Ten Mixes to Help You Stop Procrastinating and Actually Get Some Work Done

We've got the perfect soundtrack for a stress-free afternoon.

by Josh Baines & Angus Harrison
Apr 6 2016, 2:05pm

Image via Youtube.

Work eh? Who'd ever want to go to work? Who dreamt up a world in which we wake up, put deodorant on and then stand next to lots of people on trains who forgot to put deodorant on, to then go and sit in an office with grey walls and blue carpets and a cake trolley that rolls round once a fortnight and loud printers and an overwhelming atmosphere that combines frustration with anger and annoyance and deep, deep disappointment? Still, we've all got to get on with it because most of us aren't blessed with parents wealthy enough to justify us spending our time "working on projects" or whatever it is that Amelias and Ollies do these days to avoid having jobs. There are ways to get through the working day without causing too much psychic pain. One of them is to actually just engage with your job and treat it as an integral part of your life, the other is watching YouTube videos while pretending to send important emails. Or, a third option would be to listen to amazing music that will actually help you focus.

With all that in mind, we've decided to put together a list of the 10 best mixes to do any kind of work to. It might be data entry or weeding, bibliography writing or shelf stacking—whatever it is, we've got you sorted. And the best thing about it? We've done the work for you.

1. Sorcerer - New Age Crystals

When I worked at a call centre I used to keep an earbud in while dialing at least 200 numbers a day. In that earbud I'd be 'listening' to one of two things: it'd either be LBC or an ambient mix. Most of the time the calls I made bleeped into the unanswered-ether, so I could get away with the inane chatter of irate plumbers from Plaistow getting performatively annoyed about political correctness. Just to be safe, though, I'd often tune into those floaty hours of music where Harold Budd melts into Pat Metheny, and I'd shut my eyes and pretend that this wasn't my life, that I worked in a holistic therapy practitioners rather than in an educational sales call centre. Mixes like this one by mysterious new age don Sorcerer are a perfect accompaniment for any of us out there who like to dream away the working day. (Josh Baines)

2. Discodromo - Crack Mix 099

Sometimes the best mixes sound more like radio stations than they do fluid sessions, and this is definitely one of those. Coming off like a post-barbecue joint smoking session in space, the mood set is one of ashen imagination and hallucinogenic wandering. That might not sound like the most conducive atmosphere for completing an essay or a tax return, but don't forget, unless you've actually taken shrooms, music described as "trippy" normally just means it features nice guitars and some flutes. So it's actually perfect working music—again, provided you don't actually quaff a load of shrooms. But then really, who's actually taking shrooms these days anyway other than mid-life crisis retirees in holiday homes in Cornwall? (Angus Harrison)

3. Beautiful Swimmers - Flavorful

The lads over at Test Pressing tend to focus on the kind of Cafe Del Mar friendly chillout that we've already touched on here, but this gem from Max D and Ari Gold situates itself at the dancier end of the spectrum. It's not exactly Derrick May slamming it out down the Smart Bar armed with a stash of sax-heavy diva-workouts, but the Swimmers' take on 4/4 is a subtle, ever-mutating affair, full of unexpected twists and turns. There's lush rainforest techno, organ heavy house belters, melancholy childhood reminisces, and the best Japanese disco record you've never heard. You know that magic moment at about 5.15 on a Friday afternoon when you can almost taste the freedom of the weekend? The whole world is yours. Nearly. You can do amazing things. Soon. Replicate that feeling all week long by listening to this one on repeat. (JB)

4. Eden Rock - October Moonglow

When we're at work what are we actually thinking about? Apart from what's for lunch and if the girl/guy in accounts really did smile at us in the kitchen over their bowl of granola, obviously. Getting out of there! That's what we all think about all day long at work because we know, deep down, that work is just a tool of exploitation, right? I mean, yeah, payday is cool because it means we can all go out and buy some beers and maybe a new t-shirt and maybe even go to a place that serves burgers on paper plates and gives you kitchen roll to wipe your face with and sells you 2/3rds of a pint for the price of 1 ½ pints in a normal beer drinking environment, but that only comes round once a month! The rest of the time work is agony. Total and utter grinding agony that slowly kills us. You might as well listen to some nice music while you're there then. This contains lots of nice music. (JB)

