What Music Do You Use For Inspiration???

Filed in Astro-Music

Model with Ghetto Blaster on Great Wall of China

A while ago we did the sign by sign what-music makes you all emo & nostalgic but this is different.  I am interested in what music you use when you HAVE to be inspired. So you are about to paint something amazing, create the most awesome food, finish your book – you know, something that requires the right soundscape…so it’s not your emo soothing stuff, your gym thrash-disco playlist nor even the cool shit you might put on when visitors present. What works & yes, it would be interesting to do this by Sun Sign. And in fact, whilst we are here, what other little tricks do you have for sparking creativity & zapping your brainwaves back to where they ought to be…?

Image: Chen Man

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49 thoughts on “What Music Do You Use For Inspiration???

  1. Well, I’m a cap, and when I need that perfect combination of inspiration and focus, I listen to music that’s very textured, layered, stuff I can get between the layers of. I find Tori Amos fits the bill sometimes, but also Modest Mouse and (this may surprise you) Paul Simon’s Graceland album. I wrote most of my thesis (a collection of essays on myth, identity and family) while listening to Paul Simon. 😀

  2. Sun sign = Aqua

    True inspiration/self expression: Nothing, it just takes me off my own vibe

    Need to get the creative job done a la deadline / client brief = “be creative”: Anything with a beat or tune that grabs. NO LYRICS (to get in the way)!

    In the old days, pacing with a cigarette would do wonders for train of thought…nowdays, discipline i.e. not letting myself do anything else until this bloody *edit* *animation* *writing*, *treatment*, *whatever* is done.

    • Aquamaide,

      With you on the ‘no music + pacing’ formula for getting the brain going. I seem to think better on my feet too.

      Sun in Lib, but Aqua Asc – maybe there is something in that?

      • Amen to that. I’m a sun Libra with pisces rising and I can’t do anything creative with music in the background. Or if anything, very quiet, repetetive stuff. And yes to movement for inspiration!

  3. OMG Mary – YES, Graceland is a major influence on my life. Can’t use anything when trying to say my own thing / speak from my throat etc . BUT there’s something in that album that’s helped me through my own “WTF?”

    AND, some of the significant guys in my timeline, (all Earth) – love that album. It seems to sum up their own understanding of reality.

    would love to read your thesis

  4. sag – variety – use tempo, beat, bpm, genre etc according to act of execution

    as to tricks for sparking creativity – lol cleansing and prep rituals, reference scouring and working collaboratively, all to according soundtracks

    dj to the muse, shes a flippant beast in taste, zens the way to go, tune into her moods

  5. Saggo here. And I tune into my Pandora.com stations I’ve made for such relaxful pursuits. One is themed on Debussy & other composers with similar styles, the other station contains simple piano centric jazz with just an upright bass & drumset accompanying. No vocals on these, as anything with lyrics and I’d get distracted from what I’m focusing on.

  6. Cancer with Leo Moon sign here-

    Industrial Music picks me up and makes me GO!
    Baking, sewing, cleaning, writing letters you name it-
    i want something INDUSTRIAL or Synthpop

    i.e. Faderhead, Orange Sector, Agonoize, Panzer AG

    must have lyrics – “techno” music drives me nuts!

    and if i’m not already in the mood to do something, i need to wait til the mood strikes, or else i’ll end up working hard to no avail, failed cakes and cookies, a torn apart room that i stop in the middle of cleaning and cannot put back together…

  7. i go for mega femme like tori amos, bjork, ani di franco, jeff buckley…. amy winehouse has recently made the list….

    anything too light and i just end up flitting to another project – such as, cleaning the bathroom. real good.

  8. i cant listen to music when i work in any way shape or form. aqua, virgo rising.

    i love music and im way into it therefore it disrupts my concentration. the inspiration is the work, the anticipation of it and then being in it. i know that sounds wanky but its totally pragmatic.

    when im not working im massively into dub step, old punk, new folk, dancehall, ike and tina turner, 80s miles davis, northern soul, loads of different things. i put music on in between.

