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Yet another background music for developer, if you missed working at cafe (sudo.fm)
111 points by huydotnet 7 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 60 comments

With the luxury of working from home during the pandemic, I've much preferred using the opportunity to discover new music during the day, rather than listening to nondescript ambient music on the loop.

I suggest others give it a try. It's not like the two are mutually exclusive. You could give Robert Fripp's discography a try for ambient/electronic, for instance:


It depends on the type of work I'm doing, for me the issue with new music is that the novelty makes it so engaging that it may distract me from being able to fully concentrate on my work which is why sometimes I definitely prefer a more ambient chill vibe.

Same thing happens to me with music of sufficient complexity such as a baroque counterpoint style.

I'm sort of the opposite... I need absolutely new music to be able to work with something on the background. Otherwise I recognize the song and start humming along...

I've been working on a music discovery platform for, well, really 14 years but my latest rewrite I started about 18 months ago now.

It's not approachable yet, but based on the response here that may change.

It is primarily label based. By using discogs, essentially imdb for music, it uses some Foaf and affinity "distances".

Here's an example flow, let's say you find an artist you like, say Cygnus (https://www.discogs.com/artist/1932807-Cygnus-5). We pull down the releases and get the labels. Then go to the labels which have links to things like Bandcamp, SoundCloud, or various other sites. The tool then catalogs the releases and adds them essentially to an unlabeled dataset. (I've been updating dead links on discogs for a while to make this thing with better btw ;p )

Then there's another tool that goes through to "label" things by you listening to them. Essentially it's designed to do a single pass. There's a REPL and it interfaces with mpv using their JSON and Lua interface.

Then you rate each release and the adjacent information, such as the people working on it (on its discogs catalog page) becomes another vector for possible traversal.

It's not a constant scraper, it'd go on forever. Essentially it's manually run and there's a tweakable threshold.

For instance. Say you highly rate multiple releases that share a producer, artist, and label. Well, by golly, if there's a few other releases in that grouping you'll probably like that too. I mean, duh, obvious, right?

A lot of this approach came from the world of italo disco where the real names often got obscured behind short lived projects and labels which required a bit of digging to find the related content. Take Aldo Martinelli for instance. Here's his fb banner which is the best catalog of his work I know (https://scontent-lax3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t31.18172-8/fr/cp0/e1...). Same person doing all of that. For instance, "topo & roby" and "moon ray comanchero" are essentially the same people, but getting from one to the other or uncovering the relationships, that's the challenge this infrastructure tries to solve.

This stuff gets unusually complicated with specific regards to italo disco. See the profile of radiorama for instance (https://www.discogs.com/artist/73973-Radiorama) or groups like The Flirts, Fun Fun or Den Harrow, where models were the faces, singers were the vocals, different song writers and musicians would come and go, they were all huge tangles.

This method completely ignores popularity or what others are listening to and falls back on the networks of the people making the content. For me at least, it's produced great results.

But it's built exclusively for me at this time. I don't even have most of the traversal code posted The code is over here https://github.com/kristopolous/music-explorer

I'd be happy to make it more accessible but I'm multiple standard deviations from the mean when it comes to how I approach music so I've got no idea whether there's a large interest here

If you want to see what results look like, now this is exclusively catered to my tastes, I have a pretty basic hack to listen to things on the go over here http://9ol.es/pl/

I guess the focus here is to see the label/artist diversity even if the style of music isn't your thing.


As far as listening while you work, the tool is instrumentable. For me I can press a quasimode key (say the windows key) along with some other key and do things like pause/play, label the release, track/release navigation, get info, open the webpage that it was on, etc. These are hooked at the window manager level.

This way there's as little task switching as possible and I can stay in whatever application I'm doing.

Even if you’re not programming, this is great as background music that helps focus without distractions : https://www.musicforprogramming.net/

(I learned about this from hacker news :)

I've spent hours listening to this kind of ambience while working, but for me it's a little too bland. Video game music on the other hand is perfect for working. I've had this one on repeat for the past 10 days.


