Welcome back to The Soul Curator, our latest feature. The way it works is this: we choose a daily action, routine or challenge and recommend a playlist to make it that much easier. Last time, I kicked things off by talking about driving music. I recommended a variety of styles but most of them could easily be defined as metal; something about going fast and metal just clicks. However, this time we need something else entirely. When you're going farther than just a drive, even if you're still using a car, you need music that both excites you and paints a broad canvas, putting your mind in the mood to explore and breach borders. Our chosen tracks do either one and even if they're not strictly metal, they're all geared towards that fullness of soul that the road bequeaths us.
The eagle eyed ones of you will notice that we have added a Spotify playlist to the left hand side of the website. Currently, this widget displays a selection from our monthly Editors' Picks segment, rotating on a monthly basis. But that got me thinking. Playlists are a useful thing, a tool which I use on an almost daily basis to regulate my listening. I often listen to music when performing some other task or when I'm in a specific mood. I don't want to have to constantly select and play certain songs or albums. Sometimes I just don't have the time; sometimes, I just don't care what I listen to except that it's "death metal" or "broodingly heavy". For that, playlists are perfect, allowing you to easily curate in advance your vast musical collection. Keeping a large stock of them will help you chop down the sheer amount of moods available in music into something that can be digested properly.
Some may claim this to be all-too similar to a previous Soul Curator that I did on writing. And, yes, while the action this playlist is supposed to score is the same, I feel that writing science fiction is something completely different from the standard mode of writing. In a way, you need to make yourself leave Earth. You need to be able to break rules and then glue them back together again. The Albums To Write To Soul Curator included albums that (for me, at least) kept the mind focused and eliminated distraction; this, however, stands on different grounds. The key to writing great science fiction (or any imaginative fiction, for that matter), is to be able to tap into the fantastical parts of your mind. Whether you come up with something that is grounded more in reality or doesn’t adhere to anything this planet has heard of is completely up to you. And these are albums that can help you reach that mode of thinking.
I’ve found the biggest thing that can impact your time at work—aside from a positive mindset (but who wants that anyway?)—is music. To have something good to listen to, that’s not just mind-numbing “muzak” makes any job not only doable, but even maybe a little fun. Here’s some stuff that I recommend, if you have the ability to listen to your own music while on duty (if not, just imagine the songs in your head, I guess):
Like writing while listening to music, reading while listening to music is a sort of balancing act; you need to keep the part of your mind that’s liable to be distracted pacified, but you can’t overdo it or you’ll just be listening. Furthermore, the music often sets the tone in an immediate way, and so you need something that will allow whatever you're reading its own space. You can't have the music overthrow the tonality of the book or vice versa. And so, you'll find that much of the music below allows your mind its own spaces and will pretty much mold itself to the vibe you're looking for. Thus it enables you to both focus and get hyped, putting you in the mood to keep delving deeper into your source material. I don’t necessarily recommend reading and listening to music if it’s something that takes a lot of concentration to digest, but if you’re just cracking open awesome fantasy novel or something and want something to chill to, go no further than this list!