  9. *Too funny, dreamed I had this very same hair (2 big fuzzballs) this morning- it was all about the teasing & backcombing to create -voila- a perfectly magnif look…thats a Leo/Virgo dream if ever…!

    I used to play Mozart to sooth my newborn, & realised it worked a treat on me…I also love sitar/sarod & tabla, I adore the sound of tabla, it takes me away in a beat.

    I’m with Aquamaide I find lyrics a little too much to deal with.

  10. i play grace jones when i wanna get inspired before hitting the town. sometimes betty davis. she is hot mama. i imagine david would like betty.


  11. As I’m writing I need silence…yet I use music sometimes to shift my headspace…to tease out a problem so that then I can sit in silence. Alternatively something physical helps too.

    Music that mind shifts me sometimes can be something as heavy as Wagner or Rammstein, sometimes the soundtrack to Swingers, anything by The Doors, The Faint, The Go Betweens, John Coltrane, Joy Division, certain tracks by The Knife, ‘You make me like charity’ and ‘We share our Mother’s health’, The Raptures ‘House of Jealous Lovers’, Nina Simone and The Smiths. I’ve got a CD somewhere of Swamp music that does the trick too.

    I don’t get the urge to paint often, but a couple of years ago I did put brush to canvas after a long break and had Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ on a continual loop.

    Leo sun

  12. Virgo sun, cancer moon, saggo rising. L’Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud by Miles Davis or pretty much any old school funk. If I had to get particular I’d name the Bar Kays, Sly Stone, Dazz and Con Funk Shun. I gave birth to the Staple Singers and Stevie Wonder. That was pretty inspiring!

    • i couldn’t commit myself to one type or even a list of music for inspiration, but anything that takes me to daydream land where I can re-integrate my thoughts and let ideas / concepts / colours etc drift into my mind is inspiring. I don’t know – really depends on the mood but for actual sparking creativity ad brainwave zapping into the me-zone, i think things like Air, goldfrapp, meeshell n’dege ocello (spelling), anything with soul, maybe some synths and not too much crashing around takes me to the right place. To do mundane tasks like cleaning, I need fast, heavy, loud…

      other stuff I do to get back to my , well, creative centre would be (many and varied depending on needs!)
      – cleaning / decluttering
      – organising my creative things – going thru piles of inspiring materials, sorting fabrics, looking up new options online, get a new art mag or textiles / craft mag
      – get back to nature – serious alone time , me and the bush / flowers / empty beach
      – swimming at beach no matter how cold – just that icy system reset
      – meditation / yoga
      i have noticed that none of those tasks involve other people too. they sort of scramble my focus when i am trying to ‘reset’…

      • I find it interesting that you find an environment sans people helps the reset. For the most part so do I…but every now and then I’ll be having a coffee with someone and by verbalising what I’m stuck on…boom..breakthrough.

        • Just walked away and realised that the verbal helps me reframe, rather than reset…often the same result ala creativity, just a different pathway.

          • true LL…yes sometimes the reframe with others is a boon – i find that helps with ‘life issues’ e.g. job dilemmas, love, interpersonal stuff… 🙂 my mates have good “EQ”

  13. Pisces Sun, Taurus ascendant, Sag moon.

    Bjork, Bjork Bjork. When I listen to her music I shut my eyes and it takes me places. Its emotional, but not heavy. you can enjoy it. I also love world music

  14. Well like the other Aquarian’s, I would have to agree with the inspiration coming from within for stuff. And by stuff, I mean everything. You know how people use personal trainers at the gym to motivate them, I don’t coz it’d be a waste of money. If I’m motivated, I’ll do it myself and if someone tries to pep me up and motivate me and I’m not interested, they basically get a big “fuq off!” from me lol

    But I will say that I do use music to concentrate. I find deep beat trance is the go, it’s like it matches my concentration wavelength or something and I get uber focus. Nothing with vocals though! That totally ruins my mojo because I forget everything and start singing along with it.

