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Four (mostly) instrumental albums your reading playlist is missing

By Marissa Gillett | Apr 23, 2021

Four (mostly) instrumental albums your reading playlist is missing

With Spring sprung, it has been beautiful enough in Cleveland to take my reading away from the fireplace and out to the patio. I love reading outdoors, but city soundscapes aren’t exactly the perfect soundtrack to enjoy a book. So, I set out to curate a reading playlist that will allow me to enjoy the sunshine on my skin without the construction across the street killin’ my vibe. If you, too, live that city struggle, here are four albums to enjoy while reading on your patio.

Dive – Tycho

Back in 2011, Scott Hanson, otherwise known as Tycho dropped the album Dive. The first time I heard it, I knew it was something special. Ten years later, its familiar synths and instrumental samples often enhance my outdoor reading sessions. It’s no coincidence that the album is titled Dive. It was, after all, inspired by the ocean. Its smooth and harmonious electronic beats pair perfectly with beach reads like Shipped by Angie Hockman or The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton.

Echolocations: River – Andrew Bird

I was only five years old when Andrew Bird started creating a name for himself in the indie-rock scene, and the Grammy award winner now has released 16 studio albums throughout his career which has forced him to start getting really creative. Echolocations: River was recorded while Bird stood ankle-deep in the Los Angeles River below the Glendale Hyperion Bridge.

What initially drew me to Echolocations: River was its unique concept, but I added it to my reading playlist for its beautiful and dynamic instrumental storytelling. The sound of the violin bouncing off of the bridge’s concrete walls evokes a feeling of vast emptiness, while the inspiration from the Los Angeles River conjures a real sense of tranquility, making it the perfect soundtrack for books like Touching the Void by Joe Simpson and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

Eon Isle (Series) – Geotic

In 2014, Will Wisenfeld released a duo of albums as part of his side project Geotic. The series, called Eon Isle, are albums each made entirely from the sound of a single instrument; Morning Shore – the guitar and Sunset Mountain – vocals, and here too, the album’s titles are a good indication of the picture each will paint throughout your listening experience.

Although Geotic’s Morning Shore is also inspired by water like Tycho’s Dive, it is much more laid-back in its presentation, so I usually pair it with something a little less light-hearted than a beach read, but still gravitate toward sea-inspired reads like Moby Dick by Hermen Melville or Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

While Sunset Mountain‘s inclusion of vocals deviates slightly from my mostly instrumental playlist, the vocals throughout the album lend well to the reading experience. Think less acapella, and instead picture an angelic choir warming up for a performance. While the album inspires a sense of adventure, the vocal harmonies can, at times, come off a little haunting, so I like to listen to Sunset Mountain while I read what I like to call ”no parents, no rules YA”, books where a group of kids is left alone without any adults for some reason or another (a personal favorite of mine), like Lord of the Flies by William Golding and When We Were Lost by Kevin Wignall.

Don’t let lawn mowers, noisy sprinklers, or traffic pull you out of your literary adventures by giving one of these albums a try. If you do, head on over to Instagram (@digitalbookmobile) to tell us what you think or let us know what albums you think every reader should add to their reading playlist!