By Craig Clarke
November 26, 2019
A great deal of focus is required to proofread technology marketing copy. In an open office environment, where impromptu meetings can start anytime and anywhere, finding that focus can be difficult. But that’s what headphones are for.
Music is just enough to give my divertible brain something to occupy itself. (“Here, kid, play with this. Daddy’s got to work.”) It’s too distracting to listen to lyrics while reading about storage, networking, switches, and teraFLOPS. There simply aren’t enough songs about hyperconverged infrastructure to help me focus on the task. (Before I wrote that sentence, I didn’t think there were any. There’s at least one.)
I’ll often cycle through phases of jazz and classical. Most often, however, a steady beat best redirects my brain from external distractions, so I can tackle a white paper, sales guide, solution brief, or yet another PowerPoint, with the energy real focus requires.
Spotify has become an unexpected necessity in my workday because the sheer breadth of music available means I can usually find what I’m looking for: rock instrumentals. I’ve compiled a list of bands I can depend on to offer just the right background music for when I want the only words in my head to be the ones on the page.
Causa Sui is a Danish psychedelic-rock quartet and my current favorite for proofreading due to their long, jazzy, psychedelic instrumentals with a sludgy desert-rock base. They combine a droning undercurrent of low-note guitar riffs with a melodic sensibility that appeals to the multi-genre aficionado in me. Live in Copenhagen captures the release parties for two of their albums. That the band improves on the studio cuts is a pleasant surprise given that they rarely play live.
Øresund Space Collective orbits around its founder, Scott Heller (Dr. Space), but this space-rock combo’s rotating membership has seen around 30 other musicians come and go. All of their music is improvised, meaning even their concerts and live albums (such as Out into Space) are one-of-a-kind events with nothing from their studio albums.
Tracks can range anywhere from 2 minutes to 42, however long it takes to fully explore the ideas. These songs are easy to settle into for a good, long proofread. Their sheer unpredictability results in somewhat uneven output, but there’s always something new to discover, especially since they are generous in uploading their concerts to the Internet Archive.
Nightwish is a Finnish symphonic-metal band. (Think Trans-Siberian Orchestra with a Scandinavian twist.) They are best known for their music with vocals, but they have released deluxe/special editions of a few of their albums with instrumental versions of the songs. Their instrumentals stand well on their own, delivering a solid, energizing beat, perfect for when another cup of coffee isn’t doing the trick.
One thing that ties the bands in this article together is a solid beat, and ambient rock duo The American Dollar combine their atmospheric noodlings on guitar and keyboard with drums that keep the energy up. Other ambient artists try to soothe, but this band understands that rhythm is important.
These are some of my top instrumental rock choices when I need to proofread. They also work for writing, driving, mowing, and anything else that requires you to block out the outside world and focus on the task at hand. Hopefully, this helps you with your focus and is only the beginning of a journey of musical discovery.
With meticulous attention to detail, Craig is a proofing guru and copyeditor—a true wordsmith with a pun for all occasions. He loves to learn new things, so he’s always reading and welcomes recommendations. He can be crotchety, but his wonderful wife and two amazing kids keep him from descending into full curmudgeonhood. He appreciates that.View our Team