I recently defended my dissertation, and am planning to write a short post here with a synopsis of what I studied. But before that I wanted to do a bit of navel gazing and examine the music of my dissertation.

To be clear, my dissertation has no music. It’s one part discourse analysis, two parts ethnographic field study, and is comprised entirely of text and images bundled into a PDF.

But over the last 5 years as I took classes, wrote papers, conducted research and did the final write up my research results I was almost always listening to music.

I spent a lot of time on weekends in the tranquil workspaces of the Silver Spring Public Library. After the Coronavirus hit earlier this year I spent more time surrounded by piles of books in my impromptu office in the basement of my house. But wherever I found myself working music was almost always on.

I leaned heavily on Bandcamp over this time period, listening and then purchasing music I enjoyed. Bandcamp is a truly remarkable platform for learning about new music from people whose tastes align with yours. My listening habits definitely trended over this time towards instrumental, experimental, found sound and ambient, partly because lyrics can distract me if I’m writing or reading.

I’m also a long time LastFM user. So all the music I listened to over this period was logged (or “scrobbled”). LastFM have an API so I thought it would be fun to create a little report of the top albums I listened to each month of my dissertation.

So this is the music of my dissertation–or the hidden soundtrack of my research, between August 2015 and November 2020. You can see how I obtained the information from the API in this Jupyter notebook. But the results are here below.

White Rainbow / Thru.u

Moderat / II

Moderat / III

Tigue / Peaks

Goldmund / Sometimes

oh sees / Orc

Lusine / Sensorimotor

Four Tet / New Energy

Jlin / Black Origami

Gersey / What You Kill

Rhucle / Yellow Beach

Hotel Neon / Context

Paperbark / Last Night

Porya Hatami / Kaziwa

Ian Nyquist / Cuan

Jens Pauly / Vihne

Big Thief / Two Hands