown out any other jarring sounds. 

The same could be said for study and work sessions where maximum attention is required. 

Sounding like a blend of TV static and a roaring waterfall, pink noise, however, can be polarising. Some find it to be too intense, while others find it to be much more soothing than white noise. 

Those looking for something more audibly pleasant can also give brown noise a try.


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