Darktremor's "Functional" Albums

  • I have some albums that get ridiculous numbers of listens not because they're absolute masterpieces (although many are), but because they fill some functional niche in my life that few others can. Does anyone else have this experience?
  • Anyways, these are the albums and their functions:

  • Writing code - programming
  • Mille Plateaux - Clicks + Cuts 2
  • Richie Hawtin - DE:9: Closer to the Edit
  • Richie Hawtin - DE:9: Transitions
  • Richie Hawtin & Magda - Live at PS1 New York 2003
  • Monolake - Hongkong
  • Michael Mayer - Immer
  • Ricardo Villalobos - The Au Harem D'Archimede
  • Ricardo Villalobos - Taka Taka
  • Farben - Textstar

  • Sleeping in a bedroom
  • Biosphere - Substrata
  • Aglaia - Three Organic Experiences
  • Tim Hecker - Radio Amour
  • Biosphere - Dropsonde
  • The Orb - A Huge Evergrowing Pulsating Brain that Rules from the Center of the Ultraworld

  • Sleeping in a non-standard place
  • Vir Unis - Thermal Transfer
  • The Orb - A Huge Evergrowing Pulsating Brain that Rules from the Center of the Ultraworld
  • The Orb - U.F. Orb
  • Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92 Part 1 CD 1 (1993)

  • Early Morning Busing
  • The Orb - Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
  • The Orb - U.F. Orb
  • Sasha & Digweed - Northern Exposure 1: CD 1
  • Global Communication - 76'14

  • Romance (There are other tracks and albums, but these 2 are mainstays)
  • Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
  • Morcheeba - Who Can You Trust?

  • Furious, looking to channel my rage
  • I actually have specific tracks for this, which I play ridiculously loud - hence why this list is longer:
  • Adam Beyer and Henrik B - Remanipulated
  • Usual Suspects - Shrapnel (Stakka & Skynet mix)
  • Rotterdam Terror Corps - No Happy Shit
  • Mauro Picotto - Baguette
  • Mauro Picotto & Rickey Effe - Taotek
  • Black Sun Empire - Driving Insane
  • Speedy J - Bugmod
  • Bad Company & Fierce - Thin Air
  • Hellsystem - Back From Darkness (Fase Uno)
  • Nosferatu - The Prayer
  • Digital Boy - Just Do It
  • Umek - The X
  • Vitalic - La Rock 01

  • Snowboarding
  • Another area in which I have specific favorite tracks. This changes often, but these are staples:
  • PHD - Summer Storm
  • Humate - Love Stimulation (Paul Van Dyk mix)
  • Pleiadians - Taygeta
  • Astral Projection - Aurora Borealis
  • Astral Projection - Aqua Line Spirit
  • Infected Mushroom - Mush Mushi
  • Blue Planet Corporation - Crystal
  • Underworld - Dark Train
  • Union Jack - Red Herring
  • The Arpeggiators - Discover Your Innerself
  • Art of Trance - Cambodia
  • Art of Trance - Deeper Than Deep
  • Choice - Acid Eiffel
  • Hardfloor - Acperience

  • Convincing people that electronic music doesn't all sound the same
  • These are the songs I select from. Each track is edited to be fairly short (I try to give about 20), with the order and exact selection modified depending on the person's usual listening. The more pop-like selections usually come first.
  • The Notwist - One With the Freaks
  • m83 - Don't Save Us From the Flames
  • Animal Collective - My Girls
  • Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy
  • Matthew Herbert - Harmonize
  • Markus Nikolai - Bushes (The First Re-creation)
  • Mr Scruff - Shanty Town
  • Aphex Twin - Windowlicker
  • Isolee - Beau Mot Plage
  • Akufen - Deck the House
  • Infected Mushroom - Mush Mushi
  • Humate - Love Stimulation (Paul Van Dyk's Love Mix)
  • PQM - You Are Sleeping (PQM vs. Luke Chable vocal)
  • Brisk & Fade - Stay Here Forever
  • Felix Da Housecat - Silver Screen Shower Scene
  • Crystal Castles - Vanished
  • Dave Armstrong - Make Your Move
  • Congress - 40 Miles
  • Burial - Archangel
  • Usual Suspects - Shrapnel (Stakka & Skynet mix)
  • Amon Tobin - One Day in My Garden
  • The Orb - Little Fluffy Clouds
  • Steve Reich - Section I
  • Loka - Meet Dad
  • DJ Shadow - Changeling
  • Rainstick Orchestra - Waltz for a Little Bird
  • Panda Bear - Take Pills
  • Biosphere - Poa Alpina
  • Something very short by Karlheinz Stockhausen
  • Busdriver - Along Came a Biter {Always last: this reminds people at the last minute that hip-hop is electronic}
  • This always works: I've never given this out and ever heard the person say all electronic is the same, ever again. It's apparently so convincing that I've even seen a couple of them argue with other people about electronic music, citing my CD as evidence. Thanks in large part to this mix, I've got a reputation for making really good mix CDs - a lot of them later ask for a DVD of my best music (I actually converted a few people to electronic, jazz, and indie music. Oddly enough, metalheads are the most easily swayed).

