i've been doing a lot of work lately that requires a lot of concentration, and since i can't function without some good tunes in my head, that means i've been listening to a lot of instrumental music.
m. ward : "transfiguration #1"
from the lp transfiguration of vincent (merge records, 2003)
i couldn't have a post on instrumentals and not include m. ward, so might as well start with him. he's still one of the most amazing guitarists i've ever seen.
rodrigo y gabriela : "ixtapa"
from the lp rodrigo y gabriela (ato records, 2006)
from one amazing guitarist to two more, these two absolutely stole the show at kcrw's a sounds eclectic evening. they did not politely ask for it, they took it like it belonged to them. and rightly so.
jake shimabukuro : "while my guitar gently weeps"
from the lp gently weeps (hitchhike records, 2006)
from guitar virtuosos to a ukulele virtuoso (you heard me right), jake is someone i was introduced to only recently. it's amazing what some people can do.
robert glasper : "maiden voyage/everything in its right place"
from the lp in my element (blue note records, 2007)
another virtuoso, glasper is a jazz pianist with an ear and appreciation for hip-hip, rock, gospel, you name it. he's collaborated with the likes of mos def, q-tip, and bilal, but here he takes a herbie hancock tune with a radiohead tune and makes them his own.
christopher o'riley : "paranoid android"
from the lp hold me to this: christopher o'riley plays radiohead (sony, 2005)
speaking of radiohead, o'riley is a classical pianist and obsessed radiohead fan who has made two recordings of his own arrangements of radiohead songs. sort of an attempt to expose classical music listeners to radiohead and vice versa, and it works wonderfully.
eluvium : "prelude for time feelers"
from the lp copia (temporary residence, 2007)
under the moniker eluvium, matthew cooper makes pure, gorgeous, ambient melodies. sometimes ominous, sometimes soothing, he manages to elicit a range of emotions without saying a single word.
explosions in the sky : "welcome, ghosts"
from the lp all of a sudden i miss everyone (temporary residence, 2007)
whereas eluvium tends to be quiet and introspective, eits come hard and loud, brandishing their guitars like six shooters to the tune of pounding--absolutely pummeled to oblivion--drums.
the six parts seven : "stolen moments"
from the lp casually smashed to pieces (suicide squeeze, 2007)
one of many bands that has come recommended by charles at heartache with hard work, the six parts seven lies somewhere in between eluvium and explosions in the sky. the music is driven by subdued drums with electric guitars and bass creating atmospheric layers of sound that gradually build and eventually fall.