If you like video game music in the background, you might like these sites:

Rainwave (general VGM): https://rainwave.cc/all/

Jet Set Radio (more high-energy, but they have a lo-fi station or two now): https://jetsetradio.live/

Nightwave Plaza (not exactly VGM, but vaporwave makes good ambient music IMO): https://plaza.one/

I used to love Jet Set Radio Future, and the music was a big part of that.

You should like the JSR site then! The creators have put a lot of love into their site.

They have multiple music stations, multiple “TV” channels, a graffiti board, and a chat box that all try to recreate that Jet Set vibe. Just be cautious opening that graffiti board at work...

Same for me. I've found maybe a dozen or so creators who put together large (2-10 hour) playlists of game music, mostly from older RPGs (or even better, custom remixes.) Some also have mixed in ambient thunderstorm/rainstorm effects

They've been fantastic for helping me both stay relaxed and focus in on whatever I happen to be doing

Upvote for video game music, my go to is final fantasy sound track:


Also, the Watch Dogs 2 soundtrack, literally all of it.

What is with audio apps on web refusing to add volume sliders? I see it on instagram, tiktok, podcast sites, this site, etc. I genuinely don't understand why I would want to manage the volume of one app with my system volume. Do people actually want everything to be the same volume?

I think the real question is why don't OS's make managing app-specific volume easier?

I can manage chrome's volume no problem in windows...I don't want that though. If I turn down chrome entirely then I can't hear certain youtube videos, etc. I prefer my audio setup to be maxed in the windows mixer and managed finely in individual apps. I am hoh so my preferences may be different than other though.


Hard of hearing


windows 10 does a decent job at this

For quality ambient electronica I highly recommend select works on the Mysteries of the Deep label, as well as Auxiliary - all on Bandcamp. Especially love Bandcamp as you can listen to full tracks before making a purchase decision.



I really like that the default first song is Solar Fields. (at least for me)

He makes some really great coding albums, notably the Mirror Edge Catalyst soundtrack cannot be missed.

It is over FIVE hours long. Also it is on Spotify so you can easily offline it. https://open.spotify.com/album/2wy9EzWP9NuyVt4TSCz3qs?si=UNx...

While difficuelt to have, I prefer a eerie silence when working. I do wonder how many actually uses sites like this, but it’s nice that people have the option.

> I do wonder how many actually uses sites like this

The one I've been using for years and years is A Soft Murmur [0]. You can put together a mix of a few sounds to suit your preference. I like to prioritize the coffee shop and rain (about 50% each) with some thunder (25%) and a light fire (25%). There's also a "meander" option where any non-silenced sound's volume will move up and down at random so it's not the exact same sounds for the whole time.

I dunno how you can be productive in perfect silence. If I have perfect silence I find myself getting anxious and distracted. I work best when I can hear other people around me being productive in some way.

[0] https://asoftmurmur.com

It depends on my mood but I am most productive in silence without headphones on.

Sometimes I need a little bit of noise to help with focus, and sometimes I just put on jazz anyways.


I have been toying with an idea for a few years of doing something just like that. But with arcade sounds. But ideas are just ideas :)...

every once in a while i find a site like this that fits my workflow perfectly; i use it for a few days; maybe a week until I am forced to close browser for (some) reason - then i go back to spotify.

edit this exact page I think i've found 3x now; and then lost it in this way.

Perhaps consider a pinned tab or bookmark?

I wear earbuds inside a pair of Bose headphones. Complete silence, except for what I choose to play.

This seems redundant. I can't hear any ambient nose when listening to my bose headphones in with noise cancelling enabled. What prompted you to try this method?

I can hear past the noise cancellation, so I double it up. This probably isn't necessary for everyone, but does help with complete isolation.

Another pretty wonderful option, both for focus and for other uses of background sound is https://mynoise.net

It's very customizable at a level that most tools aren't, making it easy to (for example) pare back low bass or high treble if one or the other grates on your ears whilst working -- or amp up or down background conversation depending on your taste.

Wow, mynoise is impressive. I do also like https://www.noisli.com which is less customizable than mynoise, though.

I second that, mynoise is amazing!

