When it comes to painting and writing, there is one environmental element I cherish most: a great album. But it can't be any great album, it must meet specific criteria. First off, it must set a mood conducive to creative endeavors. Although I love Slayer, double-bass 178 beats per minute riffs are distracting, so mellow works best. It's imperative that the album sets an engaging tone, whether sentimental, longing, melancholic, reflective, hopeful, or somber. Another requirement is that every track must be good. When I'm elbow-deep in turpentine and yellow ochre, paintbrush swinging wildly, I can't afford to venture over to the CD player to forward ahead tracks.
Here are the all-stars in my current rotation:
- Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain
- David Gray - White Ladder
- Leona Naess - Comatised
- Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
- Mazzy Star - Among My Swan
- Norah Jones - Come Away With Me
- Spain - She Haunts My Dreams
- Sheryl Crow - Sheryl Crow
- Shawn Colvin - A Few Small Repairs
In the past few weeks, I've added two new ones that haven't left the CD player:
- Beck - Sea Change
- Garden State soundtrack
I was never a fan of Beck's previous work, so it surprised me how much I like Sea Change. It's a wonderfully intimate album. The Garden State soundtrack elicits a strong association as I reflect back on scenes from the movie and their tone.