6 Things to Play in the Background While You WFH

Cassandra Leeman

As many of us continue to navigate the extended work from home world, we thought we'd take a moment to explore ways in which we can set up an environment more conducive to focused, creative work. Specifically, we are recommending things that can be played in the background - something designed to be secondary or peripheral in nature - that will help you move your project forward. These are documentaries and music selections that you can jump in-and-out of relatively easily, that also possess the substance to inspire and potentially inform your work. So without further ado…

(Image from Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy)


Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy

Directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer 


A companion piece to River and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time, a 2001 documentary about the remarkable British sculptor, this meditative documentary gets to grips with the nature artist whose work is about the ephemeral and the enduring; time and the tactile qualities of the instant. The type of work Andy Goldsworthy creates - namely sculptures made purely from natural materials that are often left to be engulfed and absorbed back into nature via a running river, melting snow, or the changing of seasons - are a powerful meditation on permanence. Time erases or alters Mr. Goldworthy's sculptures and the surprise of Leaning Into the Wind is that it's just as concerned with how time has changed Mr. Goldsworthy.

(Image from Microcosmos)



Directed by Claude Nuridsany, Marie Pérennou


Microcosmos offers the viewer a new perspective on the insect world and kingdom by capturing detailed interactions between insects and other small invertebrates. A moving image of a beetle pushing a ball of dung takes on the mythic quality of Sisyphus with his boulder. Meanwhile, endless caterpillar caravans suggest, amazingly, the rhythm of modern highways during rush hour.

(Image from music video for Overgrown by James Blake)



James Blake


Musical choices are certainly personal, but it seems that something that sounds slightly subdued with a touch of a caffeinated, rainy-day is conducive to getting some work done! In this dewy, electronic gospel-folk album, James Blake incorporates gospel and R&B elements and a wider variety of textures. Martyn Young of musicOMH stated that “Overgrown is more diverse and dynamic than before. Blake seems to have found an ideal middle ground between restrained and measured balladry and disorientating electronic soul”. Your soundtrack to meeting your next deadline!

(Image from Seven Worlds, One Planet)


Seven Worlds, One Planet

BBC (BBC America)


Sir David Attenborough’s voice and British accent seem destined for exploring the wild world in a calming manner. This seven-part series is a visual spectacle, and devotes one episode to each of Earth’s seven continents, highlighting how life developed on every continent, as well as the factors threatening its unique biodiversity. Every episode contains poignant familial tones carrying a hopeful message. A hauntingly beautiful background score is provided by Hans Zimmer. Seven Worlds, One Planet has a lot to offer but, most of all, it insists we revel in the wonders of our planet and ponder upon conserving them.

(Image from Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos)


Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos

Directed by Jonathan Gruber


This 2015 retrospective explores Miriam Beerman’s more than 60 years of work as a groundbreaking artist. She has overcome personal tragedy to inspire friends, family, peers, patrons, and students about how to remain defiant, creative and strong. The film is a memorable profile of Miriam struggling with her artistic demons to create haunting images that evoke the suffering of generations of victims. While her memory is not what it once was, she is still generating compelling and forceful art. At 96 years young, Miriam Beerman is a survivor. As the filmmaker Jonathan Gruber explains, “The film is a memorable profile of an artist who has elevated her empathy for the plight of the world’s castoffs into powerful portrayals of dignity.”

(Image by Tidewarp)


The Hobbit (Calm Ambient Mix) | Episode II



For those with a flair for the epic journey, this Hobbit inspired audio mix is for you. Purely instrumental, you won’t have lyrics distracting you from continuing your epic journey…to complete your work!!