GalleyCat Readers Pick the Best Writing Music of 2008, Part Two

By Jason Boog Comment

1049739.jpgIn GalleyCat’s continuing bid to keep readers cheerful during a tough holiday season, here is another collection of music to keep you writing despite all the bad news.

For your listening pleasure, novelist Michael M. Thomas had a simple recommendation: “Strauss waltzes. Makes the fingers glide and the mind sweep.”

Russ Marshalek from Wordsmiths Books writes: “There’s nothing that has been better for writing over the past few weeks than Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak (pictured). Soothing, minimal and incredibly evocative.” A Hudson Street Press editor added: “I find that Travis works the best. You can sort of ignore the lyrics, and the music is soothing.”

Another reader had some enthusiastic advice for the action-oriented writers in the audience: “‘The Ecstasy of Gold,’ from Metallica’s album S&M, a collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony — this song manages to be both hard-driving and melodic, not an easy thing to accomplish. Great music for writing fight scenes! ‘All Systems Red,’ from Calexico’s Garden Ruin album. I listen to a lot of Calexico, but this song in particular offers a combination of pathos and energy that helps me keep the conflict level high. It sounds like a character stretched to his limits and then pushed over the cliff.”

Many more music lists after the jump…

Journalist David Case had this list:

“Here’s my top 5, each of which I’ve listened to dozens of times while writing, and never while not writing, in order to preserve the magic:

– Brazilian Girls — Brazilian Girls (the first, eponymous disc) – great for getting the words rolling.
– The complete symphonies of Beethoven, Chamber Orchestra of Europe- Harncourt. These never, ever fail. The melodious 6th is great for writer’s block. The 9th, 5th and 3rd for inspiration.
– Hotel Costes volume 5 — more upbeat electronic/dance music, like the Brazilian Girls. It works because it has energy but it’s never distracting.
– Hotel Costes volume 9 — same reason. Picked this up after wearing out the tracks on volume 5.
– Fela Kuti- Coffin for Head of State — unmatched juice, the inspiration behind James Brown. The 53 minute disc has only 2 long, energetic, grooving tunes. You won’t even want to stand up, surf the web, take a nap, etc.”

Finally, Roman scholar Angela Nickerson writes:

“Since I write primarily about Italy, I tend to have a lot of music that evokes my favorite places in Italy, and I really can’t write with words playing, so I listen to a lot of orchestral works and soundtracks. While I was writing my book I listened to the Gladiator and the Pride and Prejudice soundtracks a lot (over and over again, in fact). I also like the soundtrack from the TV show Rome. And here are a few others:
Silk Road Journeys by the Silk Road Ensemble and Yo Yo Ma
Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack
A Winter’s Solstice (Wyndham Hill)”