Playlist #6

~ Instrumental music holds a special place for me. It is a canvas for a different sort of experience. Electronically dominated music, holding lyrics not in their normal primacy but as another layer within the sounds presented. Post-rock, emotion-laden and cosmic in its scope. Instrumentals are different, not better; lyrics do not detract, they just focus one onto their cadence and meaning. We are drawn to language and so the chorus assigns a melody to us that we cannot turn from. Instrumental music however, allows for imagination. The mind wanders as we listen, and so new meanings are drawn from every go. These tracks fade into our background, filling out the nooks and crannies of our experience, temporarily amplifying whatever it is we find ourselves doing, making it melancholy, transforming it into a monumental moment. They come in many forms – the ambient sounds of a soothing piano, cascading guitar riffs and synthesizers, electro beats and booms. These bands and tracks are for concentration and celebration, for driving on lazy Saturday afternoons and for actively playlisting my hands to the writing upon this very blog.

Daft PunkOne More Time – The first time I heard album Discovery was via Interstella 5555 on Toonami Aftermath. That’s right, an anime based on one of the best-selling albums from one of the most popular electronic performances in the world, on a free-streaming Toonami fan website. Daft. And boom, I was a fan for life. How can you not love Daft Punk? The French duo has, equally esoteric and mesmerizing, has been at this for years. I hope to one day possibly see them live. Discovery and Random Access Memories are my favorite albums and are simply endlessly listenable. And the dialogue-less, musical journey and storyline for Interstella is fire, crafted by the band and the artist in tandem, each inspiring the other. You should watch / listen to the whole film!

ONE MORE TIME

The Postal ServiceSuch Great Heights – This music video introduced me to the sounds of the Postal Service. At first glance, nothing more than a novelty – an indie electronic band, easy listening and non-sense lyrics delivered from a light voice. After all, at this point in my life I was already well-versed in music and I believed I had long ago discovered my taste. This was a novelty, and not something to be sincerely listened to more than once and accidentally from there. Although, I soon realized, I had heard this track before – on the UPS commercials. Another reason to chuckle. Boy, was I wrong. After listening through the whole album a few times on a lark, to get the full experience, I realized the scope of my err. Give Up {their one and only album unfortunately} has become one of my favorite albums of all time, every song is perfect and ordered in such a way to never get old. And the lyrics, the melancholy, the longing and the fading in and fading out of the beats… All of it is masterful. Some days I am not sure why I love it so much. then I just listen again.

And I am finally seeing
Why I was the one worth leaving

God is an AstronautFrozen Twilight – Entirely instrumental, GIAA is my favorite post-rock sound. The Irish band makes on believe the truth of their title, playing to the cosmos with their strange mix of builds and breakdowns. The perfect music for studying, or for playing strategy games, or dungeon crawls. Or for driving. For anything!

Moonlit SailorHope – Swedish post-rock. Maybe the most uplifting, and hopeful, music I have ever heard. MS makes you want to run out into the nearest sunlit fields and summer gardens of Sweden and just smile into the universe.

Ryan FarishFull Sail – The way I discovered this guy is actually hilarious. As a nascent internet searcher and youtube user in my youth, I remember wanting to listen to relaxing music. So naturally, I went to youtube and searched “relaxing music” and this track ‘Full Sail’ comes up with a dramatic and highly touched photograph of a sunlit mountain range appears, but the video at that time was not named as its namesake – instead it was so named “THE MOST RELAXING MUSIC IMAGINABLE”. I clicked, and here we are. Ryan Farish makes hyper-relaxing and uplifting instrumental music, which I have found some small comfort in over the years hence. It sounds like the music of an afterlife, filled with light and angelic riffs and beats one finds it hard to grow tired of.

If These Trees Could TalkSolstice – Some American post-rock. I don’t recall where or how I discovered this band, probably via Spotify somewhere along the way. All of their tracks bleed together but all of them are good.

Red SparowesGiving Birth to Imagined Saviours – More American post-rock. The only band with song names nearly as long and just as interesting as their actual music. They are telling stories with their melodies, ones we may never understand but can always appreciate. Sparows and ITTCT are both chill out music, always on, always hitting.

To Destroy A CityPhilosophy of a Knife – I discovered this band via youtube. This song, provocatively named, came on and I didn’t turn it off. More post-rock but with a tinge of something else. I’m not sure what.

MogwaiWhite NoiseHardcore Will Never Die, But You Will is a perfect album and a perfect album name and it’s true. Scottish post-rock.

HöstsonatenSummereve – An Italian progressive instrumental band which created albums based on the seasons. Their music captures each of the four {Springsong, Winterthrough, Autumnsymphony, Summereve}. I discovered this band how I have discovered many other bands {many not on this list} – through ProgArchives.