Looking at a documentary about Edmund de Waal, the artist and author of The Hare with Amber Eyes the other day, he said that he listens to American minimal music while he works. According to Wikipedia: the prominent features of this style of music include consonant harmony, steady pulse, stasis or gradual transformation, and often reiteration of musical phrases…
I suppose some people might say that it was monotonous but actually, I understand his preference. I would describe it as hypnotic.
I used to listen to Jamaican Dub music at one stage. More recently I’ve been listening to Qawwali. This is the devotional music of the Sufis, practiced on the Indian subcontinent for over 700 years. Again, it’s a repetitive type of music. It comes and goes. It is hypnotic, it doesn’t interrupt your train of thought. I think that it helps the art in some mysterious way.
And then, it comes to an end. Silence. In the silence that follows, I can hear the city at night, and a Blackbird singing in the garden outside.
What kind of music helps you?
Here’s a link to some Qawwali music, the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Ui2deAKr8&list=RDyX10uUlBVCg
and to Edmund de Waal’s wonderful ceramic works http://www.edmunddewaal.com/