  • Staple tracks when playing music to normal crowds
  • In other words, when I'm asked to play "music for dancing," and I know the crowd is basically top 40. These tracks fit in well with pop music, are often familiar to some top 40 listeners, weren't usually played (on radio) to the point of being annoying, and provide potential transitions to something more electronic if the response is very favorable. I usually push the limit by interspersing these tracks with pop remixes until the crowd is dancing to full-on EDM.
  • Justice - D.A.N.C.E.
  • Utah Saints - Something Good 2008
  • The Egg - Walking Away
  • Fedde Le Grand - Put Your Hands Up For Detroit
  • Hardrox - Feel the Hard Rock (Heiko & Maiko mix)
  • Dukes of Windsor - The Other (TV Rock Main Room mix)
  • Stardust - Music Sounds Better with You
  • Phats & Small - Turn Around
  • Basement Jaxx - Romeo
  • Junior Senior - Move Your Feet
  • Mouse T - Horny
  • Junior Jack - My Feeling
  • Dave Armstrong - Make Your Move
  • Armand Van Helden - Hear My Name

  • Extremely long trips - traveling long distances
  • I usually listen to new music doing this, but these are staples.
  • Sasha - Live at Mark Hunt's Afterparty 1995
  • James Holden - Balance 005
  • DJ Tiesto - Forbidden Parade 5

  • Night Driving
  • There is a strange relationship between writing code and night driving for me. It's likely because (for me) both are late night technical tasks involving complex machinery done alone while high on amphetamines (I've been prescribed them for ADHD since was 3 - my tweaking is government ordered). It's no surprise that their soundtracks have considerable overlap.
  • Platipus - Platipus Beginner's Guide (CD 1)
  • Richie Hawtin - DE:9: Closer to the Edit
  • Richie Hawtin - DE:9: Transitions
  • Richie Hawtin & Magda - Live at PS1 New York 2003
  • DJ Tiesto - Forbidden Parade 3
  • James Holden - Balance 005
  • Michael Mayer - Immer
  • Ricardo Villalobos - The Au Harem D'Archimede
  • Ricardo Villalobos - Taka Taka
  • Also, any selection of classic trance

  • Watching a sunset
  • 4Hero - Parallel Universe

  • Walking in a blinding blizzard
  • Biosphere - Substrata

  • Getting people out of my room
  • I still live at home (about half of the time), and my siblings are often clingy and annoying, especially when I have something important to do. Again, these are tracks:
  • Phuture - Acid Traxx
  • Faust - Why Don't you Eat Carrots
  • Mongolian throat singing - I have a few tracks for exactly this purpose.

  • Getting myself out of a depression
  • DI.fm gabber channel, or DI.fm techno channel
  • Ricardo Villalobos - The Au Harem D'Archimede
  • Ricardo Villalobos - Alcachofa
  • Ricardo Villalobos - Taka Taka
  • Richie Hawtin - DE:9: Closer to the Edit
  • Richie Hawtin - DE:9: Transitions
  • Michael Mayer - Immer
  • I listen to this after taking a bit more of my daily medication (Adderall aka amphetamine) than I should, and this combined with the fast, machine-like sound of the music gets me working. Over the following 10 hours, I accomplish huge amount and usually also organize myself, and looking at what I've gotten finished is generally enough to keep me happy after I come down - it reminds me that I'm fairly successful in life, and gives me a few recent successes to convince me that I am STILL doing fairly well, and that these aren't past accomplishments that I will never repeat again. I usually also plan 2 social events, schedule eating, exercise for a bit, and go to sleep as soon as it ends. Lack of food, social contact, exercise, and sleep are all significant contributors to depression, and doing these things is almost always enough to end any depression (just having social events upcoming helps a lot, actually).