    I love how music can influence you thought, mood-wise. Poppy/dancy 90’s music gets me all nostalgic, industrial/drum and bass for gaming (lol), Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac for mellowing out/doing house work hehe

  15. Anything by Sequoia Records.com & Higher Octave.com. Gives good groove..

    Lucinda Williams gives me strength…not inspiration. Maybe inspiration to be strong.

    Bizet when wanting to block Demented Virgo Neigbour’s noise.

    Midori & YogaZone for bodywork.
    In-spir-ation means to breathe in…spire…spirit, so some good deep circlular breathwork
    IN spires vis a vis EX spires by inviting Spirit.

  16. Phillip Glass solo piano pieces get me into creative work consciousness instantly. Try the ‘Metamorphosis’ pieces and the soundtrack to ‘The Hours’. Handel’s Messiah can kickstart, and I frequently do my hands on work to Mozart.

    The other day was feeling frazzled at the thought of the amount of work I have in front of me (I bow to you Saturn) and found Leonard Cohen put me into a more civilised and highbrow mood.

    • ooh – leonard cohen. that gave me goosebumps. i am a latecomer to his music but I LOve it

      • It’s funny (to me) that I really enjoy Leonard and Nick Cave and play tham a lot for sheer pleasure, but they don’t reset my mind. They more reflect where my head is most days anyway.

  17. Cap sun. I find whatever is appropriate for what I’m creating is my thing.

    Sorry to be vague, but different bpm, tonality, voices, lyrics, non-lyrics, emotional vibes definitely summons up different muses.

    Right now (accidentally just typed “write now”), I’m writing a rom com and I’m finding “Sick Muse” by Metric is getting me through a tough patch. I always have a signature track that tends to prevail with each project.

    I think it’s just the visualising that helps me get creative and sometimes it’s something very random that triggers off a flash! of genius. Even an ad or snippet of music on TV. So then I google it, download it and once I’ve finished the project/ creative whim, I usually find the same music so dull and redundant. That’s why I avoid my fave songs when need inspiration. I tend to hate them afterwards…

  18. Sitar music gets me up off my butt and away from the computer for some much needed Yoga stretching.

  19. Gypsy music and tango for when I want to access deep creative reserves. For my creative work I need sexy, hip-stirring – often Nina Simone, 50s burlesque tracks, 40s swing, Nick Cave.

    The Smiths always make my heart soar and I’ve just discovered The Red Riders. Their song ‘Ordinary’ is my current song crush.

    Libra – Taurus rising – Aqua moon.

  20. Oh wow there isn’t much different between music for inspiration & the gym thrash music! lol… Here is some from my playlist

    Flower duet from lakme
    Glosoli from sigur ros
    Don’t look back from telepopmusik
    silence from delirium
    All is full of love (radio string mix) from bjork
    Yellow from coldplay

    ……& then there is
    Confessions on a dancefloor by madonna, it inspires me somehow lol.


  21. bill callahan (aka smog).
    can cheer me up, chill me out, get me dancing, tells great stories, has great guitar bits, a beautifully soothing deep baritone, and a heap of albums. I could, and at times do, listen to him all day.

    but otherwise, my inspiration via music depends what ‘thing’ i’m excited about at the time. i went on a instrumental guitar (eg mick turner, dirty three, because of ghosts, bombazine black) thing for a while, good to work to. and a daptone records funk thing, and a literary lyrics (decemberists, the national) thing, and so on and so forth. so inspiration depends.

  22. Marvin Gaye “Whats Goin On”
    Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”
    U2 “Achtung Baby”
    Beatles “Abbey Road”

    Anything with a Keith Richards riff.

    That just about covers it!

