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The first visual memory I have is that of the white upright piano in Singapore, Hell and the Dark Forces lived at the bottom, Heaven and the Angels at the top, they would play battles through my fingers and I was hooked.
As a psychology graduate I studied how sound affects human performance.
As a musician I compose instrumental music that stimulates your brain but doesn't mess with your language centers, leaving you free to be creative and brilliant without distraction.
As a curator I research how music can improve your life and create flow - I can tell you what music to listen to when studying for a test and why listening to sad music can make you feel better.
As the founder of musicto I’m on a mission to inspire a global audience of music lovers and artists through the development of people powered playlists.
19 December 2021
Loud, dancey, electrifying…whatever you wanna call it– it’s you jolt of energy you need! – featuring artists like Franz Ferdinand• Basically Saturday Night• The Frights• The Vaccines• Art Brut• Castlecomer• SWMRS
Country music to give you the feels when driving the Jeep. Featuring artists like: Chris Stapleton,Drive-By Truckers,Brandi Carlile,Shelby Lynne,Patty Griffin,John Mellencamp,Maren Morris,Margo Price,Ray LaMontagne,Nora Jane Struthers
16 December 2021
Recall the glory years, explore the ones to come, and live in the now as you bop, bang and determine the meaning of life – featuring artists like Franz Yardij • Wet Leg • Vulfpeck • Yo La Tengo • The Smiths • Human Bloom • Dexys Midnight Runners
15 December 2021
A new sound inspired by one song. – featuring artists like Briston Maroney • Hugh Kelly • Peach Pit • The Backseat Lovers • KALEO • Record Heat • Art Brut
24 November 2021
This list is your gateway to a more relaxed state – featuring artists like Los Campesinos!, Poolside, Franz Ferdinand, The Internet, SAULT, ABBA, Katy J Pearson, The Communards
20 November 2021
13 November 2021
8 November 2021
31 October 2021
I’ve known for a while that the feel of the list was going to change – while piano instrumentals are perfect for reflection and ideation – at some point you need some energetic input to get your fingers moving.
23 October 2021
Today is a good day – a good day for being alive – a good day for remembering that we are not ephemeral creatures – we’re not goldfish – a day to remember how good past experiences were by experiencing them again.
6 October 2021
A mix of elite and non-elite genres that represent a standard for good taste. – featuring artists like Da Weasel, Anoushka Shankar, Sinéad O’Connor, Band of Skulls, McAlmont & Butler, Bob Dylan, Lovage, Jennifer Charles, Tricky, Wet Leg,
30 September 2021
If you’ve gone to the trouble to create space for an idea to land – you may as well create an environment that will facilitate their capture.
To do this – you need movement.
Tracks that touch the darkness so you don’t have to – featuring artists like Slipknot • Eels • Rose Gray • Basement Jaxx • Crystal Castles • Eric Whiteacre • Opeth • Frightened Rabbit • Pearl Jam • Chris Cornell
29 September 2021
The maddening, frustrating and inspiring experience that is humanity, and our daily struggle as we move forward… – featuring artists like The Stylistics • Flobots • R.E.M. • Mavis Staples • World Party • tulengua • Paolo Nutini • The Jam
25 September 2021
24 September 2021
A MusicTo collaborative playlist of songs in and around one minute – featuring artists like The Clash • Bad Religion • M.I.A • Cru • Opeth • Pratley • BA Johnson • The Linda Lindas • Ramones
17 September 2021
sail a sea of sound where the only rule is “if it flows it goes” with Andrew & Matt – featuring artists like The Beatles • Enter Shikari • Alt-J • Band of Skulls • R.E.M. • Tame Impala • Stevie Wonder • Carpenter Brut
Be Inspired to make the journey as others have been inspired before you – featuring artists like Fortheringay • Orbital • The Stranglers • The Beautiful South • The Tallest Man on Earth • Yo La Tengo • Beirut • Soccer Mommy • Them Crooked Vultures • Dua Lipa
15 September 2021
Tracks where the piano – and occasionally the organ make all the difference – featuring artists like Tom Waits • James Leg • The Belfast Cowboys • Lou Reed • Joe Jackson • Wilco • World Party • Nina Simone
14 September 2021
No genre, no topic, no theme – but every track related by groove! – featuring artists like Elliott Murphy • Lo Fidelity Allstars • Joe Cocker • Lulu • Brent Cobb • Sister Sparrow • Steely Dan • Black Pumas
10 September 2021
24 August 2021
4 August 2021
Ritual – Ritual – Ritual
It’s what’s been running through my mind for a month now and I think I’m almost ready to commit. ‘cos that’s the hard part isn’t it – committing…
31 July 2021
Generally – as a rule – the tracks you find on this playlist don’t have lyrics – the reasoning being that if you’re writing – you don’t need someone else’s words taking up cognitive space. But it’s not really a rule – it’s more of a “best practice” – at the end of the day, tracks make this list if I’m able to write to them and wow – look at me typing…
29 July 2021
11 June 2021
13 April 2021
I was feeling sad – and I know why, but damn it’s so hard at times.
