Mathias Poulsen

Play Activist & Researcher @ Designskolen Kolding

Music for Writing

As I’m moving deeper into PhD territory, while working from home in our Covid isolation bubble, I’m slowly trying to develop good habits for writing. I am not a disciplined person and I’m not very good with structure, so starting a new, big project on my own, working in genres (such as a “PhD plan”) that are new to me, well, that takes some getting used to.

I’m trying the “pomodoro technique” for creating manageable time slots for reaching writing goals, but how do I get into the mood for writing? Now, I have a great interest in atmosphere and moods in general, not least when it comes to designing spaces for playful experiences for other people, but for myself, at home?

I always listen to music, but I get carried away by the lyrics and I forget what I’m doing. I started looking for instrumental albums, but it’s not a genre I know particularly well. I was listening to Adrianne Lenker’s lovely “Instrumentals, but wanted to put together a playlist, so I asked around.

Twitter to the rescue! I receieved A bunch of recommendations: – thank you!:

  • Beethoven
  • Boards Of Canada – In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country
  • Brian Eno – Thursday Afternoon
  • Four Tet – Morning
  • FroKeith Jarret’s The Köln Concert
  • Joanna Brouk – The Space Between
  • Johann Johannsson
  • John Medeski’s A Different Time
  • Max Richter
  • Mike Sheridan
  • Mozart
  • Nils Frahm
  • Ólafur Arnalds – re:member
  • Soundtracks – Never Let Me Go, Amelie, Lord of the Rings, Tron Legacy, The Last of Us, Game of Thrones, Blade Runner

I’m starting with Olafur Arnalds – Re:member, since almost everybody recommended Arnalds, and it’s stunningly beautiful.

Maybe it works, since I immediately started writing this, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I mean, it *is* writing, but…


Are there other artists or albums, I should check out? How do you get into a good writing flow?


3 responses to “Music for Writing”

    1. mathiaspoulsen avatar

      Hi Ian! Thanks, I’ll give it a listen 🙂

  1. LizaPenn-Thomas avatar

    Late to the game I know but I have recently discovered Víkingur Ólafsson particularly fond of his Reflections album. But build up a playlist for different moods not just the ambient calm moods but also the moods where you need a musical stick of dynamite – Try Apocalyptica playing Metallica if you just want instrumental 🙂

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