Music That Inspires The Creative Process

This will be a very off topic blog entry. Photography will be mentioned but not be discussed in this one-off post.

Consider this your warning.

Am I overstepping boundaries? Maybe. But hey, this is my blog after all. One single post won’t hurt anyone.

I would consider myself a very private person, something of a recluse by nature. After socializing for too long at a time, I devote myself to three things: either in front of the computer or on the trails..

..and the third thing has been music. Time and time again, I find music to satisfy that creative itch when I need to escape or reflect. Music stirs up as many emotions as would a compelling photograph, mine or otherwise. Daily music listening of any kind helps me function as a person.

Without it, life would be duller and photography would be harder.

Fortunately, I am always on the lookout for new sounds to grace my ears and inspire the entire creative process. While this isn’t the only music genres I listen to, this is perhaps a fine representation of auditory compositions that remind me of nature and art in general.

I am not a trained musician so bear with my descriptions of these songs.

The majority of these are instrumental tracks from soundtracks and other soundscapes, ranging from ambient, pop, electronica, indie and rock. In no particular order, here is the curated compilation. Enjoy the listening!

Color Therapy – The Dusk Mother

For very warbling and moody electronica, look no further. Color Therapy is from the mastermind of Adam Young, a man with countless side projects. You may have heard of Owl City, as well as Sky Sailing, Windsor Airlift, etc. I am a big fan of just about everything Young has created, but the Color Therapy’s lone debut album Mr. Wolf is Dead is perhaps one of the finest single works he has put out to date. Like the above video, I am instantly teleported to nature and exploration. If music is therapeutic, then this is it. For more recommendations, check out “Drive vs. Fly” and “Yachats.”

Port Blue – June Bug

Another side project from Adam Young, this one resembling the “soundtrack of my dreams.” More ambient-influenced, there is a variety of synths and sounds to adore here. “June Bug” is the perfect example of a beatless instrumental that is a joy to hear. For other tracks, check out “Juneau”, “Parking Lot Fireworks” and “Pond Skater.”

Jon Hopkins – Immunity

Jon Hopkins is an English producer/musician of melodramatic electronic music. Immunity is an impeccable example of electronica with heart and soul, as if playing out like a movie soundtrack. The titular track above is a fantastic closer to the entire album however I would recommend a straight listen through this entire piece of art.

Charlie Dreaming – Dream #1 (Arrival)

A rather lowkey producer of “sweet dreaming music.” Charlie Dreaming is a Canadian music producer of beatless, droning ambient music. The compositions are rather short yet leave you craving for more. At the time of this writing he has about enough music to listen to in half an hour, but it is all very solid and consistent. I would highly recommend it for reflective creating of your own work.

Connor Youngblood – Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

This track has nature written all over it. The song was literally created for Sustain Music and Nature. The music video features footage of the refuge itself and the song is intermixed with the bird calls of various waterfowl from the refuge. Echoing piano and soothing lyrics mixed with gorgeous cinematography. This indie song pays incredible homage to the song’s namesake refuge in Utah and to nature in general.

Ulrich Schnauss – Between Us and Them

The key to Ulrich Schnauss is crescendos and progression. Over this seven minutes sweeping electronic romp, we are given a hypnotic drum loop over light and airy synth lines. Halfway through right at the seemingly climax is happening, the track dials back only to pick up right where it left off before truly sounding off. For other favorites of mine, listen to “Knuddelmaus” and “Suddenly the Trees Are Giving Way.”

deadmau5 – Strobe

While well known for his dance-influenced club music, Joel Zimmerman can create some very ambient experimental music. The track above is an altered rendition of a former progressive house number with fully orchestrated pieces this time. I fondly remember walking through Autumn woods while listening to “I Forget” as leaves fell all around me. “Snowcone” to me inspires the awe of visiting someplace new. Like the snow-drifted mau5head in the video and the cold-tone synths suggest. This track reminds me of cabin fever and finally emerging out into the cold world we inhabit. His music inspires me through and through.

Tycho – Receiver

Tycho is the brainchild of Scott Hansen. Under the name ISO50, he was a photographer and digital artist at first before expanding into music. The brilliant visuals often accompany all the branding and artwork for Tycho’s music. “Receiver” helps me recall a time when I was listening to it while walking through a small patch of woods near my house. Leaves blowing all around and the sunlight hitting my face.

Nine Inch Nails – 02 Ghosts I

Trent Reznor is at the helm of all things NIN, and Ghosts I-IV is no slouch to being its’ own instrumental album. Tracks like the above “02 Ghosts I” really embody a style that I find endearing to listen to. Some of my first YouTube videos featured intros and outros of music from this album.

Thom Yorke – Twist

The legendary Thom Yorke from Radiohead fame has made himself well known through his solo releases. Much more electronic and moody, “Twist” is a dizzying romp through a seven minute soundscape of synthesized beats. Definitely a track to get lost in and focus on working at the same time!

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Hand Covers Bruise

Picture this: a cold rainy day or night. Time seems to slow. The Social Network Soundtrack always held such a feeling of strange darkness. The opener, “Hand Covers Bruise,” transport you to the grim world. A world where a person is trying to make something big happen, all the while conquering his inner turmoil and winning/losing friends. Who else can relate? Powerful music coming from Mr. Reznor and Ross.

Angels & Airwaves – Reel 1 (Diary)

Angels & Airwaves is a band that has a timeless, positive vibe to their sound. While more or less inactive at the time of this writing. They are a main reason I got out exploring with photography. I would ride my bike to local nature reserves as often as possible during the spring and summer while listening to AVA. If you want to conquer anything, listen to “The Adventure” or “Heaven.” In the case of “Diary,” feel how beautiful and fragile life is, like birth to death in eight minutes. You write your own story when you hear it.

In regards to when I am doing computer work, i.e. post processing or writing on the blog like this, I may listen to a mix of bossa nova jazz or lofi hip hop music. Either one is useful to study and focus on thinking-intensive tasks.

This has helped me relax and focus at the same time.
Less upbeat than jazz, yet all the more relaxing to create work to.

I hope you found some new music to enjoy. Art to me has always been a universal creative endeavor. This is why I use many types of media and mediums to express my love of nature and the outdoors. Art has the power to transcend labels and inspire everyone around us.

Do you have any music that inspires your creativity?

Drop a link down in the comments. Have a great day.

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Published by Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor is a 24 year old photographer located in Beavercreek Ohio, United States. Specializing in wildlife and landscapes both big and small, Ryan has sought to capture many different natural locations throughout the Buckeye State and beyond.

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