Like many developers I often put my headphones on when coding. It helps me get in the zone, block out other distractions and get into that flow state.
Not all types of music helps me though. I find what works for me best is listening to instrumental albums, particularly progressive rock/metal. The tracks feel structured and often flow nicely.
And the flow is not just on a track-by-track basis. The whole album just flows and, as a result, so do my thoughts. So I don't play these on shuffle (who plays albums on shuffle?). I also occasionally play them at the gym too!
Below is a list of my favourite instrumental albums to listen to while coding. And here's a Spotify playlist containing them all.
Top comments (112)
I almost exclusively listen to albums by Aphex Twin while coding. It's electronic music but very diverse genre-wise, spanning from ambient all the way to acid house. Also try Boards of Canada, Autechre, Venetian Snares, Squarepusher, all great artists.
There's no lyrics, I can't learn or code with any music that has words in it.
Great taste. Some of the best electronic music out there! Here are some others:
Reso - Ricochet
Trifonic - Ninth Wave
Submotion Orchestra - The Finest Hour
Carbon Based Lifeforms - Interloper
Or some Prog metal/rock/jazz fusion:
Plini - Sweet Nothing
Animals As Leaders - The Madness of Many
Exivious - Liminal
Our Oceans - Self-titled
Leprous - Malina
Agent Fresco - Destrier
Cynic - Carbon Based Anatomy
The Contortionist - Language
I certainly can second the Venetian Snares suggestion in this - i think the best album to start off with would be - Rossz Csillag Alatt Született.
On the progressive-rock/metal leaning by the OP i tend to err that way too. My go-to 'rotation' would be, the California band - ISIS (unfortunately their name has been a tad appropriated now...), Red Sparowes, And So I Watch You From Afar, Bossk and Explosions In The Sky.
Otherwise i tend to feel if i am on too much of a playlist consisting of electro-glitch type music that I feel like I am pretending to be in Swordfish...
Thanks for the suggestions. While I'm not usually into electronic music, these seem good!
Actually, I'm really a rap/metal guy, usually very extreme metal, including the above mentioned ISIS, one of my fav bands since I heard Oceanic first time.
But for 'productive' purposes such as coding I strongly prefer simpler, minimalistic music. Helps me focus on the work and not the lyrics.
My favorites: episodes 6, 12, 13, 28, and 47.
Anything by the Cocteau Twins is good, particularly the early stuff. Because Liz Fraser's lyrics were famously incomprehensible, and the guitars were swamped in effects to create a very unusual sound, it doesn't command attention in the same way something with comprehensible lyrics might.
Just checked a few of their songs; I'm digging it!
First three albums are the best, Garlands, Head over Heels and Treasure. The later stuff where Liz Fraser's voice becomes more comprehensible isn't as good IMHO.
I'm really amazed that a couple of albums of your list are by a band from my country! Yay Toundra!
On a side note, what I usually listen to while coding:
Singularity by Jon Hopkins
Tunnel Blanket by This Will Destroy You
Wild Light by 65daysofstatic
Fair Youth by Maybeshewill
And well, I put some of their albums but really all the albums by those guys are perfect for this. Generally just Post-Rock, IDM and such is the way to go since it's interesting music but not too distracting.
Also check out "The fall of math" by 65daysofstatic
Such an incredible album.
"The hawk is howling" by Mogwai - also pretty amazing.
I was here too to give kudos for listening to Toundra, definetely one of my favourites.
Someone mentioned Aphex Twin and I couldn't agree more specially Selected Ambient Works 85-92.
I also have been enjoying any Tool album or King Jizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
Yeah Toundra are awesome!
I haven't listened to Maybeshewill's Fair Youth album in a while I forgot how good it is. Really easy on the ear. I should add it to the playlist!
From the ones you listed I'm also familiar with This Will Destroy You and 65daysofstatic, but haven't heard of Jon Hopkins. I'll give Singularity a listen.
Check out "god is an astronaut" and "the third and the mortal"
'God is an Astronaut' is another good band! I haven't heard of 'The Third and the Mortal" though; I'll check them out. Thanks, Erik.
I'm not a big fan of God Is An Astronaut, but I'll surely check out The Third and the Mortal, thanks!
I listen to a huge assortment of melodic death metal and deathcore but also throw in some ambient / epic instrumentals too.
I have a private Youtube playlist with around 500 songs but I'm afraid to make it public because it'll be visible on my channel which is where I post videos on software development topics.
I can't just have people browsing around Docker and Flask videos and then they're suddenly hit with a song like this without any context youtube.com/watch?v=BCcdZPpPZRU -- and that's a pretty tame one.
Hahaha I love it
I think you can make playlists "unlisted" now so you can share it, but it won't be listed if someone visits your channel.
I'm more into epic/orchestral music whenever I code seriously, it makes me go into the adventurous mood 😁. My main go-to is the music of games such as Cities: Skylines and SimCity (the reboot). When coding casually, I just put some white noise from A Soft Murmur and an ambient music.
Here are ten albums I like to work to, from least jazzy to most jazzy (note: none of these are actually jazz). Enjoy!
These are my favorites while coding:
Castlevania - SOTN
Chrono Trigger ost -snes
Soul Calibur VI ost
x-men V streetFighter ost
Note: From time to time I switch to FCC youtube live music stream.
In a good mood, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon or Wish You Were Here are two of my favorites. Otherwise something prog rock to jazz-rock.
In a cranky mood or wanting to build up energy, Iggy and the Stooges Raw Power or Social Distortion's Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell or self titled album. Otherwise something punk and angry.
At other times I listen to a wide variety of music although it will be guitar oriented 90% of the time. Last week I listened the new Larkin Poe album and Johnny Marr's latest one.
"Music to flow by" songs are my favorite. They are made by a programmer. Has the exact lenght to make it easier to do the pomodoro technique and it is indeed good music!
Favour electronic music whilst I code, my two go to's are
Geometry by Tripswitch when I need to focus on something.
20 Ximer by Orkidea has a really nice fast hard beat to it which is great for banging out repetitive code.
I have a large prog rock/prog metal record collection, but I listen to these albums very often
1- Fear of a Blank planet(Mostly from "Anesthetize" live DVD) // Porcupine tree
2- The incident // Porcupine tree
3- The dark side of the moon // Pink Floyd
4- Sky moves sideways // Porcupine tree
5- Raven that refused to sing // Steven Wilson
6- To the bone // Steven Wilson
7- Hand cannot erase // Steven Wilson
8- Blackfield, Blackfield II (Mosy from NYC live DVD) //Blackfield
9- A natural disaster // Anathema
10- Cheating the polygraph // Gavin harrison
11- Rajaz // Camel
12- Stationary traveller // Camel
13- In the cort of the crimson king // King crimson
14- Wish you were here // Pink Floyd
15- Distant satellites // Anathema
16- Arriving somewhere... (LIVE DVD) // Porcupine tree
I usually listen to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" when I need to focus, anything by Girl Talk when I'm writing tests or debugging, and lots of Pantera, Metallica, Lamb of God, or anything else metal while doing tedious work.
For heavy concentration I listen to C418-One, Jim Guthrie and similar indie-game-soundtracks. For regular work I listen to nothing in particular, usually Ryan Adams or Rockstah. For no-brainer-work like HTML/CSS or while cycling I prefer podcasts.
I mostly listen to EPIC music. Anything by Audiomachine and Two Steps From Hell. Recently, though, I've added the Pray The Wicked album by Panic! At The Disco and The Attractions Of Youth by Barns Courtney.