I’ve sat and watched as circumstance came in and deconstructed my defences one by one – constant pain leading to lack of sleep to lack of writing to lack of self care to lack of confidence to lack of hope to – STOP!
31 March 2021
There’s this idea in life that just because you know a thing it makes it easier to deal with.
Like sitting down with a therapist, driving through your history until you find the behavior that causes you, many years later, to run away from connection or drink too much or insist on cleaning everything 3 times.
30 January 2021
New year new start huh?!
Yeah – that didn’t exactly work out for me either – but – but – it’s the end of January and I’m feeling kinda – what’s that word – I used to use it all the time… it’s odd isn’t it – when you don’t use something for a while it removes itself – giving up space to something more popular – but I’m trying to remember now – what was it – oh yeah – Optimistic!…
26 January 2021
Aaaah yes, the choir – the harmonies, the frisson, the hairs standing up on the back of your neck as a soprano haunts your soul.
This is a winter track – best listened to while looking out the window – watching the outside – inclement weather is the perfect accompaniment…
16 December 2020
I’m all too familiar with the effects of becoming dependent upon drugs and alcohol – I don’t wish that on anyone – let alone myself – but in the immortal words of Irvine Welsh:
“People think it’s all about misery and desperation and death and all that shite, which is not to be ignored, but what they forget is the pleasure of it…
Sometimes it’s just so fucking bleak – the past, the present, the future – nothing’s right – everything’s wasted, me included. At times like this – I need something simple, something recognizable, something tangible that I can attach myself to – I need sonic salve.
While the organic opening to this track is rather foreboding, the subsequent six minutes of solid 4 by 4 electronic beats feels relentlessly optimistic…
8 December 2020
There’s music on this list that’s there to help production – to provide an energetic accompaniment to your writing or typing – the tracks are not terribly reflective – they’re there to help an existing idea manifest.
But what if you don’t have the idea? What if your muscle memory is all warmed up and ready to go but nothing’s coming out? How do you write your essay then?
I’m trawling along the bottom again – I don’t know why – honestly…
It’s the not knowing that kills – and not just you, but your loved ones too as you can’t articulate and are forced to watch as they project and hurt…
24 November 2020
One of the things I’m always looking out for on the essay writing list is repeatability – for tracks that you can put on a loop and then lose yourself for an hour – or longer. It’s why the tracks on this list skew much longer in length than your average 3 minute song…
19 November 2020
God I love the story tellers.
The lyricists who construct a reality you can step into, to experience it as if you were there – as if you knew the characters – who do it so seamlessly that – even if it is by proxy – you get to feel the emotions for real.
That’s the point of this list – it’s designed to make you feel – to connect with the emotions that we’re oh so good at keeping hidden, buried under guilt and social conditioning. Because when we don’t deal with those emotions – well – that’s when the bad shit happens…
18 November 2020
Sometimes all you need is the repetition.
I’ve written about this several times on the playlist – about the psychology of music – about expectation and dopamine and audio hacking and all those things that make music an effective tool for getting shit done, particularly in the creative writing space…
27 October 2020
Here you have two families from Gambia working with a UK producer and together they’ve managed to blend their two worlds into something that is – at least to my western ears – not just accessible, but joyful and intriguing and leaving me wanting to know more about both artists.
12 October 2020
That chorus hook could launch a thousand love songs, instead it’s here – working for you – creating the safety net for those of us who dared to try and ended up failing on the battlefield of love.
30 September 2020
I’m here looking for energy – I’m looking for deep groove – I’m looking for repetition, but not lame repetition – not something that just repeats and takes me nowhere.
I’m looking for a shepherd – a guide, a sonic soulmate that lifts me up and creates the universe while I write it all down…
I’m here again because I’m sad.
Which is kinda OK really – this being the music to grieve to playlist – but it’s more than the normal sadness – and while it’s not quite despair – it does feel overwhelming.
I could give you the exact point in time and particular reference – which you would all understand, if not necessarily appreciate – but that’s not the point of tracks like this…
18 September 2020
And sure – the track may not be for you – and if that’s so – feel free to skip it too – but if the blues, jazz, awesome piano playing and rock solid grooves make you smile – then stick this on repeat
9 September 2020
Insecure is a thought provoking and self empowering anthem, created on the soul purpose to inspire and uplift.
