For Your Scholarly Delectation: Study Music with Men in Polyester Suits
by Men In Polyester Suits // Substance Control
I present to you some study music…
- Everywhere at the End of Time by The Caretaker
- Number one on the list is Everywhere at the End of Time by The Caretaker. I cannot explain to you how beautifully sad and terrifying this album is. This album explores the stages of Alzheimer’s disease. All the sounds were created from samples of ballroom music. The tracks move through the stages of memory loss, self-awareness to denial, confusion, horror, isolation, to being genuinely lost. This album is heartbreaking. It almost feels wrong to say “listen to this album when you’re studying because of how much it has to offer,” yet it has the dark ambient sounds that, for me, at least, work perfectly in my brain when I need to focus. I highly recommend just sitting down and listening to this devastatingly beautiful album. I most definitely did not do this album justice with my short description, but Bandcamp and Wikipedia have great descriptions of all the stages of the album if you would like an in-depth analysis (recommended).
2. Patterns of Consciousness by Caterina Barbieri
- If you like minimalistic synthy music exploring the nature of sound and consciousness, add this album to your studying playlist. This album has great progression, using repetition of patterns and sounds to explore emotions and art.
3. ~~~ by Ana Roxanne
- God this one is warm, powerful, precise, honest, and gentle.
4. Stupidamutaforma by Fera
- Oh man, I like this one. Some songs are similar in character to Boards of Canada and also Caterina Barbieri. Fera is a little more on the regret and grime side, though. My favorite one on this album is “Carefucker” with some ambient distortion….I guess (I probably don’t know what I am talking about). Someone reviewed this album saying, “My sleep paralysis demons really like this tape.” Maybe that gives you a better description.
5. Lamentations by William Basinski
- I love death and decay, so of course, I had to put this album on the list. Lamentations explores tragedy and loss but also the beauty in it. “O My Daughter, O My Sorrow” is a must-listen, with haunting vocals, grieving a loss that could have been avoided. Everyone everywhere is mourning something, so being able to recognize those fates and human experiences, you’re able to understand the people around you. It’s elegant and gloomy.
- You will most likely be able to recognize the voice of this artist. A newer (not really new anymore) project from Liz Harris of Grouper explores once again Grief. This album allows you to basically disconnect (at least for me). It’s eerie and calming at the same time, spiraling through sound, then silence, then sounds, repeating itself with themes of grief, sadness, and death. Constantly returning but in different forms.
7. Silver Ladders by Mary Lattimore
- Harp heavy, energetic, and calming
8. Slip by Autechre
- I love this album. With roots in techno, experimental, and glitch beats it’s fucking amazing.
9. Stain Licker by Imagine Drowning
- Features Tim Hecker, Grouper, Hakobune. Honestly, the whole discography is pretty good for studying. Stain Licker focuses on a different side of ambient music that is a little more abrasive and experimental. It’s ignorable but also interesting. Hypnotic and ominous, to say the least.
10. And last, all the Whities albums.
- So Whities, now known as AD 93, was an electronic label that released music from producers like Overmono, Avalon Emerson, etc. The Label basically helped produce a bunch of these albums called Whities. For example, we have Whities 019 by Overmono. They are all really good; some of my favorites are Whities 016 by Giant Swan, Whities 029 by Lord of the Isles, Whities 006 by Avalon Emerson, and Whities 024 by Anunaku (listen to “temples”).
I ask that if you take anything away from this post, just listen to Everywhere at the End of Time by The Caretaker. Also, realize that there are a ton of great albums out there, and if none of these fit your studying fancy, I guess just look harder.
Catch Men In Polyester Suits on Substance Control, every Wednesday from 8-10PM on WUSC.