Updated: Apr 16, 2022
by Tan Tze Heng
As March passes by, this semester’s mid-terms week is finally over (hurray!). While we seize this opportunity to take a sigh of relief, most of RHesidents, I presume, can still not help but be aware of the finals week that ensues. Even if finals are not taken into consideration, lectures, quizzes and assignments that are lagged behind and haunting us can still give us a stark reminder to buck up and study. This might explain why it’s not uncommon to see a number of industrious bees mugging in the UL study lounge, UTown or Central Library.
While taking the initiative to study is commendable, staying in full focus mode continuously for a long time can still take up a great deal of our mind energy, causing us eventually to start zoning out or get distracted by other stuff like YouTube videos, social media or even food. There are various methods to keep us focused while studying, and one of them that I will recommend here is to let study music accompany your journey of study, and maybe many of you reading this article may have already been using this trick to maintain focus.
One of the most commonly adapted genres of study music is of course lo-fi* hip-hop music, popularised by a video livestream featuring the anime lo-fi girl.
However, perhaps you might've already done with that anime lo-fi girl and want to try out something new as your study music playlist of the day. You’ve come to the right place then: allow me to recommend some other sources of study music that I personally like.
1. Chillhop Radio series
Chillhop Radio series is a series of lo-fi hip hop music compilation or livestream videos which are under Chillhop Music, which is a Dutch record label that specialises in the distribution of lo-fi hip hop music. Videos in this Chillhop Radio series often feature the signature cute raccoon mascot. There are different variations in the selection of music played in different videos of the series, some having a soothing feel while some having a jazzy twist. I do recommend this series if you want to feel sort of ‘authentic’ as a lo-fi hip-hop music listener.
- “lofi hip hop radio - beats to study/relax to 🐾” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NOSDKb0HlU)
- “Chillhop Radio - jazzy & lofi hip hop beats 🐾” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yx6BWlEVcY)
There are even lo-fi hip-hop music collections which are remixes of video game soundtracks, produced in collaboration with the corresponding video game company.
- “🎮 Chillhop x FINAL FANTASY EXVIUS UNIVERSE [gaming / lofi beats] © SQEX” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg7kVQB6Wes)
- “Chillhop x OlliOlli World 🎮 [songs to skate to / gaming beats] 🛹” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GD3OZ-jBmU)
If you are tired of constantly searching for your study music of the day on YouTube and want an easy-to-remember portal that allows you access to multiple lo-fi music livestreams, then lofi.cafe would be the right choice for you!
Lofi.cafe (with its URL literally being https://lofi.cafe/, easy to remember right?!) is a website developed by Fabrizio Rinaldi and Marianna Di Vito, which integrates several popular lo-fi hip-hop music livestreams (also referred to as ‘radios’) into a single website so that people can switch between different ‘radios’ conveniently.
There is even a handy feature called Pomodoro Timer, which allows site visitors to manage time efficiently using the Pomodoro Technique (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique).
Do have a try if you want to experience the feeling of having access to multiple study music radios at one go!
3. Diverse System’s work music radio
Diverse System is an independent Japanese record label that is famous within the realm of music rhythm games. As its name suggests, it houses a diverse range of instrumental and electronic music, from piano, metal to dubstep. Among its wide library of music, it has an album series called works., which features upbeat electronic music that are tailored for use as study and working background music.
To cater for people’s needs to continuously listen to study music online, the record label has released work music radio livestream on YouTube, which features music from the works. Album series. If you want to have a try on a more varied style of study music, this may be a suitable option for you!
Link to livestream:-
4. Square Enix Music Special DJ Mix
Ah yes, Square Enix, the famous video game company behind lots of video game masterpieces, including the Final Fantasy series, Chrono Trigger, Legend of Mana and many more. Apart from the game story lines themselves, the game music soundtracks featured are also long-standing gems.
Recently, Square Enix Music, the record label behind those game soundtracks, has made an unprecedented move to release two study/working music compilation videos which form a series named Square Enix Music Special DJ Mix on their recently opened YouTube channel. These two compilation videos are remixes of famous Square Enix game soundtracks which are of very different styles, one in a relaxing “Mellow Minstrel” style and another in a more energetic “Airship Cruise” style.
For those who are a fan of these game soundtracks, do check out these two videos which both bring a unique flavour twist to the soundtracks.
- “Mellow Minstrel Mix🎮Game Music to chill, study, work” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syGJ0gAEXwQ)
- “Airship Cruise Beats🚀Game Music to hype you up” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9fTnzx7wzY)
5. Birocratic’s beets series
Birocratic, an American electronic/hip-hop music producer, is one of the iconic figures in the domain of lo-fi hip hop music. He has released at least 20 electronic hip-hop albums and contributed tracks for the record label Chillhop Music. Many of Birocratic’s works incorporate certain elements from other music genres, and they work very well and help in adding interesting flavours into his music. One notable example of this, and also my personal favourite, is Corporate Japan from his album beets 4, where elements of traditional Japanese music blend well with electronic hip-hop genre to form some sort of ‘modernised Edo’ atmosphere.
Links to the beets series:-
- beets 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkOosGObYB4)
- beets 4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQHWpvHauo0)
6. Flamingosis’ Mood Provider series
Another shoutout to the equally famous American music producer called Flamingosis, who has produced a number of ‘chilled beats’ albums, some of which even used as the background music of various online videos.
One of his album series that I will recommend here is the Mood Provider series, which the producer himself has released full album compilation videos of them on his YouTube channel.
Mood Provider (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB128k-OySk)
Mood Provider Vol. 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg_oBqCLmz8)
Mood Provider Vol. 3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8NYq-OUQ9g)
Mood Provider Vol. 4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du6MOWk_rYA)
Mood Provider Vol. 5 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ev5IAxeRIH4)
Mood Provider Vol. 6 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5bTFMpv53I)
7. Ginger Root
City pop is a music genre that originated from Japan in around the 1980s and once spread globally, influencing Cantopop and Southeast Asian pop music during that time. Recently, thanks to the out-of-nowhere algorithmic recommendation of Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love by YouTube and the meme craze that ensued, city pop music has seen its revival in popularity among the younger internet generation.
Partly due to this internet trend and of course their own admirable musicianship, an American indie band called Ginger Root, which produces music that are reminiscent of this city pop culture, has received popular acclamation among the internet world. The mood and also the deliberately vintage sound quality of their music make them really suitable to be used as study music.
I recommend listening to Loretta (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-WTfP3WJc4) for those listening to their music for the first time; it feels warming to me, no joke.
Here are some full album playlists of their music that you may use as study music.
That’s all of my recommendation list of study music! Hope these music do help you in staying motivated to study (or just listening to them as a casual pastime), and may the CAP 5.0 god be with you.
*Random trivia: ‘lo-fi’ is the abbreviation for ‘low fidelity’, which describes the signature ‘vintage’ sound quality of lo-fi hip-hop music.
^Due to technical issues, this link might not work after some time, in that case consider navigating to its YouTube channel and look for the most updated version of the livestream.