Featuring Mariea B adding a Rythmic Blues
“My track Sunrise or Sunset was inspired by the creative flow of working from home, being chill and not knowing if the light through the curtains is Sunrise or Sunset but the moment is bliss.”
22 August 2020
I’ve loved this song for as long as I can remember – certainly long before I understood what it was about.
There’s so many ways to appreciate it – from the gorgeous melody to Nina Simone’s stunning delivery, to the whiteness of its writers and how Porgy and Bess continues to force us to look at systemic inequities in American life: race, gender, disability and poverty…
20 August 2020
I see you – sitting at your keyboard – fingers at the ready, mind cycling with ideas and entry points – starting and stopping as each sentence leads to a dead end.
The idea of what you want to say teasingly present but unformed, elusive and hard to grasp…
23 July 2020
Who’s up for an alcohol induced ascent above the madness? And I’m not talking about some upbeat energetic overview where you’re in a balloon or an airplane and you’re feeling great about it all – no – I’m talking about a loose edged experience, laid back and fuzzy, where ‘cos you can’t see the ground, you don’t have to worry about it…
You know when you’re spoiled for choice, when you have so many options that you end up choosing none of them? There’s an interesting study involving Jam that the Harvard Business Review can tell you about – point being – I’m overwhelmed with amazing tracks that I could put on the essay writing list that I just don’t know where to start…
7 July 2020
We asked our musicto curators a simple question: ‘What’s a track that when you put it on – you can’t help but get up and dance?’ This playlist is their response…
23 June 2020
Some sheer unabashed emotional manipulation coming your way this week ;-p Yep – if you’re tired of your apartment’s four walls, let alone your roommate (or child’s) disinclination to shower – then I have a treat for you!..
18 June 2020
You know those days where for some god unknown reason you wake up and you just know it’s all going to be shit. And sure – we manifest what we project and all that good mental wellbeing stuff but sometimes – no matter how well I rig my defences and man the battlements with productivity tips and inspirational emails – I fail – and so despair climbs over the parapet like an assassin in a medieval movie and quietly slips its blade into my hope…
17 June 2020
Ever found yourself singing along to a lyric that in retrospect makes no sense at all – but at the time – couldn’t have been any more perfect? And I don’t mean just singing – I mean throwing your head back and wailing like a drunken banshee as you attempt to expel the pit of grief from your stomach…
Yes! I thought you might have – me too – if so – you’ll probably dig this track…
11 June 2020
I don’t know about you but I’m currently looking for energy – for input, for impetus, for encouragement to start – to begin – to beat inertia – know what I mean?
I’m not looking for complex – not looking for something to take me on a journey – I’m looking for something to help me start my own…
9 June 2020
Time ticks by, the world changes, people change, culture changes and yet – somethings don’t.
The ebb and flow of joy and grief – both experienced in contrast to the other – is a constant that the human condition will never escape. Right now joy’s in short supply and grief seems to be dominating the planet – but if history tells us anything – it’s that this too shall pass…
15 May 2020
There’s all kinds of music to write to out there – hell, I’m pretty sure we feature all of them on this list – but there are certain styles that have a direct path to the part of my brain that will get me to start writing. Nick Rezo’s Post London is one of them.
11 May 2020
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend on the Grieve to list of late where – for one reason or another – the tracks are becoming a little more optimistic – a little more hopeful. And while yes – there are times when that’s appropriate – it’s the sadness of a track that we’re drawn to – the pure melancholy of a love remembered or a life cut short – or – as with this week’s track – both!..
18 April 2020
Are we doomed?
Is this how it’s going to be?
Damn I hope not…
31 March 2020
I’m writing this at the end of March – typically the time when students are turning their minds to final exams and beginning to get into a writing groove. I know this because April and May are peak streaming months for instrumental music.
You’d think that with the Covid 19 nightmare things would be a little different this year – but apparently no – students may not be going into school, but assignments are still in place and exams are looming.
17 March 2020
Do you have hope?
I know – it’s a heavy question – particularly at this time of writing when the corona virus is reshaping the planet – but – maybe because of that – the question has validity.
Do you really?
Do you have hope?…
12 March 2020
Habits are weird aren’t they – the ones that are good for you are hard to establish and easy to break while the ones that are bad for you – well – yes – hello smack habit!…
4 March 2020
Andrew, founder of musicto.com talks with Aili and Jimmy from Washington state based First the Winter about Identity.
