Every reader has a different style, a unique set of environmental circumstances that ushers them into a state of flow. Once there, the pages fly by and you can devour a book in mere hours. Personally, I enjoy a warm light, a comfy chair, my feet up, a feline friend nearby, and some lo-fi tunes lulling me into a reading-friendly state.
Instead of a review or a bookish list for this Christmas Eve post, I recruited fellow QTL writer Alex–you know him for his recent takes such as “I hate capitalism” and “Capitalism is bad”– to collaborate on a list of soundscapes that make for excellent reading background noise. If you’re like us, you need something smack-dab in the middle of the spectrum between “so silent it’s distracting” and “pandemonium.” Give a few of our recommendations a whirl next time you’re ready to knock out a few hundred pages.
The GameChops YouTube channel has an extensive array of lo-fi video game and TV show remixes. Many of the mixes are also available on Spotify, iTunes, and other services, too. My personal favorite reading soundtrack is a playlist that combines four albums from the GameChops library: Zelda & Chill, Zelda & Chill II, Chilltendo, and Poke & Chill. Video games call for epic musical moments, but GameChops makes those moments more listenable if you’re focusing on a book.
GameChops’ tunes are lowkey and well-produced, and they’ve served as a backdrop to many of my favorite reads this year, including Dune and Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy.
Added bonus: if you’re a vinyl buff, you can get Zelda & Chill and Poke & Chill as records, too.
Critical Role’s YouTube channel is most famous for its incredible Dungeons and Dragons content. But one lesser known corner of the channel is the Mighty Vibes section. It features three curated mixes of relaxing, fantasy-inspired tunes. My recommendation? Make a playlist of all three and drop the needle.
I think Mighty Vibes fits best with sword and sorcery adventures, but your mileage may vary. Give the playlist a try during your next excursion to a fantasy world.
Naturally, Mighty Vibes will also slot neatly into the quieter moments of your next D&D session.
Ambient Worlds takes mega-franchise soundtracks and turns them into hours long soundscapes that’ll transport you straight to your favorite fantasy worlds. Reading Lord of the Rings with The Shire Ambience in the background just feels right. Give any of the mixes a try. They’ve got Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Warcraft, Disney, Narnia, Skyrim, Star Wars, and many more.
If you’re looking for original lo-fi that still captures the feelings of nostalgia while wrapping you in the warm blanket of good vibes, Homework Radio is for you. They aim to collaborate their content with the artists they feature while building some incredibly distinct playlists. My favorites are the Lo-fi for Ghosts (only) as they truly transport you to feeling like a child whose only toys are their books and their brain.
They have several curated playlists with great art that really captures the mood and puts your mind at ease so you can just fall into the book without letting the world outside your room invade your thoughts. I wish I could prompt you on what types of books they really push you to read, but honestly they’re better at creating a space for you to read, than amplify your story as is.
Alright, I’ll be honest, this one feels like cheating. If you’re a peruser of lo-fi music channels on YouTube or Bandcamp, you’ve most likely encountered City Girl. But honestly, I don’t think anyone captures the comfort of being alone and enjoying your favorite hobby quite like her. Each album manages to capture a very similar feeling while exploring different facets of it, giving you room to slip into the dream worlds of your favorite authors.
Considering her work is more dreamy, you’re more likely to want to read something relaxing while listening to her magic; I know it’s what I often do. But much like the previous channel, her music is really good background noise that doesn’t heighten the reality of the book. It gives off amazing cafe vibes that lets you sink into whatever piece of furniture supports your body while your mind goes gallivanting.
Plus, if you’re into directly supporting an artist, City Girl’s work is available on Bandcamp and I highly recommend you check her out.