As any person living in 2016, it's safe to say that you aren't budgeting nearly enough of your time towards staring blankly into the distance while listening to some very spacey music. From sluggish, dreamy guitar riffs to synths that reverberate into total saturation, here's 11 tracks to completely zone out to.
My Bloody Valentine - "To Here Knows When"
Sometime's, there's nothing like hearing the twinkling synths, droned-out whale of a guitar, and the subtle and intimate voice of Bilinda Butcher muttering something incomprehensible over the melting, bending notes. While they certainly can be high energy at times, My Bloody Valentine has earned a spot on this list for their contributions and pioneering of the genre called shoegaze, a name which was coined directly from My Bloody Valentine among other bands staring at their feet in a daze while playing live.
Caspian - "Gone In Bloom and Bough"
Post Rock is one of those styles of music that, through its simplicity and generally smooth melodies, can have a strangely universal sort of appeal. Instrumental songs like this are a great template from which you can sit there just and get lost in thought to the melodies which repeat but often grow and develop extremely slowly. Perfect mix of melancholy and melatonin in tracks like these.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - "Sleep."
Sometimes, getting lost in thought isn't always about mindlessness. If you're in a more pensive and gloomy state, GY!BE might just be your cup of tea. With some looming string sections, eerie ambient synths, and a super distant, thunderous bass drum, this group can paint a post-rock portrait of impending troubles.
Beach House - "Sparks"
Gotta love a super ambient guitar riff that just makes a song. "Myth" is a great song by a great band with post-rock influence, as well as a repertoire of cloudy synths which add subtleties to songs like this one. Beach House has mastered the perfect combination of high-pitched guitar alongside weirdly dissonant yet oddly beautiful synths.
Jesu - "Homesick"
Justin Broadrick has been kicking out ambient drone type tracks under the moniker Jesu for quite some time now, and through his solo career, he has had quite a diverse range of sounds. For some more upbeat tunes, check out his collaboration with Sun Kil Moon. It's hard to imagine that Broadrick was once a member of the band Godflesh. Jesu has certainly been quite the change of pace for a former metal shredder.
Tycho - "Melanine"
When I hear the word ambient, Tycho is often the first thing that comes to mind. This project involves mastering an elegant simplicity and overdose on echoing sound effects to create some great studying, napping, or simply spacing out moments.
Deer Leap - "Coffee and Keys"
Deer Leap have this habit of finding one little guitar riff to stick to, and then just perpetually make it sound more and more spacey until sounds just kind of blend into one another in a way that's pretty neat. Their whole discography is enough to provide for quite the little break from reality into a daydream.
Foxing - "The Magdalene"
Foxing has been kicking out some cool melancholic jams that can go from being ambient all the way through to having some crashing breakdowns. With their diverse range, they still make some room for a lot of space and mood that's constantly growing and never repeats itself, which is a cool quality to have as a songwriter rather than doing things a bit more formulaically.
Pity Sex - "Sedated"
Pity Sex has a nice dynamic going on with dual vocal duties, melancholic guitars, and a buzzy shoegaze air. They take shoegaze in a bit of an upbeat direction at times, while always remaining endearingly sappy and mopey, in a way that almost steers them into guilty pleasure territory, though in a good way that works for them.
Have a Nice Life - "Bloodhail"
Like a lovechild of Joy Division and Nine Inch Nails, Have a Nice Life incorporates elements of post-punk, industrial, shoegaze, and even black metal to create some pummeling tracks that are absolutely relentless. Some tracks, however, remain more on the mellow side, and often provide some soothing backdrops. "Bloodhail" is one of those tracks.
This Will Destroy You - "Threads"
This may be one of the most simplistic and repetitive post-rock songs ever, but to be honest, it's just that one guitar riff that works, and it's super fun to just repeatedly pluck on a guitar, let alone listen to. The simplicity of it definitely makes it the best track to depart from your ambient, trance-like state back into reality, which is why it's at the end of this list. This track is succinct and has everything it needs: a moody guitar part, one string instrument, a bass and a drum set, and the song doesn't beg to have anything more added to it.