19 February 2020
You know – sometimes – I’m guessing more times than we care to admit – you just have to do the fucking work.
You have to continue showing up – moving the muscles – doing whatever manifestation it is you do – but doing it – even when it brings you no joy.
And that’s a weird ass thing isn’t it?!
I’ve been thinking a lot about Music to Grieve To and and about what kind of playlist I want it to be. The idea is solid – both for the audience – in that listening to sad music is good for you – and for artists because hell, if you can’t write a sad song – then – maybe this game isn’t for you!..
31 January 2020
I just wrote something i’m kinda proud of. Not that I’m a big fan of pride – it being one of the seven deadly sins or so – but – i really had to work at this one – it took me a long time to work out what i wanted to say and – in the process of doing that – it changed me and will change my behavior in the future…
It’s taken me a while to write this – I don’t know why – maybe it’s because I’m looking at it from the outside in – knowing that I should feel grief for what’s happening – and yet – not quite connecting with it.
It’s not like I don’t have ties to Australia – my sister’s family live in Sydney – I’ve seen pictures of their favorite beach nothing but flames. Hell, I live in California where towns are getting wiped out every year and the idea of LA burning up doesn’t seem so strange…
30 January 2020
Have you ever listened to Music to Fight Evil?
Have you ever taken time to read the write ups?
I’m writing to highly recommend it!
On the week that Jon publishes his 100th track I thought it might be cool to throw a little spotlight on one of the true OG playlists on musicto…
19 December 2019
It’s that time of year again, isn’t it?
For westerners or even caucasian southerners the mood is definitely upbeat as people prepare for Christmas and the new year festivities. But for those who are smack in the middle of the grieving process, it can be brutal…
17 December 2019
Sadness is the most underrated emotion and often the most unwanted. The expression “Don’t be Sad” is bandied around like a punctured prophylactic when instead we could be listening and demonstrating true empathy…
11 December 2019
One of my favorite lines from last year was:
“inspirational quotes – in quotes – make me want to throw up – preferably on the person who posted them.”
It was Autumn Dawn Leader’s track that resulted in that particular piece of invective and I’m so grateful to her for the inspiration 🙂
10 December 2019
I’m all about the wonder of being alive at the moment.
I think this is a good thing – particularly having come off a period where being alive seemed to be a rather depressing experience.
But like any good pendulum – I’m swinging back the other way and damn is it good to be on the planet!…
5 December 2019
They say love should be loved again, you just have to wait.A cure is on the way.They say love can ́t be owned or it can ́t be claimed.Give up what you cannot have.
4 December 2019
While stores and restaurants have been busy hanging decorations the moment the Halloween costumes were stashed away, there’s always been a certain restraint when it comes to radio and how they handle Christmas. Well – I say restraint in that they generally don’t start “Christmas Music” until December 1st – thank God – but after that, restraint goes right out the window as it’s a constant onslaught of Bieber to Band Aid, Bing to Bublé – and that’s just one letter of the alphabet!..
20 November 2019
What I look for on this list is not outstanding production – outstanding melody – something new – no – what I look for is humanity – is pure authentic honesty – is the expression of what it’s like to be human – to live and reveal the power that loss of love can evoke…
19 November 2019
What are you guilty of?
I’m guilty of getting this playlist wrong.
To be clear – while every artist and track are here on their own merits – this mea culpa has nothing to do with their process – but with mine…
11 November 2019
There’s nothing like falling into a creative hole – it doesn’t matter what you’re doing – whether you’re writing a novel, a symphony or leading a community – it’s never the falling in that’s the hard part – it’s the climbing out that scares the shit out of you – what if you never make it…?
8 November 2019
And I’m ready to fightAnd I’m ready to fightAnd I’m ready to fightyou tonighttonight, tonight, tonight
Oh hell yes! ‘Cos that’s the ultimate truth isn’t it – at the end of day – there’s only one person that’s going to get you out of the hole…
30 October 2019
The problem with any kind of mental disorder – the kind of thing that grief is especially good at kick starting – is that it’s not visible, not tangible, it’s misunderstood and misdiagnosed and treatment options are scary. Not only that – there’s a stigma around it – a level of shame – that we’re going to be forever tainted and mistrusted and god forbid that anyone should find out…
23 October 2019
Sometimes it’s terrifying to create – which is ridiculous really but – sometimes that’s just how it is. I know this is probably more relevant to people writing creatively for a living rather than people writing essays for a grade – but the underlying mechanisms aren’t too dissimilar…
16 October 2019
Why is it so bloody hard at times?
Why do the lessons learned before offer no solutions to the same problems?
