Power Through a Hectic Workweek With 8 Artist Discovery Recommendations

Much has been said about the effect of mellow tunes and lo-fi beats when it comes to ambient work music—here are some artists you might want to add if you’re done listening to your current playlist

Studies show that certain types of music can help increase work productivity. While classical music is an oft-taken route, with Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach being top choices, other genres have shown to be just as effective. Nature sounds (such as flowing water, rainfall, and the rustling of leaves) or even ambient music (employing ignorable yet immersive noises) are also preferred. Epic music (with its rhythmic bursts) and video game soundtracks popularized by its fans have recently shown the same effectivity. But for those who prefer lyrics and familiar melodies, soft and mellow tunes with simple compositions do not distract, and therefore, improve focus while providing warm, inviting music. Here are some safe choices to check out.

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En Route to the Office: Moss of Aura

Avoiding heavy traffic is a skill. And for days when time behind the wheel takes longer than usual, the chillwave aesthetic of Moss of Aura might work wonders. The electronic pop-rock artist’s rich, bright melodies and midtempo beats are fun tunes to groove and nod to while you move in glacial pace through EDSA’s long stretch. Enjoy the warm vibes as this sweet homage to 80s music and the minimalist keyboard beats, make for your opening credits for your day at the office.

Watch the video here.

Manic Monday: Kings of Convenience

Norwegian indie pop-folk duo Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe describe themselves as “music your parents like too”—and why wouldn’t they? Calming and soothing tunes remind you of your trusted playlist favorites from Belle and Sebastian, Travis, and even early Coldplay hits. And while upbeat tracks I’d Rather Dance than Talk with You and Mrs. Cold showcase the duo’s versatility with style, it provides the quiet ease of escapism as you course through the dreaded Monday.

Watch the video here.

Relaxed while Running: Massive Attack

Any Grey’s Anatomy fan will surely remember Massive Attack’s Teardrop—the music to the hit show’s opening credits. The English trip-hop kings Grant “Daddy G” Marshall, Andy “Mushroom” Vowles, and Robert “3D” Del Naja (then rumored to be mural artist Banksy) have made waves in the genre. It is a seamless evolution from its turntable beginnings to its current stature as the first artist to collaborate with AI. For that sophisticated cadence as you run through that pile of documents, press play.

Watch the video here.

For Bursts of Creativity: Sigur Rós

Many may argue that listening to music with lyrics can be a bit distracting when you’re focused at work. Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós’ use of vonlenska—a term coined by the group which they define as “a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music”—poses no threat with its inscrutable nature. Their ethereal music is accompanied by a bowed guitar and frontman Jónsi Birgisson’s falsetto voice, fusing classical cues and minimalist elements. It is the right amount of weird and fancy to play for a solo brainstorming session.

Watch the video here.

Small Victories: C Duncan

Young Scottish musician Christopher Duncan combines lush choral harmonies and instrumental orchestration that almost syncs with your on-the-job eureka moments. His unique soundscape is an aural delight—employing both traditional and modern techniques. Whether one finds his music haunting or heavenly, his compositional prowess displays a mastery of tempo that captures the right rhythm for getting through a long, hectic workday.

Watch the video here.

Lost in the Feeling: Zero 7

One of Sia’s favorite artists to collaborate with, Zero 7 started as studio engineers producing a bunch of remixes for several mainstream artists—from Radiohead to Lenny Kravitz to the Pet Shop Boys. Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker soon after created their own music, debuting with the spellbinding album Simple Things. If synth-heavy instrumentals are your jam, Zero 7’s music sets the mood with vocals by a variety of artists playing the second lead. Zero 7 is a perfect accompaniment to a fun day at work.

Watch the video here.

The Much-Needed Break: Washed Out

After a fast-paced morning in the board meeting, slow down and get that well-deserved pause. If you’re in the mood for dream-pop, Ernest Greene’s brand of “drowsy, distorted, dance pop-influenced tracks” provides the perfect setting to chill out and daydream, even for a bit. After all, the American singer-songwriter produced much of his music isolated in a favored environment away from the chaos, perhaps proving that maybe a bit of time out boosts productivity.

Watch the video here.

The Drive Home: The Blue Nile

If you’re tired after a long day at work, some throwback ambient music can soothe the soul. Scottish musical group, The Blue Nile, plays music that is heavy on the synth, with prominent jazz, soul, and pop influences. Lead singer Paul Buchanan’s soulful vocals are piercing and almost confessional, yet comforting for the weary traveler—an ideal melody as the credits close.

Watch the video here.

Listen to the complete playlist here.

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