What I listen to while programming

What music do you listen to while programming?1 For me, it’s usually jazz, classical, electronic, lots of it, or nothing. There are some specialized websites and podcasts I sometimes recur to, like Music for Programming. Several Spotify playlists I dig a lot, Every Day I’m Nerdin’ being one of them. What can I say? I am musically omnivore.

However, I recently discovered something different: the Field Recordings podcast. “A podcast where audio-makers stand silently in fields (or things that could be broadly interpreted as fields).” I am told it was launched last year, just about when the COVID lockdowns started, by acclaimed UK audio artist and producer Eleanor McDowall. It’s free, updated daily with submissions coming from all over the world, and holds many treasures. Most episodes are short, I’d say around the 5 minutes mark, with some notable exceptions like The Sound of 2020, “A slow weave of some of 2020’s Field Recordings in chronological order”. One of my favorites has got to be the “Inside the log burner“ episode by Chris Attaway (Devoran, Cornwall, UK, January 2021):

“I was prepping a fire in our log burner on a cold, blustery day here in Devoran, Cornwall and the wind whistling through the vents was really creepy! So I stuck my Zoom inside and recorded it for a bit. It was like it had its own little atmosphere and weather inside!”

At my desk churning out code, I hit play, and that stove is instantly teleported here, right by my side. I can almost feel its warmth. Indeed, there’s something cathartic about listening to these sound fragments from all over the world.

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  1. As I write this, news of the passing of Chick Corea hit me. Today his Plays album is on repeat. [return]