  • Walking during a fairly laid-back day
  • Aril Brikha - Deeparture in Time
  • Orbital - Snivilization
  • The Field - From Here We Go to Sublime
  • My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
  • Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it In People
  • Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
  • The National - Boxer
  • Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
  • 4Hero - Parallel Universe
  • Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

  • Relaxing after a party
  • The Future Sound of London - Lifeforms (CD 1)
  • Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
  • Charlie Parker - Best of the Complete Savoy and Dial Sessions
  • Cannonball Adderley - Something Else
  • John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
  • The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out
  • Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage
  • m83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas, and Lost Ghosts
  • The Notwist - Neon Golden
  • Akufen - My Way
  • Sasha - Live at Mark Hunt's Afterparty 1995
  • DJ Shadow - Endtroducing

  • Suffering from a cold that isn't bad enough to stay home
  • DJ Screw - 3 N' The Morning Part 2
  • UGK - Pocket Full of Stones {this one is a track, actually)

  • Playing music casually in the background to freak other people out
  • Akufen - My Way
  • Cecil Taylor - Unit Structures
  • Mille Plateaux - Clicks + Cuts 2
  • Faust - Why Don't You Eat Carrots?

  • Walking or biking at night
  • Farben - Textstar
  • Luomo - Vocalcity
  • Kompakt - Triple R & Friends
  • Perlon - Superlongevity 2
  • Kompakt - Total 2
  • Kompakt - Total 3
  • Kompakt - Total 4

  • Stargazing
  • Air Liquide - The Increased Difficulty of Concentration
  • The Future Sound of London - Lifeforms (CD 1)
  • The Orb - Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld

  • Running around at night
  • Like at a cottage, for example. I recommend doing this. It's also fun to cut open (non-toxic) glowsticks and spray their contents around. I like playing some sort of active game with a group of friends and going exactly this, while blaring this music. Dancing in a field with a large group also makes this fun.
  • DJ Tiesto - Forbidden Paradise 3
  • Platipus - Platipus Beginner's Guide (CD 1)
  • Paul Oakenfold - Tranceport

  • Studying
  • Again, similar to programming (and night driving).
  • Richie Hawtin - DE:9: Closer to the Edit
  • Richie Hawtin - DE:9: Transitions
  • Richie Hawtin & Magda - Live at PS1 New York 2003
  • Monolake - Hongkong
  • Michael Mayer - Immer
  • Ricardo Villalobos - The Au Harem D'Archimede
  • The Field - From Here we go to Sublime
  • Kompakt - Triple R & Friends
  • Farben - Textstar
  • Luomo - Vocalcity
  • Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians
  • Plastikman - Consumed
  • Common - Be

  • Highway driving during the day
  • M.A.N.D.Y. - Get Physical vol. 1
  • Mauro Picotto - Meganite
  • Electro-house, in general

  • Driving through the mountains
  • More common for me than you'd think. I snowboard a lot.
  • Sigur Ros - Hoppipola
  • 4Hero - Parallel Universe
  • DJ Tiesto - In Search of Sunrise 1
  • DJ Tiesto - In Search of Sunrise 2

  • Dissociated from sleep deprivation
  • It's actually a bad idea to listen to this when sleep deprived, it just increases the dissociation. I'm not thinking straight at that point though, so I often do it anyway.
  • Anders Ilar - Everdom

  • Inside during a gentle snowfall
  • Claude Debussy - Children's Corner
  • Rainstick Orchestra - Floating Glass Key in the Sky

Nice list, I know exactly what you mean ;)... Orb is exclusively for bedtimes for me, so I can relax into a state of semi-unconsciousness- mix albums when I'm on the computer, otherwise I don't have enough attention to listen the whole thing through, and Goa Trance for partying!

I'll certain check some of this stuff out,


Cool, so it's not just me then :D

It's very strange how "favorites" aren't always necessarily precisely in line with "useful" albums - although I've noticed that the overlap has increased with for me. Have you had the same experience?

Glad you enjoy the list :D

love the list, but you should keep some Merzbow nearby if you want people to leave the room quickly, much faster than "Carrots" will ever do, though you may leave the room as well....

you really like "My Girls" that much, even amongst the other Animal Collective/Avey Tare/Panda Bear tracks?

I like My Girls a lot, but it's very debatable whether I like it more than a lot of other Animal Collective tracks. However, it seems to be one of the easiest tracks for someone who has never listened to Animal Collective to get into (Hell, Kanye West posted it online as a "current favorite" at one point) - hence why it's so great for that particular use.