  23. pisces sun.

    not doing much creative at the moment, but i’ve downloaded a few songs off the gladiator soundtrack (the ones with the lisa gerard vocals) and some tibetan flute music and they give me really nice kind of mental focus that is otherwise lacking in my life! also

    I’m not a big opera fan, but In the depths of the temple from The Pearl Fishers by Bizet is excruciatingly beautiful.

    And when i need to get back in touch with who i really am, its muse muse muse and a bit more muse!

  24. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s song “Why walk when you can fly” always inspires me. Also Hothouse Flowers version of “I can see clearly now the rain has gone”.

    And then if I’ve been uninspired because I’m distracted by man troubles I can’t resist Tim O’Brien’s “If I can’t live without you – then how come I ain’t dead?” – a sly nudge at how histrionic and hysterical and misleading our feelings can be.

  25. depends – usually music of any genre will suffice (bar R&B, core techno, reggae & hard core).

    to kill background noise – Air or Massive Attack can play on rote.

    counting down to a production deadline – beastie boys

    current inspiration / feel good – Danger Mouse & Julain Casablancas (from The Strokes) – due to record company complications the album was released containing a recordable CD – encouraging the pirate download. the album was the soundtrack to David Lynch’s recent art xhib in swank LA gallery. there’s no formal clip – but check amazing water formations to the track!!


  26. Hall of the Mountain King from the Pier Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg. Gets me going every time. Capricorn Sun.

  27. JS Bach, the solo cello suites

    anything Mozart

    frequently Schubert

    some say the Trinity, father, son and holy ghost (that’s not original BTW!)

    toro sun, kataka rising, virgo moon

  28. Aqua sun.

    There’s so much music to choose…

    The Sundays especially. ‘Folk Song’, ‘On Earth’…

  29. Depends what I’m doing:

    –Drawing, collaging, anything visual/in a sketchbook: Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, the Beatles

    –Wrting: I need wordless things. If it’s a paper I need to bust through, Ratatat works wonders. For fiction and poetry mostly Bach (cello suites by Yo Yo Ma), Yann Tiersen, and Max Richter.

    Scorp sun, Leo asc, Cap moon.

  30. Sun-Taurus, leo moon, scorp rising
    I love sade, emilie simone, les nubians and other foreign artist. I love music from all around the world even if I can’t understand the language. I have moon, mars and jupiter in the leo 9th house.

  31. I particularly love Enya for inspiration of an other worldly type and for visualization, massage work, background while doing desk stuff.

    Today downloaded twenty additional Enya’s to my ipod. Some oldies but goodies I haven’t heard in years. Currently have on “Pax Deorum” (Memory of Trees) and all things Enya while book typing/copying chapters onto current computer which is time consuming but reliving the past is interesting.

    And like David and Ms. Mo, I’ll always love U2 and find it inspirational…Achtung is a fave

  32. Rising: Gemini Sun: Aries Moon: Scorpio
    Oh yes I love Enya’s songs Sail away(including the techno remix) & that other one…I think it was called Only Time or something.

    Whatever I’m doing I can’t go anywhere without my ipod. In the morning I like to blast it while I put on make up and get dressed. I useally prefer faster paced music in the morning so I don’t drag. I useally have my ipod on shuffle. My taste in music is kinda random I mostly like music from the late 60’s-Now. Under ground rap-mainstream tunes
    I like all kinds of techno music, and helps wake up my brain.

    In Michigan, it can suck living here in the winter at times. Music that helps keep the winter blues away would be Kotton Mouth Kings, also Regge Jamacian type music like Akon, UB40, Inner Circle, and that Dolla Wine song by Byron Lee.
    I use to download lots and lots of music off of limewire. But my laptop died, cause I used up all the memory. So I’ve pretty much have had to start over again, my friend let me copy her Fray cds. Ahhh!!! I am ready to take it off! Its depressing to me, like the guy just sounds depressed when he sings. I really only like one song by them.

  33. gemini sun/scorpio moon
    l listen to experimental electronica when creating something, it works best