Really like it. The issue I've had with these products in the past (I've paid for an app or two on Google Play) is that they can't afford the bandwidth once the popularity increases, or, they just can't get new music, since this type of royalty free stuff usually requires artists to submit it themselves.

How is this one going to be different? I'd love to find something I can stick with.

It looks like it uses YouTube as hosting behind the scenes.

I wear noise-cancelling headphones with background music for focus during a majority of my working hours. I have a "flowstate" playlist on Spotify which I've curated for a few years, from which I've more recently carefully extracted only those tracks which I can happily put on individual repeat for a particular flavor of focus. None have words to distract, nor sudden changes; all have enough of a beat or groove to help boost my energy. I made this "Flowstate: Repeatable FTW" playlist publicly readable:


Enjoy! :)

Yeah, dub techno is good for focusing on work. There's a lot of texture, little melody, and repeated rhythmic elements to disallow you from focusing on catchy melodies of pop music, etc.

Okay I’m going to be honest I loved it and especially the coffee house background with some music really makes me feel like I’m in a coffee house and with some light rain In the background is really soothing

Thank you for making this

I love this. What would be amazing is if there was a command line program that would download a playlist like this and push it to my iPhone (sync to Music app) so when I'm driving or traveling on an airplane I can simply ask Siri to play these songs without touching my phone or worrying about internet connectivity.

I currently do this with youtube-dl, I can download a playlist on youtube with it (best audio format) and then use Music to sync to my iPhone which involves 2 more steps than I'd like it to.

From a paid perspective this is totally possible from a few different ways. YouTube can do this with premium, if you wanted the ambient sounds you can use dark noise and then you can use Siri shortcuts to make it all plug in together.

I like this but i don't like that it is not open source.

This is pretty cool! Pretty pretty, too.

I know this makes me sound kind of old, but this reminds me how much I miss GrooveShark. Their Ambient stream/channel (whatever they called it) was awesome. Spotify has vaguely similar function, but it is nowhere near the sophistication and convenience GrooveShark offered.

Can you lower the volume of the music? I couldn't seem to find a way to do it. Being able to change the relative volumes of the ambient sounds is great, but putting the music in the low background is vital. I just ended up turning music off...

We have an macOS version here if you guys wanna try. And feel free to contribute, its open. https://github.com/dwarvesf/sudo-fm-macos

Don't cafe owners get annoyed if you work in the same cafe? (in the Before Times)

Generally not, if the shop isn't busy, you regularly order things, and you tip. Yes, if you get one small coffee and take up a large table for six hours on a busy day.

I would assume that anything that makes the cafe look busy would be welcomed by the owner.

as long as buy something every two hours or so I don't they do

Does music helps you concentrate when you need to think hard on a problem? For example, trying to visualize the workings of an algorithm, or other complicated concept?

I personally like music in background maybe for monotonic or dull kind of work

I found that stopped noticing music if I were at all engaged, and if I started noticing, it was distracting so I turned it off.

On the other hand, during the spring I would check in on a bird-nest webcam from time to time, and if I left the page open, I felt there was a net but subliminal benefit from the background birdsong.

I think this topic is REALY personal for various people. Some people need silence, some people need music to be able to drown out distractions. I bet that even with people suffering from severe ADHD (like myself) the answer swings wildly. Solar Fields (default artist in the link) was the backing artist to a large corner of work Ive done over the last few years.

I find that I respond much better to music with fewer instruments, but a stronger percussion beat. I don't like too much noise in my ears. None of these options listed here seem to appeal to that genre.

This one really seems to be formatted nicely, however having each setting being a unique URL makes it fairly difficult to go back a page.

This is legit and I really needed something new - THANKS!

Is it me, or is there no volume control for the music?

yup, there is none. I guess just use your desktop's sound controls

The problem with that is it's now universally chaning the sounds of alerts and other apps. With discrete volume controls per sound generating app, you can get to a nice "mix".

I'm enjoying the aesthetic. Thank you!

I'll mention the band 'yes' for those who may be seeking new (but old) long but engaging music

excellent work

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