5. Zlayed - Black Metal Compilation

In another life I worked in student union shops. For a few years I worked in two shops, opening one 8am and closing the other at 10pm. In a vain attempt to get rid of the stragglers at the end of the day I used to put on stuff like this —intentionally nasty, unpleasant, anti-social music that I hoped would scare them off and leave me to cash up in peace. It rarely worked, for I constantly and consistently underestimated the appeal of Mars Bars and bad coffee for lonely students. This YouTube version of an old tape features bands like Xasthur, Blunt Aus Nord, and Anaal Nathrakh and is a jolly good listen at work on those intense days when you forget that you've got an existence outside of the shitty partition you share with a bloke you fucking hate. (JB)

6. Moonboots - Just Yesterday

Another sublime slice of very mellow magic, this time straight out of Levenshulme courtesy of the North West's finest Balearic export, Moonboots. This sadly currently unavailable mix, recorded for The Rig Out, is an hour or so of brilliantly blissed out soft rock obscurities, psyche-tinged folk private press bangers, and the kind of balmy ballads that positively reek of sadness and suncream. It's perfect to work to because it reminds you of the uniquely transformative effect music has on us—press play and you'll find yourself drifting away from your desk and ending up in a warmer, happier, less admin-filled placed (JB)

7. Ben UFO - Never Went to Blue Note

This one is a bit of wild-card, and you'll know within a few minutes whether or not you're actually going to find it good "working music," but as far as I'm concerned there's something inherently focused and calm about UFO's ode to Metalheadz. Maybe it's the grounding heft of the bass, or the liquid motions of the mixing, but taken out of the club context the mix flows with an almost ambient quality. (AH)

8. Romare - Live at the Boiler Room

Because we didn't want to assume that how we work here at THUMP is how everyone else in the world works, we reached out to Joe Zadeh, editor of Noisey UK. Joe sits approximately 3ft away from us, so it's safe to say we were going to get an insight into a totally different way of getting through the 9-5. "Hey Joe," we said to him. "What mix do you like listening to at work?" He said, "this one." We said, "Oh cool, that's a good choice. Why do you like it?" "It's amazing. Absolutely amazing." Then he said he had to get back to doing work. He's a busy man. (JB)

9. Suzanne Kraft - Dekmantel Podcast 049

If mixes were colours this one would be all pale blues and peaches. It's light and ethereal enough to flutter inconsequentially around your psyche while you drag your fingers across the keyboard, yet fixates on enough of a beat to give you drive and keep you on track. Over the past months, Dekmantel's mix series has been building into an absolute goldmine of sessions of this sort. The unifying theme between them largely seems to be this consistent strength in building pace and setting tone. As huge-sounding as this Suzanne Kraft mix gets at points, its head never fully leaves the clouds. (AH)

10. Scion - Arrange and Process Basic Channel Tracks

It's a Wednesday morning. You went out last night for "a pint" but "a pint" became "five pints and a pack of fags and six BBQ wings and another can on the way to your mates house and then another can when you got there because well, you were pissed by that point and another can seemed like the most natural thing in the world so naturally you had that can and another can and then you passed out in your work clothes on and a cigarette in your hand and you woke up late for work and you didn't shower or clean your teeth and then you missed a train and you eventually arrived at work reeking of beer, tobacco, and a hastily chomped packet of Airwaves." Slap this on, smile through it, and remember that your own bed is only nine hours away. It'll all be fine. Honestly. It. Will. All. Be. Fine (JB)

Josh and Angus are on Twitter.

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