Isabel Borland has never been a “desk person”—preferring instead to spread her projects out on her dining-room table. Whether you’re working today from your own table, your desk, or (lucky dog) your bed, you’re guaranteed to find inspiration in this Playlist straight from the heart of Texas (which includes our series’ first track by Willie Nelson—quite appropriate coming from an Austin resident!).
What do you listen to while you work? All sorts of things. Lots of classical, lots of piano: Janos Starker and Glenn Gould playing Bach, Martha Argerich playing Chopin and Liszt, Vladimir Horowitz playing anything. I get lost in Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks. Indie, alternative, country (I’m not great with the labels), sometimes rap, anything with soul.
How do you listen? I have a compact Klipsch docking station. I love it—the sound quality is great for my space and it keeps my gear and me clutter-free.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? iTunes is my go-to. Sometimes I’ll listen to Pandora or Grooveshark.
Does music influence your work? I can’t say how music literally affects my work. It can take me into the zone and keep me in flow where I lose track of all time and space for hours on end, especially when I’m carving or drawing. But the music has to be off when I’m writing or doing any kind of left-brain work; I get too distracted.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? Friends, movies, the zeitgeist.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? An almost impossible question for me, but I’d have to say Glenn Gould playing Bach on the piano. He takes music that is so measured and methodical to this ephemeral, otherworldly place, and I love how you can hear him humming on the recordings. He seems to have zero ego or self-consciousness when he plays, which is what I strive for in my own work.
Missed The Boat, Modest Mouse
All These Things I’ve Done, The Killers
The Gardener, The Tallest Man on Earth
Love and Affection, Joan Armatrading
He Was a Friend of Mine, Willie Nelson
Hometown Glory, Adele
The Three of Us, Ben Harper
The Watcher, Dr. Dre
Say What You Say, Eminem
Faust Arp, Radiohead
Little Wing, Jimi Hendrix
Condor Ave, Elliott Smith
Images: Isabel Borland