Haha, I know what you mean about Merzbow. It's exactly because it would make me leave the room as well that I don't use it for that function.

"Getting people out of my room"
HAHA!!! Anything hard acid or goa. To be honest, I really really started getting into goa when I wanted to bug my roommate. Good times.

On two large computer projects that I recently did, I found myself listening to Ott - Blumenkraft.

In general I enjoy listening to Choice - Acid Eiffel for pretty much everything as the only thing in my playlist. Truely a song from God (or Garnier and Shazz).

I like to listen to Rena Jones - Driftwood (album/song) when reading mellow stories. James Joyce's Araby for example.

When I drove to a community college a few years ago, I loved putting Spicelab - Falling. Song length is pretty much on queue and I was in LOVE with it (still am). As a matter of fact, I'm listening to it as I speak coincidentally.

Several years ago, I liked to listen to James Holden - Nothing (93 Returning Mix) while writing weird (as in the genre) fiction.

Sasha - Invol2ver for misc stuff on occasion. Mainly when I want to lay down and chill to an album. To me it's a brownish album on the whole with some blacks and golds. Love the ethereal voices. And I Which reminds me, been a while since I had my Invol2ver fix. (Right now I've been motivated in collecting as many Oliver Lieb songs as I can. I hope to soon make a list rating on a simple scale of 1-5 of all songs I've heard from him.)

For an acid fix: L.S.G. - Hearts, Union Jack - Red Herring, Choice - Acid Eiffel.

To feel like I'm in space: Spicelab - Spicelab.

Driving to the grocery store: Spicelab - The Spirit of Fear; L.S.G. - Hearts

Oh, and one more: Pleiadians - Maia to feel like I'm energetically f'ing high but not. Only listened to it once on weed... absolutely CRAZY!

Hehe, goa trance really winds up my friends too... they're not enlightened yet.

Ott - Blumenkraft I found has some great tracks... but to me, the 7 7 minute tracks in the middle all sounded too similar. First and last tracks were outstanding though.

Sasha - Invol2ver... I sold this a couple of months after I got it, it seems to be missing a vital ingredient. Starts off well, gets boring, and only hits a high near the end then builds back down again with the last track? I just guess I'm not too much of a fan of minimal elctro.

James Holden - Nothing is weird, but it's a real grower ...ever heard it in a club? Spooky!

Never been to a club :\

I don't exactly know why, but Invol2ver is magical to me. Perhaps it's my synaesthesia... idk. Though if I had to put money on it, it would have to be the fact that I think it has the neatest vocal work I've heard anywhere. (I'm not the biggest fan of 'normal' singing... especially when it comes to electronica.)

As for weird stuff, have you heard some of the following:
- Extrawelt (Zu Fuss, Soopertrack, One Tree Hill)
- Plastikman (In Side, Plasticine) [I would die to hear these in an awesome sound system!]

While I haven't tried it, I'm sure Mathew Jonson - Marionette and Planet B.E.N. - Trippy Future Garden (the song) would be nice to write to. Which reminds me... if I find I need a goa song to stick in my head, I tend to like Planet B.E.N. - Scotty's Name. I also bet Solieb - Circus Maximus would be neat to write to. It always makes me think of a circular/cylindrical object is subtly inching tighter about me but somehow doesn't move in the long run. Kind of hard to explain.

You should make a list of your own of this sort :D

And you should also go to a club or rave, it's a lot of fun (well, EDM clubs are - and minimal is huge right now, so you'd get to hear a lot of stuff you like).

Watching A Sunset:
Dead Can Dance - The Serpent's Egg (Especially the first song, it makes the sunset feel extremely epic... reminds me of being in a very wide open space and just having everything going off around me but being perfectly calm in the center and everything just looks.... so beautiful. Make sure it's nature though.)

Relaxing After a Party:
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum (Especially the first part of the album. It calms you down slowly, but keeps you awake in a nice... beautiful way. Lovely album imo.)

Inside during gentle snowfall:
Angus & Julia Stone - A Book Like This (This album is perfect background music, and perfect foreground music. It makes me want to gently sway from side to side, or just flow through everything... if that makes any sense.)

