Can everyone comment with their favorite artist or group + genre?
Some of my favorite performers are John Eliot Gardiner, Andre Previn, the Kronos Quartet, Cecelia Bartoli, Murray Perahia, Mitsuko Uchida, Emmanuel Ax, Alison Hagley, Bryn Terfel, and Yo Yo Ma.
And I also often prefer quiet when hacking, and only listen to music to drown out distractions.
She has a great recording of what is probably my favorite piece: Brahms Piano Concerto no. 1
But, I do enjoy some Pop (like Ben Folds and Dispatch), Baroque, Ska and Big Band as well.
edit: I also love Gunther and Swizz Beatz. I don't know why.
That said, of course, I prefer soothing tapes of Paul Graham's voice.
My faves are: Spoon, Midlake, Fugazi, Death from Above 1979, Voxtrot, Mission of Burma, Cat Power, The Lemonheads.
When I'm working I'm most productive with things that have no lyrics or illegible lyrics, but are familiar. Jesu, The Fucking Champs, and electronica like Booka Shade and Apparat. Embarrassingly, perhaps, I'm totally loving working to old school metal lately--some from before my time, actually, but I like it anyway--Judas Priest, in particular. Also stuff I liked in high school and college: Carcass, Godflesh, Neurosis.
I made a list of my favorite tracks at emusic a while back (need to update it with Arcade Fire and a few other recent faves):
You can't beat emusic if you like indie music. It's cheap, non-DRM, and they've got nearly all of the best bands and labels.
You guys have some weak taste in programming music. Only the hardest electronic for me. Stuff that makes you feel like adrenaline is being injected into your brain with a firehose, yet predictable and non-distracting. Who else listens to that?
Kompakt (5,6) - german techno compilation - Germans know their elektronika ;)
Richie Hawtin // Plastikman
Or weird glitchy sounding electronic music. :)
* Do Make Say Think (recent album I think)
* Alice Coltrane "Journey in Satchidananda"
* Various - "Putamayo World Lounge"
* Hybrid - Live DJ set from Moscow, 2004
While designing though, no sounds at all! Maybe something really ambient to shut out environmental noise, like Stars of the Lid.
I was going to say--oh, Debussy and Chopin. But why be a snob when I also listen to early Madonna music, and stuff too horrible to mention except anonymously:
i guess im a little different than most programmers/hackers judging by the other posts
I knew a coder who listened to the Muppets Christmas Sing-Along on repeat for about 10 hours during a marathon coding session. At about hour 9 she started to feel like she had lost her mind.
Edit: I just listened to Zero 7 on pandora, and it's awesome. I think I've found a new favorite.
Of course, after these well-thought-out melodies are born, they can be dressed up all you like. http://ocremix.org/ is the exemplar there.
Kanye West (& The Roots) + Hip-hop
I also second silence. That's the usual case.
Thus, when I want background music that doesn't distract me, I go with something I've listened to about 3,000 times in the past. Doesn't really matter what it is: Schubert sonatas, 70s Herbie Hancock, showtunes ...something that requires the same number of brain cells to take advantage of as a library that I wrote a long time ago and have been using ever since.
But when reading something more substantial than, say, looking something up in documentation, silence is excellent.
Those are just some of the artists I've been listening to recently. Usually chill/ambient electronica with good repetitive beats-- the best example is Angel by Massive Attack. I turn that way up and hack the night away, sometimes.
Also, this is me: http://www.last.fm/user/codepolice
Also piano music. http://jamendo.com has some great free music, particularly Rob Costlow.
If I listen to something local to my disk, I get distracted wondering what's coming up next, or otherwise fiddling with the order of play. If that's not in my control, I don't think about it.
I also love to dance Salsa :P
I'll mix in some hip-hop if I'm feeling a burst of excitement.
You can check my tastes: http://last.fm/user/egimenez :P
Radiohead, Modest Mouse, Jose Gonzales, The Knife,
A mix of old school and some new school melodic trance :o
Avoid music with vocals, or that is too upbeat/danceble type, as it will be hard to concetrate on anything.