This topic came up in conversation with a non-writer friend last night. What do I listen to while writing. Often the answer is, nothing. When I’m choosing musical accompaniment for writing though, an evocative quality is usually what I’m looking for in my collection. Perhaps not direct compliment to my work, but something with a capacity to stir and move.
A great deal of ambient music tends to lead me toward nihilistic feelings. Cool sound and catchy moments, intricate layering in the production but the totality of which provides little more than external commentary. The work of Carl Sagan’s Ghost (American composer Daniel Davis) is quite the opposite, however, especially on his album At The End Of It All. There is something delightful in how Davis constructs a track, a suggestive otherness that tugs on the imagination. It’s easy to get lost on his work, to allow the sounds to drift to the background, while also leaving an emotional bread crumb trail back.
There are many terrific recordings by Carl Sagan’s Ghost all of them highly recommended but if you’re looking for something to stir the air around you while writing, At The End Of It All is far and away the best (I ended up using the song as trailer music for my film, The New Herald). If I’m pressed to name favorite moments among the nine tracks, it’s the three song suite titled “Patience Of A Saint” a seamless stream of spectral gorgeousness that is both spacey and oriented, a loosely interconnected series of soft moments. Davis is such a confident composer, he allows his album a moment of resolve, acoustic guitars rising in the last track to signal the listener, like from a state of hypnosis, to come out, to reemerge.
As if you’d really want to wake from this dream.
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