This post is long overdue.
These are not the circumstances I had hoped to meet you in, but since I’m already stuck in a staring contest with my computer screen for 12 hours a day, now seemed as good of a time as any to save this post from the crowded purgatory of Almost as bad as my notes app...
As if blotted by some cruel impressionist painter, my days in quarantine seem to blur together in a clumsy mess. Lately, I’ve been feeling a sort of dampened unease—like I’m watching the local television news on mute, a reporter warning silently of an incoming path of a tornado.
Though I cannot name it, I know this feeling. It’s the same strengthlessness from a familiar childhood dream—the one where my legs, immobilized, desperately fight to outrun a faceless threat.
It’s been challenging to feel creative while isolated at home, but I feel guilty not taking advantage of the situation. We’re in the part of the year between admitting one class and reading applications for the next—so it’s perhaps the only (and best?) time I have to focus on projects for both the office and for myself.
You see, I’ve been making music since I could talk, and it’s really the only remedy I know. So it’s no surprise that I find myself returning to my musical roots to combat the negative effects of quarantine. In truth, I never expected my musical training to intersect with my job as an admissions officer, but I suppose these are “unprecedented times,” after all.
For anyone reading who feels restless, bored, uninspired, anxious, or any other confusing feelings, I invite you to listen.
I told you, this post is long overdue.
Its origins date back to this fall, in a conversation with Fellow blogger, and my colleague on the communications team where we were brainstorming new ways to feature students voices in admissions communications. I offered the idea to make our own MIT version of ChilledCow’s popular “lo-fi beats to relax/study to” videos, featuring student art in place of the infamous “study girl” character.
In early February, You might recognize some of her work from the admissions newsletters! our resident student artist, sent us two incredible illustrations that were perfect for the project: the first, a scene of students hanging out in Simmons Hall room, the second, a snapshot of a colorful East Campus dance party, complete with an LED dance floor and friendly dorm cat.
I got to work adding looping animations in Adobe After Effects: glowing twinkle lights, an illuminated dance floor, Remember, these illustrations are from February, so snow was appropriate. That’s how overdue this post is! through the windows. But it wasn’t until this past weekend—nearly four months after Emily completed her illustrations—that I actually took the time to I mostly produce, edit, and mix music in Logic Pro X, if you were curious. and finish the project.
Whether you need a break from cramming for finals or need to force yourself to do anything other than play Animal Crossing, here’s your excuse to take ten minutes and vibe with me.
Sounds like home: a quarantine playlist
If relaxing hip-hop loops aren’t your thing, I get it—I was trained on Brahms and Bartók. As an alternative, for anyone interested in expanding your music catalogue and shaking up your Spotify listening data, I put together a quarantine playlist for you to enjoy. The playlist reaches broadly across many my favorite genres, from r&b and experimental to Syrian folk music and contemporary jazz. I hope there’s something new and interesting for everyone—even if most of it isn’t your favorite. you’d hear on any given day if you were inside the cozy 700 square feet of my Cambridge apartment. To me, they sound like home.
The idea of “home” has, unsurprisingly, been at the front of my mind lately, and curating this playlist was somewhat of an exploration in how music and sound help me build a sense a place. If you’re up for it, I encourage you to build your own “sounds like home” playlist, compiling the sounds that feel like home—whatever that means—to you. (And don’t hesitate to send it to me! I’d love to listen.)
Note: there are some tracks on the playlist with strong language, marked by Spotify and Apple Music with an “E.” Please enjoy with discretion!
This post is long overdue.
I’ve been meaning to blog for years now. But for whatever reason, I lacked the inspiration—and the activation energy—to get started. And now that we are farther apart than ever, I’m grateful to have this outlet as a way to build little bridges to each of you with words, beats, and songs.
So grab a good pair of headphones, find a comfortable chair, and take a few moments to yourself to listen to whatever brings you joy—whether it’s any of the music I’ve shared or not.
What more can we do now but listen?
- Almost as bad as my notes app... back to text ↑
- Fellow blogger, and my colleague on the communications team back to text ↑
- You might recognize some of her work from the admissions newsletters! back to text ↑
- Remember, these illustrations are from February, so snow was appropriate. That’s how overdue this post is! back to text ↑
- I mostly produce, edit, and mix music in Logic Pro X, if you were curious. back to text ↑
- The playlist reaches broadly across many my favorite genres, from r&b and experimental to Syrian folk music and contemporary jazz. I hope there’s something new and interesting for everyone—even if most of it isn’t your favorite. back to text ↑