My Top Five Albums for Coding Brilliantly

I’m neither a savant nor even normally talented at coding. I need a lot of motivators, and I forget a lot of stuff quickly. Therefore, the 280 BPM “I just dropped a postage stamp -sized serving of acid followed by some E, let’s dance and hump” type of electronic music just doesn’t do it for me, like it does for a lot of other coders and programmers out there.


Much like Jaegermeister and Marb 100s, this kind of music and coding just does NOT do it for me anymore as a combination.

When I code — I need to slow down, be mindful, and get in the zone.

When I code, I’m in my own world: no outside communication, no interruptions — just me and my text editor of choice. It’s a special way of turning on, tuning in, and dropping out, *mostly* without the narcissism (and, ideally, with a cool production at the end of the session). But I can’t just listen to the tap-tap-tappety-tap of my fingers; I need a aural boost to inspire. So, I thought, “Hey, why not make a list of what I jam on?” So…I did.  These are my top five albums for getting in the zone.


This album is twenty years old — holy crap, I’m old! Holla! Just a few months ago, some user uploaded its entirety to YouTube, which I have been waiting for for YEARS (it’s a super hard to find CD). This album is a ’90s trip into the darker elements of the genre. I first discovered this album back in the early ’00s at a ghetto-ish Goodwill thrift store in Brooklyn Center, right outside Minneapolis. I don’t even think it had a jewel case, but the soft neon orange of the disc made me snag it, even though it was a $1 and scratched to hell and halfway back. Maybe the fog of reminiscence is getting in my eyes, but there is something dark, sinister, and brilliant about this kind of music created in the mid-90s. This stuff makes me want to create all night, into the dark morning.


Preface: This album has lyrics. Preface #2: doesn’t matter. Preface #3: Karin Elisabeth Dreijer is a dark shaman who is the one living Swede that can perfectly summarize my mindset when approaching bits, bytes, and the various colors of worms in

3.ROYKSOPP — Melody A.M.(2001)


Another album where I’m like…”THIS ALBUM IS 15 YEARS OLD?! DAYUMMMMMMM!” This bad boy still sounds fresh with some dirty-alley drum patterns and textures, and that bassline is sick on the track opener. This is less an album and more a voyage, and is especially good for late hours when you need a pick-me-up or are hitting your stride. My fingers keep up with the BPMs (which are reasonable, but never lagging) and text flows out my fingers like mini-lightning bolts of wonder.


I have used this album as a healing salve, as a study partner, and now as an aide to help express myself in typing weird things on an illuminated 15″ box. I even recorded a YouTube video about it a few years back to share how much I love it. If you’re trying to mellow out your blood pressure when figuring out some frustrating coding issue (which I seem to have by the minute), queue up this album. Miles Davis explored the world with his instrument, and with his bandmates created a true masterpiece.


This has been my go-to album when nothing makes sense in coding. Everything about this release has a light touch, easing the JavaScript if/else statements out of me like sap on the pine tree. Originally released in 2010, this is soft electronica for the sensitive set. Dude, seriously. Press play, and forget the pain.

Like I said — when I code, I’m in my own world, my own zone. Sometimes you need a little boost to take you even further. I’ve shared what I dig — what about you all? Are you a 280 BPM sort of coder, or do you prefer something a little softer? Or, maybe even a little harder?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. guest says:

    The carbon based life form album sounds awesome. Non-drowsy, simple, and catchy. Nice. And you can never go wrong with Miles.


    1. YouTube’s algorithms for music are finally starting to work again and it’s only by chance I stumbled upon the CBL album. It’s due for another spin tonight! Thanks for reading!


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