I've always liked the idea that the music I listen to while creating a comic will somehow seep into the work I'm doing. I've made specific playlists filled with songs that gave me the feeling I wanted to have in a given project I've been working on. I don't think it really works that way for me, though. The specific playlists I've made for specific projects just don't end up getting listened to. Instead, what I've found is the best work music for me is Kraftwerk's The Man-Machine.
One reason is because it's not too wordy. Words will distract me if I'm working on story ideas and dialogue. This is true with music where the lyrics are dominant as well was with podcasts. Wordy things are fine if I'm doing something that is somewhat mechanical like cross-hatching, but if I'm figuring out plot elements or page layouts, words need to be minimal.
Another reason is that The Man-Machine is not too propulsive. Music with big guitars or driving beats just make me anxious when I'm trying to draw. I love LCD Soundsystem, but I can't sit still when I hear North American Scum. I think Andrew WK is great, but that just makes me want to go outside and go for a run. The Man-Machine fits perfectly in this middle area. It's got steady beats, but it's something that doesn't make me want to jump out of my seat.
Among Kraftwerk albums, I think The Man-Machine works best because it's not too experimental. I think Radio-Activity is probably my favorite of their albums, but it's got static, extended sections of just oscillators, spoken-word bits, and radio tuning. It's an album that demands you listen to it, and so, similar to podcasts or lyric-driven music, it just ends up being distracting. Other albums are more similar to The Man-Machine, but it always seems that there is a track or two that ends up not being conducive to my drawing.
The Man-Machine wasn't an album that I chose to be my work music, it's just the album that I find myself listening to the most and returning to again and again. For the most recent book I've been working on, I tried to avoid it and instead listen to the Social Network soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It just didn't have the same feel though, and I have found myself switching back to The Man-Machine. Perhaps I've simply conditioned myself now, so when I hear the opening of The Robots, I just feel like drawing.
The Mochlos Skull and No Fair by Glynnis Fawkes
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Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero by Michael DeForge
Red Letter Media
The Man-Machine by Kraftwerk