Time and time again, listeners shy away from instrumental music simply because it usually lacks an immediately relatable trait. It doesn’t have the traditional lyrical hooks and memorable vocal lines that popular music is known for and our modern ears are accustomed to. And, while the proficient composition and performance of instrumental music usually requires a certain level of musical skill, listening to it does not. The genre only asks for open ears and an open mind. Now, there are many ways in which we can approach instrumental music—as a pure, unadulterated representation of emotion, as a chance to fuse musical influences without the restrictions of convention, as background music for a film, slideshow or life, and so forth. The beauty of instrumental music is how open it is to interpretation by the listener. Much like in visual art, instrumental artists can channel a message without telling the audience explicitly what they were trying to convey.
“Somehwere” – Jeff Cochell: First off, something familiar to the ears. Rock and folk musicians have flown the instrumental flag for a while now, and this style of acoustic guitar work has been explored by bands all the way from Pearl Jam to your local singer-songwriter playing at a coffee shop’s open mic night.
“Spirit Of India” – Meir Shitrit: Fusing traditional Indian instruments and scales with western songwriting, a style was popularized in the ’60s by pioneers like John Coltrane and George Harrison, this track shouldn’t feel too far away from home.
“Russian Concertino” – Giancarlo Angioni: The beauty of well-performed flamenco is lost on no one. The passion that goes into the playing and the sensual vibe that surrounds it has been captivating listeners for decades.
“Salsalito” – Level 10 Band: Latin jazz always brings rhythmic energy to any playlist. The danceable power of the clave is undeniable, and rightly so; these ensembles usually feature a large rhythm section with multiple percussion players.
“Mediterranean” – Fahir Atakoglu: Atakoglu is a personal favorite here in Press Shuffle. It’s easy to see why: this level of talent and skill isn’t something you come by too often, and we’re not ones to let it slip through unnoticed.
“Snizzle” – Justin Hellman: Small combo jazz is simply timeless. It’s the right music for so many occasions; from rainy day music while you read a book in your favorite living room nook to a night out to a bar with the guys, they’ve got you covered. The versatility of this music is unmatched.
“Temporarily Destabilized” – CHON: Instrumental metal tends to focus on complex songwriting and technical playing, and this is a perfect example of the outcome when those two. Not only do the gentlemen from CHON knock it out of the park with their musicianship, but they do so time after mind-blowing time. Prepare to have your brain melt out your ears.
Have any tunes in particular that you care to share? Disagree with any of the picks? Want a theme in particular to be Shuffled? Let us know by dropping a comment!
Listen to previous Press Shuffle playlists over at 8tracks.com.