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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Five instrumental albums to get you through exams

    Five instrumental albums to get you through exams

    Whether you like it or not, the first exams of the semester are right around the corner, meaning it’s time to break out those textbooks and Wikipedia articles. To help you concentrate, or maybe just drown out the sounds of your inevitably disappointed parents, here are five (mostly) instrumental albums to help you through the night before your test.

    5. 45:33 – LCD Soundsystem

    The perfect place to start. A dance-punk symphony in six long parts, this was conceived by LCD mastermind James Murphy after he had allegedly been commissioned by Nike to compose the perfect album for working out to. Complete with warm-up and cool-down periods in the appropriate places, this track hits every mood you could possibly want while studying late at night. You’ve got your funky, blue-eyed soul, your otherworldly synthpop and your jazz breakdown. Though a few sections do feature a smidgen of singing, 45:33 is so transgressive and varied that it’s bound to give your brain a work out.

    The Genius of Art Tatum – Art Tatum

    For some strange reason, not everyone listens to jazz, but Art’s unique brand of tender melody and mind-blowing piano skills make him the perfect guy to keep the night going and keep you awake and focused. Though it’s only piano performances, it never gets too cluttered or distracting, leaving ample room for your own panicked thoughts.

    3. Rainforest – Clams Casino

    It’s almost a crime that this album doesn’t have more tracks. Though Casino has earned some fame for his beats for everyone from Lil B to A$AP Rocky, this EP is his magnum opus. One track, “Treetop,” begins promisingly with the loveliest birdcalls I’ve ever heard before throwing on echoing synth lines and a beat tailor-made for academic meditation. Just the sheer amount of variety Casino works into these songs is inspiring, and it’s a textbook example of a record that’s interesting enough to listen to but chill enough to study to. Play it three or four times and you’ll be feeling your test material just a little bit more by the end.

    2. The BQE – Sufjan Stevens

    There’s very little Stevens has done that hasn’t been met with resounding praise from the indie community, and with good reason. This instrumental classical piece features the kind of haunting melodies and spot-on horn lines that made him famous, but now they’re played by a live orchestra. BQE is a nice comedown from the several repeats of Rainforest.. If Stevens was able to compose a symphony from driving New York’s Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, getting an “A” on your test should be a cinch.

    1. Eksra – Temperatures

    In the unlikely event that you aren’t totally prepared to ace that test after having stayed up all night, rest assured that there’s an album for you. With its insane title and four tracks called “Untitled,” Eksra’s brand of free-form noise music is just the thing you need to block out the world and concentrate angrily on your class notes. Ranging from the spastic to the sublime, Eksra sounds as stressed out and desperate as you feel, making it the perfect album to sympathize with a long night of memorizing things you’ll probably forget five months down the road.

    Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts.

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