Why do you sit there with a laundry list of things to do and yet – you’re stuck – immobile – watching every second tick away and add to the ever increasing mountain of guilt and self loathing and fear…
9 October 2019
Music to Grieve To doesn’t always have to be sad – in fact – Music to Grieve To can be anything you want it to be. The whole point of this – for me anyway – is that music makes life better – and when you’re grieving – having something that can make the slightest difference – is worth it….
4 October 2019
Not sure how long it’s going to last but I’m still on a beats kick – literally – a snare and kick drum kick. I’ve been running all week and kinda fell off the planet yesterday which has me in all kinds of catch up mode and in need of something to pick me up…
2 October 2019
27 September 2019
I’m late into the week – it’s not so much that I’m rushing – more that I’ve been so focused and productive over the last few months that I can feel my body and mind start to wane. And of course – I don’t have time for that – I need to keep going – preferably at the same pace as before and yet – I know it’s unsustainable, so what to do?
24 September 2019
Andrew, founder of musicto.com talks with Maria from Music to Explore Everything about what we look for in new curators – the behaviors and qualities that we think make a good playlist curator.
What’s the point?
You ever find yourself asking that?
The point of this playlist is to bring succor to people who are grieving. That’s it. We listen to and feature songs that we hope people can resonate with and perhaps elicit a cathartic release – at the very least – to help them feel less alone…
20 September 2019
My name is Sonya Alexander, I currently reside in New York City. I’m a freelance writer.
2/ Is This Something You Always Wanted To Do? What Do You Enjoy About It?
I’ve always loved writing, because I’ve always loved informing people and entertaining them. ..
This week it’s about the beats – again!
Soul, funk, hip hop jazz – combine those together and your’e going to get something like Mr. Scruff’s Hairy Bumpercress groove. I love these kind of tracks – it’s been on repeat for the last 30 minutes and my head just can’t stop moving – fortunately neither can my fingers…
18 September 2019
It’s still September. We’re still talking about Suicide. We’re doing this because the experts tell us that the more we talk about it – the more we bring it into the open – the less likely it is that people will go through with it.
And yet – people still do…
13 September 2019
My name is Ben Young, just moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Spent the first half of my life in California, from the San Francisco Bay Area to San Diego. Spent the last half of my life in the South, from Georgia to Virginia. I currently lead a national contact center for one of the largest parking companies in the world…
11 September 2019
So it’s September – and for the Grieve To list – that means our thoughts turn to suicide.
Yep – if you didn’t know – September is Suicide Awareness Month – it’s also National Suicide Prevention Month and in fact right now – between the 8th and the 14th – it’s actually National Suicide Prevention Week. If you are in any doubt as to the impact suicide has on society – spend a minute here: Suicide Statistics – the rate inches up every year – and as a middle aged white male – well – I’m slap bang in the highest risk group…
10 September 2019
Who’s up for a 12 minute ripping yarn full of danger, hope and heroism? Who’s ready to be carried back to wartime as peaceful pianos, bobbing synths and powerful guitars tell the tale of a legendary ship and its storied history?…
5 September 2019
Alright – we’re picking ourselves up and out from the lethargy of the dog days of summer and leaping – yes that’s right – I said LEAPING – into Autumn. While some people fall back into this particular season, I say HELL NO – it’s time to fall forward – it’s time to move on from the calming tranquil nature of soft piano tones and beautiful soundscapes and into something – how shall we say – a little more energetic!..
4 September 2019
They’re good – most of the time – generally derived from society’s desire to not kill each other and in some cases – to actually be nice to one another. But every now and then – particularly when you’re so down you don’t really give a shit about what people think – rules are there to be broken…
27 August 2019
Sometimes one idea is all it takes.
And it doesn’t need to be a big idea or even a terribly well formed one – but from the moment it comes into existence – it can change your life.
Los and Found literally grabbed me by the ear yesterday and said “write about me”…
22 August 2019
Simple is hard – particularly in today’s complex and complicated world.
I was running down the credits of the tracks at the top of Spotify’s “Todays Top Hits” playlist (with its 23 million+ subscribers) and of the top 5 or 6 tracks – the average number of songwriters was around 7. Even over on Rap Caviar it averages around 3 people to write the track – let alone perform it…
21 August 2019
Peace everyone, I’m Kenneth Alan, live from The Bay Area California.
Currently working with my pops n brother in the framing business. This allows me the time and freedom to put the necessary training and energy into my personal art, dance…
I have the best job in the world!
Being so deeply involved in the musicto community I tend to hear all the tracks that are being published each week – the diversity is amazIng and yet – the consistency of quality is incredible…