Its late and you’re breaking your head trying out style after style of Photoshop effects. At times, the silent sounds of the night might seem comforting but otherwise the consistent drone of your computer might put you in a fix.

I’ve experienced this quandary countless times – I call it ‘ambience block’. I’m a listener of various tastes but sometimes popping on my Sennheiser cans and listening to these sounds just puts me in the zone.

1. Shulman

The psybient duo from Israel know their way around weaving soundscapes and they do it extremely well. Few vocals, but layers of ambient sounds layered make their music not only the best distraction free working environment but are also spectacular in their own right.

Tracks to listen: Retroscape, Transmissions in Bloom, Ra Hey Ya, Zero Degrees

2. M83

I chanced upon a listen of M83 through a referral from a friend. I’ve never stopped thanking my buddy for introducing the dreamy sequences of M83 to me. Their album ‘Saturdays = Youth’ still stands in my collection as one of the most-listened albums.

Tracks to listen: You, Appearing, We Own The Sky, Skin of the Night

3. Andrew Bird

A talented multi-instrumentalist can play almost anything. His mastery of the violin, guitar, mandolin, glockenspiel to even whistling will leave you spell bounded. I was a little hesitant when somebody referred his trademark whistling to me, but I can safely say now, that is a skillset few can master. My go-to whistling track before this had been the ubiquitous ‘Winds of Change’ but listening to Andrew Bird changed that forever. I was lucky enough to even catch him in Ann Arbor, where he performed this past summer. If his melodies are spell-bounding, wait till you catch the sweet melancholy he weaves through his lyrics in ‘Fiery Crash’ from his album ‘Armchair Apocrypha’.

Tracks to listen: Fiery Crash, Imitosis, Fake Palindromes, Heretics, Yawny at the Apocalypse

4. The Decemberists

This Portland based band is nothing short of awesome. What attracts me the most to their style of music is the beautiful vocals that adorn the deep and meaningful lyrics that Colin Meloy writes. Their album ‘The Crane Wife’ is a must listen.

Tracks to listen: Summersong, Yankee Bayonet, The Perfect Crime, Of Angels and Angles,

5. The Shins

I don’t have enough words to say about these guys. Though, I’ve been left disappointed that they won’t be doing any albums till 2011, their three previous albums are something I can listen to everyday. I was introduced to The Shins by the hugely popular Zach Braff and Natalie Portman film ‘Garden State’ through the tracks ‘Caring is Creepy’ and ‘New Slang’. However, to understand the range of The Shins, I would greatly suggest listening to all three albums – ‘Oh, Inverted World’, ‘Chutes Too Narrow’, ‘Wincing the Night Away’. Tracks to listen: Sleeping Lessons, Split Needles, Kissing the Lipless, Pink Bullets

6. Cashback – OST

I caught this film via Netflix and I’m glad I did. Guy Farley produces a very Coldplay-ish background score from their X&Y days. The piano melodies mixed with the atmosphere sounds is a very good background addition to my design routine.

7. 2001: A Space Odyssey – OST

No music list of mine would ever be complete without 2001. This epic film by Stanley Kubrick will go down in the history as one of the best films ever made. Many critics argue that Alex North’s background score would have been a more consistent fit for the film. However, I tend to disagree. I think the mismatch of different composers and classical backgrounds make this completely in-tune with Kubrick’s imagination which requires the haphazard selection. Who can forget HAL 9000 singing ‘Daisy Bell’?

Tracks to listen: Also Sprach Zarathustra, The Blue Danube, Lux Aeterna

8. In Search of Sunrise 6: Ibiza – Tiësto

Tiësto is undoubtedly the best DJ in the world and he has held this rank for the years 2002-2004. Though its a shuffle between him and Armin Van Buuren who has held this rank since 2007, I think they both have their own styles. Armin is a much better live DJ while Tiësto’s mastery can be seen in his mixed sets. ‘In Search of Sunrise Vol. 6′ is an album that works end to end and is the perfect starter to two hours of work.