Ok, so a few months ago I made a reference to the two things that totally occupied my musical interests. The one that I addressed in that piece was demos; the other that I was fixated on back then was instrumentals, or more accurately, instrumental versions of albums.
Now, I’ve always been a fan of instrumentals. For me, instrumentals were one of the main draws when it came to purchasing singles. Sure, you might get a remix or an occasional b-side, but you were nearly always guaranteed an instrumental. I even copped Tupac’s single for “Dear Mama” because I thought that the instrumental was solid.
And of course, as the popularity of the Internet has grown exponentially, instrumentals that could only be found on vinyl flooded onto the Web, as I eagerly awaited. Over the years, I’ve collected 15 discs of random instrumentals.
But lately I’ve been all about the instrumental albums. One of the things that really opened my eyes to Danger Mouse was the instrumental version of The Odd Couple., and the vocal-less version of Back to Black stands up just as well as the one with Amy Winehouse’s singing. And those were just the two that I was bumping when I got distracted a few months back.
Obviously, it helps if you like the original version of the album. Case in point, I really liked Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm so it was easy to become smitten with a version that featured only instrumentals. Same thing with Kenna’s New Sacred Cow. I’ve even got some Coldplay instrumentals, but just like the versions with vocals, they’re “meh” at best.
On the hip-hop side of things, I’m a pretty happy camper, as I’ve got vocal free versions of all three Little Brother albums (which I listen to quite frequently), tons of Beatnuts (I’ve got most of their albums in instrumental form, plus Mos Def’s and Al’ Tariq’s debuts) and I’ve got Phife’s solo joint, one of the few albums that’s arguably better without the vocals.
Currently I’m in a Motown mood, so I’ve been listening to some pure Funk Brothers goodness, and it really does a soul good. I mean, I’ve always been into the Motown sound, but listening to the instrumentals, you really get a better appreciation for the Funk Brothers having provided the backbone for the entire scene. It sounds so good that I’m on the verge of transforming into a septuagenarian and railing against today’s music while shaking my walking stick. Yeah, it’s that good.
Anyway, I just thought I’d provide closure for those you who I left hanging those many months ago. But basically I’m a fiend for instrumentals.
Tags: Amy Winehouse, Coldplay, Danger Mouse, Mos Def