Music as a tool

I started my 30-day “challenge” of waking up at 6AM every morning (weekends included) to work on creative stuff. I might write, read, code or work on a side project. But I will always try to write for at least 5 minutes in order to get the juices flowing.

If you know me, you're aware music is one of my passions. Not in the sense of knowing every song or artist that has ever played a tune, but more on the power that music has on me.

For me, music has been a tool to do better work. Just like exercising or other tools for personal growth.

I enjoy almost all types of music but I listen to electronic music more than anything. My favorite group is Above & Beyond and almost every artist that makes up their Anjunadeep label. I've been a fan for more than a decade now. Their music is different. It's innovative. Some of their songs would be considered modern techno and others progressive electronic music (I don't like to categorize music). They tend to combine melodic rhythms and beautiful voices from the likes of Zoë Johnston and others.

Listening to their music does to your body what reading a good books does to your imagination.

This song by Nox Vahn and Marsh from the Ajunadeep label is a great example of what I mean.

from Anjunadeep Record Label - Original Mixes

I play their faster songs when I run or work out, and leave the smoother ones for whenever I'm focused working. Their music has the ability to put you in the right mood. It inspires, with a slight touch of the future.

iTunes Radio

I discovered A&B through iTunes' internet radio around 2005. I was listening to a radio station (can't remember which exactly) when a few of their songs were played. I remember their music just clicked with me. I got obsessed, so I began following them wherever I could.

Two years before that, my parents had just gotten me a new Apple iBook. It was my first Macintosh computer and iTunes was just getting started. The iPod had been released a few years before but it wasn't successful yet.

Buying a Macintosh was very different back then. Electronic stores didn't even sell them locally. I lived in Puerto Rico and there was only one "authorized reseller" selling Apple computers from his house. You'd have to call and make an appointment to go see the laptops. Nice guy, he took the time to give me some tips and tricks, but I'm not really even sure he was authorized to resell Apple computers.

By this time, I had already owned a few PC's running Windows. Maybe like 3 different ones? PC were just really bad. Every 2-3 years you had to change them. They got slow and full of viruses, it was an awful experience. But Macintosh was different; it was simple and unobtrusive. That iBook changed my life. I'm not sure how my parents were fine with purchasing a laptop from someone selling computers from his living room, but I'm thankful they did.

First time I opened iTunes, I remember they had a few podcasts but what I really liked was their radio feature. You could stream for hours from different radio stations. Electronic music, reggae, rock, just about anything. It was also free!

iTunes radio circa 2003?

Fast forward 15+ years later, just like Bono is known for its collaborations with Apple, Above & Beyond for me is the embodiment of what Steve Jobs meant with a "bicycle for the mind". The group is as creative as it gets with their music, their tools, their distribution, and their engagement with their fans.


Above & Beyond produces their own podcast and stream concerts on youtube frequently. Anjunadeep is also very creative, their artists take turns live streaming through twitch - now on an almost daily basis during Covid-19.

Both Above & Beyond and Anjunadeep have their own podcasts. The A&B one releases a new 1-2 hour stream every Friday. This podcast is actually part of a larger event they do once every year, a live-play of their podcast somewhere around the world. Tens of thousands of people travel to see them play live over a weekend in an exotic city. Last year it was Prague, the year before it was Hong Kong, and so on. The Hong Kong experience was amazing.

Watch this video of their pre-concert warmup live streamed around the world.

Above & Beyond's Tony, Pavo, and Jono playing a sunset warm up to their concert

As a group, they touch on new concepts. They experiment and evolve. Of course, Covid-19 changed things for the music industry, but they're still going strong producing new music and taking their music where their fans are. I wouldn't be surprised if they soon get invited to a Fortnite concert or similar.

I'm grateful for that guy selling Apple Computers from his home.

What kind of music do you enjoy and is it a tool for you too?

Day 3