by Oscar Francis

If the winter blues have been getting you down, and you’re stressed about upcoming exams, it might help to recalibrate your study playlist. It’s a standard suggestion for study specialists to submit that listening to classical music in the background while you hit the books helps heighten your headspace. But does this insinuation stack up, or is it a cynical sell?

Anecdotally, most students find that having some quiet, background, instrumental music helps them to achieve deep levels of focus which make long library sessions less of a chore, and far more enjoyable. The key thing to remember is that you’re looking for nice relaxing, non distracting music — so that means loud drums, heavy riffs, bass drops, or vocals are usually off the table. 

But that doesn’t mean your study music has to be boring. Ditch the generic YouTube compilations, and power up your study sessions by tuning into the wonderful world of atmospheric ambient anthems.

Useless — Hexa

https://geometriclullaby.bandcamp.com/album/hexa

Don’t be fooled by the name, this is one of the most relaxing and uplifting albums for study ever made. It’s relatively short, but it really sets the bar for what study music can and should be. The Geometric Lullaby label has a great selection of hypnagogic and vaporwave/ post-vapor records, so get exploring.

Riki Hidaka & Tatsuhisa Yamamoto — Decalcomania

https://tatsuhisayamamoto.bandcamp.com/album/decalcomania

There’s a whole world of incredible ambient musicians from Japan, not least of all Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima, and Takashi Kokubo. Decalcomania is a particularly inventive record from percussionist Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. Unlike some of Tatsuhisa’s other albums which tend towards the pure ambient genre, this record has a more eclectic focus, combining sound collage, synth swells, and freeform jazz influences. 

Hainbach — Light Splitting

https://seilrecords.bandcamp.com/album/light-splitting

This an extremely lightweight, extremely chilled out album — one of a number from Seil Records. It’ll give you a little aural lift to get you through your daily life, but you’ll hardly notice it was there. In the best possible way, this is the sort of record you can listen to when you don’t want to listen to anything. 


How To Disappear Completely — Mer de Revs II

https://htdc.bandcamp.com/album/mer-de-revs-ii

An astounding ambient artistic achievement, Mer de Revs II works just as well for sleeping and performing séances as it does for study. Deeply calming and meditative, Mer de Revs II sure beats listening to the rustling of snacks in the study-hall, or your table-mate’s sneezes.

​​Perila — How much time it is between you and me?

https://perilazone.bandcamp.com/album/how-much-time-it-is-between-you-and-me

A very smooth album of ambient noise without a single rough edge, this album is perfect background music for reading or researching. A very low-key assemblance, this album is assuredly an ark of enjoyment to circumvent study-season stresses.

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