Instrumental music: it’s been around since about 500 AD. It’s come a long way since the days of simply humming, or using sticks as instruments, though. Over thousands of years, this artform has taken on a new form through technological advances and a lot of experimentation. Here are five songs that, I believe, prove this genre is still going strong, and better than ever.
1. “Amour” by Polyphia: This song is from their newest album, “Renaissance.” It marks a new era for the group, since they’ve slowly been changing their sound from one in the vein of Intervals to something completely unique and jazz influenced. “Amour” is definitely a catchy toe-tapper, rife with brief solos between verses and choruses, a crisp, slightly distorted guitar tone, and bass riffs reminiscent of something Victor Wooten would play.
2. “Story” by CHON: What list about instrumental bands would be complete without CHON? None. This track comes from their most recent release, “Grow.” This is also a band that incorporates a lot of jazz chords, but with a lot more crazy soloing (especially in this song). “Story” switches between riffs that are chaotic and fast paced, and dreamy and time signature-bending. It will make any musician want to practice their instrument more.
3. “Quiet” by This Will Destroy You: Featured on their debut 2006 EP, “Young Mountain,” “Quiet” is a soft, emotional song that will make you feel like you’re watching the break-up scene from a dramatic movie. It starts off slowly with piano, and then cascades into an epic roller coaster ride of swirling guitar tones and tremolo picking.
4. “Rioseco” by Caspian: This is a band that definitely has listened to a lot of This Will Destroy You and Explosions In The Sky, and then decided to add a slightly darker tone to it. “Rioseco” is a song found on the band’s second Triple Crown Records release, “Dust and Disquiet.” It is an eight minute epic that is mostly on the slow side, with delayed guitars bouncing off each other and somber strings in the background, and then builds up to a more powerful, eerie bridge and outro.
5. “Young and Courageous” by Tides of Man: After losing their singer, Tillian Pearson, TOM was faced with either finding a new one or heading in a different direction. Thankfully they chose the second option. The product that surfaced from that redirection was an album with the same name as this track. It is filled with guitar riff motifs that will immediately make you forget about a vocalist, pounding bass tones, beautiful piano accompaniment, and an overall epic tone.
Sure, none of these tracks are sing alongs, but the craftsmanship, intensity and arrangement that these tracks have can definitely hold their own. Check out my playlist and vibe out for a little bit. No words needed, hum along, if need be.