Getting Pumped and Pissed:
The Overminds - Art of Hardstyle (GODDAMIT I'M PISSED (for absolutely no reason whatsoever))! But it also makes me want to drive really fast, or fuck really hard. Especially the first song. If you need to wake up, or just beat the shit out of someone listen to this album, especially the first song. I'm listening to it now and I'm getting pissed off right now. Oh, and I don't like hardstlye much, but I do really enjoy this album)

Night Driving:
VA - Carribean Eclipse (Flying Rhino Records to clarify, but this album is perfect for relaxed, chilled out driving at night. I love blaring this out of my car and people are staring at me like WTF?! But every once in a while you will come across someone who starts head-bobbing to the music, which is totally chill).

Walking Down Santa Monica blvd (West Hollywood, aka the gay street... not one person walking down that street is straight. Seriously.:
VA - Total 3 (It just perfectly captures the mood of the people walking imo, it's very chill, but very vibrant (like the album)). My fav. Total , besides Kompakt 100 , but that's not technically a total :P.

Oh and if you REALLY want to freak people the hell out play Fuck Frankie by Marilyn Manson. I think it's hilarious, but it really disturbs people. Play it loud.

These are just the ones off the top of my head, but I do thoroughly enjoy all of them. You may disagree with how the albums affect you (I seem to be strangely affected by most music, ie I love making love while listening to Mozart. He just seems to make it much more passionate. *Sorry if that deeply offended anyone*), but hopefully you will see where I am coming from. Hope you enjoy, and let me know what ya think. Hope life is treating you well, and I hope your soon-to-be-wife is treating you nicely :)!

"I love making love while listening to Mozart. He just seems to make it much more passionate"
Haha, I totally would try it if I could stand Mozart - but I find his music overly "decorated" - all of his songs feel incredibly basic to me, with little decorations hung off of them. I know I'm in the minority on that one though, it's just a strange personal thing, and it might just be because so many teachers over the years seemed to think Mozart boosts your brain functioning (disproven, and in fact a media fabrication to begin with), and had to constantly listen to it in unpleasant school situations as a kid. However, I do have a lovemaking category - that's what "Romance" is code for.

Nice list of your own BTW - I'd be interested in seeing you expand it to a full list.

"Hope life is treating you well, and I hope your soon-to-be-wife is treating you nicely "
Life is hard right now - recession - but the fiance is certainly treating me well :D How about you?

LOL I totally know what you mean by teachers shoving down your throat, luckily I never had to really had to go through with that bullshit. I don't think that Mozart is really the best thing to listen to while working, Whenever I'm working I usually listen to Trentemøller, some post rock bands (though never GY!BE), or some ambient, but rarely classical. I have a few exceptions for working though.

Life is treating me very well actually, I just moved out of my parents house and I am currently living with my partner. Until marriage is legalized though we won't be married, but that isn't a huge deal to me since marriage has never been that... big of a deal to me XD. Recession is making it difficult for me too, I'm trying to get my first job and it isn't going as planned. Oh well, life goes on eh?

"...I'd be interested in seeing you expand it to a full list."
I would love to, and there are several other lists that I want to make too, just have quite a bit on my plate. I haven't even applied for college yet, and that was second on my list of things to do. Glad to hear your fiancé is treating you well, if she wasn't she wouldn't be your fiancé would she :P! Anyway, still looking forward to your acid list (my friends want me to babysit them while they do it, and we are eagerly looking forward to that list!). Stay well :)!

That acid list really might be a while: acid is so hard to find these days, and using it takes up so much time, so I've only had the opportunity to use it twice. With all the work I have to do nowadays, lately it's been all about the amphetamines (they're my ADHD meds, but I often take a bit more than I probably should - if I have a lot of work to do). Glad you're excited about it anyway :D. While you wait, try this guide, I'm a big fan of it:

I know what you mean about post-rock, it's great background working stuff. It depends on your type of work though. My work is mostly research and programming now, so mechanical, machine-like music fits it perfectly.

Keep looking for a job, they're still out there, even in a recession. Of course, I might just be optimistic since I was able to find 2 - I got really lucky: apparently a programming and neuroscience/psychology mix in a person is almost impossible to find, and coveted. I've got no advice except to keep looking.

Good luck finding a place to marry too! Ever consider coming to Canada for that, BTW?

Hi Darktremor,

If you're looking for a great functional album to add to your list, check out the album "Trust" by Kaito.

Sure. I'm a big Kaito fan - looking forward to it.

A very useful list!

I was hoping it would be :D
Now I'd like to see other people post "functional" album lists.