Posts tagged ‘Instrumental’

Private Jet by Penthouse Penthouse


Changing it up a bit and slowing it down a lot for this week’s entry.  “Private Jet,” the instrumental R&B track from the enigmatic LA-based duo, Penthouse Penthouse, is one of those songs that make you want to lay out on a warm night and let everything fade away.  With a subtle hand, the use of echoes and well placed electronic effects, “Private Jet” may be one of the most laid back, romantic tracks you hear all year.  Enjoy.

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Lying Together by FKJ


He goes by French Kiwi Juice but it’s just easier to call him FKJ. Little else is known about this French producer other than his music is a synthed out mix of neo-soul, R&B, and hip-hop.  This is late night, top down, cruising down a city street kind of music.  His single, “Lying Together,” off a multi-artist club album Electro Labs 01 is a loop of heightened vocals, funky melodies, and a hint of the mystery and intoxication the city emits when the sun goes down.  FKJ already has one EP under his belt and his sophomore EP, Take Off, will hit virtual stores on July 21st.  Enjoy.

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The Beast by Ikebe Shakedown


Uh!!!  That’s the guttural ‘Uh!” when a song is so good, so funky, that your brain goes right back into cro-magnon mode and it’s the only sound that you can make to express complete satisfaction.  I usually say it three times per track when listening to the jazz/afro-beat outfit, Ikebe Shakedown. The NY-based crew recently released their second full length album, Stone by Stone, and it’s near impossible to find a track that isn’t bursting with soul and slick beats.  Seven members strong, Ikebe Shakedown is instrumental music at its funk perfection.  Just check out “The Beast,” and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  Enjoy.  It’s almost impossible not to.

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Paradise by ESTA.


Beats don’t get much smoother than those crafted by SoCal producer, ESTA.  The hip-hop and soul instrumental artist…well, mostly instrumental…is like your typical digital-based musician, with more albums than letters in his name.  He’ll probably have two more under his belt before you finish reading this post.  But it’s all good because each album showcases his mastery of soul music, southern rap beats, rhythm and blues and just about every other genre.  A perfect example of this DJ’s skill is “Paradise,” off the album of the same name.  One of the rare tracks with a vocalist – the irresistible Alina Baraz – “Paradise” is a slow, thumping groove that should help you escape the brutal winter approaching and take you to, well, paradise.  Enjoy.

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Hold You (feat. Atu) by Sango


Part instrumental, part lyrical, all R&B and soul, Michigan-based solo artist Sango‘s debut album, North, is finely crafted slow jam after slow jam.  It’s no surprise that North is on Soulection, the same record label as fellow instrumental artist, IAMNOBODI.  Where IAMNOBODI at times can lean more towards the hip-hop element, Sango is dedicated solely to that late night, “awww yeah” kind of music.  “Hold You,” featuring indie R&B artist/producer, Atu, has layers of ethereal tones, spattering electronics, piano, echoing vocals, but still feels simplistic, never overproduced and always seductive.  As I said earlier, awww yeah.  Enjoy.

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Maputo Dance by IAMNOBODI


To make an electronic instrumental album that is engaging from start to finish is no small feat.  IAMNOBODI, the pseudonym for German artist, Joe Kay, easily accomplishes this task with his album, Elevated.  Each song on Elevated has its own unique flavor while still flowing into the next with tranquil beats and melodies that can serve as the backdrop for any R&B/soul track that’s come out since the 90s.  “Maputo Dance,” the third track on Elevated, is just about as smooth and seductive as any soul track is allowed to be by law.  So make sure to have some ice cubes handy because you’re going to need something nearby to cool you down after “Maputo Dance” fades out.  Enjoy.

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Gold Can Stay (EP) by Broke For Free


Words?  Where we’re going, we don’t need words.  All we need is Broke for Free a/k/a Tom Cascino.  This solo electronic musician has been releasing albums and EPs about every 3 1/2 minutes since April of 2010, all leading up to Gold Can Stay, his breakthrough EP from this past December.  Gold Can Stay finds Cascino relying more on real life guitars than any of his prior releases, creating a more tangible dimension to his music and contrasting perfectly with the chillwave synths he lays down in the background.   If Gold Can Stay is a sign of things to come, Cascino will have to change his stage name pretty soon.  Enjoy.

Best Tracks:

The Gold Lining


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Side note: Cascino’s work recently appeared in a GQ special video segment featuring the Khaleesi, Emilia Clarke, which I was watching totally for research on this entry.  I swear.

Vollmilch (EP) by Vulfpeck


Aaaaaww yeah.  If you don’t know Vulfpeck, you don’t know funky.  Vulfpeck is an instrumental funk band that met in a 19th Century German literary class where they were the only four students.  After discovering a mutual love of rhythm sections, the foursome created their own, with members doing double duty on keyboard and drums.  In 2011, they released their debut EP, Mit Peck, and in 2013, released Vollmilch, an EP with some serious stank on it.  The bass guitar thumps through the entire EP while  piano chords crisply dominate tracks, all led by loose yet precise drumwork.  Perhaps the EP’s best song, “Outro,” which just happens to be Vollmilch‘s intro, guest stars a scorching saxophone that could burn the house down.  Man, these guys are so funky, I seriously just want to be their friend.

Best Tracks:


“It Gets Funkier II”

When & Where:

When you are feeling so damn cool, you just can’t stand it anymore.  I have no idea what that feels like.

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Beat the Odds by Robot Orchestra


This week I focus on one of the most underappreciated forms of music – instrumental.  Most people hear the word ‘instrumental’ and think of elevator music.  That’s like hearing the word ‘pizza’ and thinking Papa Johns is its ambassador.  When done right, instrumental music transcends its pigeonholed use as background filler and can fosters the listener’s creativity that, at times, is stunted by someone else’s lyrics.  With instrumental music, we define the song’s meaning, rather than have it sung to us, and in essence, are part of the song’s creative process.  Ok, ok, enough soapboxing.  Let’s get to it.

Robot Orchestra is a German beat maker who crafts some of the most unique and mesmerizing hip-hop beats flavored with 60s soul.  Robot Orchestra‘s sophomore album, Beat the Odds, is littered with sharp rhythms, classic melodies, and a consistently reserved flow.  How music coming out of Germany can tap into a sound you would likely hear on a Brooklyn stoop is pretty mind-boggling but you can’t argue with the results.  To be honest, there are a few vocals on Beat the Odds, but we’ll let him get away with it because they serve more as instruments than the songs’ centerpiece.

Best Tracks:

In Love


Home is Where the Music Is


When & Where:

Anytime you need to get the creative juices flowing, Robot Orchestra should be the inspiration.  My one complaint is I catch myself doing some of the most pathetic freestyle rapping you’ve probably ever heard.  At least it can’t be any worse than Souljah Boy.

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