Maher’s Top 5!

Hey everyone! Corey here. Leron was nice enough to allow me to guest write here on “Albums & Ages.”

If you’re anything like me, you listen to music at every available opportunity throughout the day. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but sometimes listening to music while doing homework can be a bit distracting.


On the other hand, I’ve noticed that listening to instrumental music while working actually improves my ability to focus. Check out five of my favorite instrumental albums, in no particular order:

(I’ve also embedded my favorite song off each album)

Tycho – Awake

Tycho is an ambient-electronic project founded by Scott Hansen, a composer, producer and graphic artist from San Francisco, CA. It all started off as Hansen’s solo project, but eventually he added another guitarist and a drummer to the equation.

If I had to choose one album to play during my funeral, this would be the one. I don’t mean to delve that far into the future, but I’ve been a huge Tycho fan for many years now. Hansen’s synth-work is unparalleled among others in the same genre.


Khruangbin – The Universe Smiles Upon You

I’m still not 100% sure how to pronounce this one, but Khruangbin is a mellow three-piece band from Houston, TX. Their name translates to “Engine Fly” in Thai, and their music is heavily influenced by 1960’s Thai funk and surf-rock.

Whenever I listen through this album, I can’t help but picture myself alone on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I’m sure that’s what Khruangbin was probably going for.


Odesza – Summer’s Gone

Odesza is an electronic music duo from Seattle, WA. Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight were both enrolled at Western Washington University when they met. They began creating music together shortly before graduation, and thus, Odesza was born.

If you ever get the chance to experience Odesza live, do not let that opportunity slip away. Currently, their full live band consists of roughly twenty members playing a wide variety of instruments. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to see Odesza, but I had no idea who they were at the time, and this still haunts me to my core.


Pretty Lights – A Color Map of the Sun (Disc 2)

Derek Vincent Smith is the mastermind behind Pretty Lights, the groundbreaking music project originating from Fort Collins, CO. Smith started off messing around with vintage funk and soul samples, and bringing them up to speed with synthesizers and hip hop rhythms.

This album in particular is extraordinary. Rather than using samples from other musicians, Smith created an entire catalog of his own samples while traveling between Brooklyn, New Orleans and Denver. All of the samples were pressed to vinyl before being brought into the digital realm, giving A Color Map of the Sun that crisp analog sound that I can’t get enough of.


Exmag – Proportions

Exmag is a supergroup of talented producers, including the well-known Gramatik (aka Denis Jasarevic). Their catalog ranges from pop radio hits, to nu-jazz instrumentals. Although this album isn’t fully instrumental, I still feel it deserves its place on this list.

Exmag is probably the most underrated group among the electronic music scene. They have one song with 1.5 million plays on Spotify, but aside from that, the rest of their music averages around 100,000 plays. I honestly think the world could use a bit more Exmag.


Why Not Be Everything

I talked to junior Theatre Arts & Audio Radio Major, Amy Gruttadaria. She’s a cool cat, you can usually find in the radio station or in RAC, behind the desk being the awesome stage manager she is. She shared me some of her music faves. Hope you like it!


What album do you think had the greatest effect on your life?Lorde_Pure_Heroine.png

It would have to be Pure Heroine by Lorde. I think that she writes for the person who never fits in, and that was very much me in high school.

As I was entering senior year, I was really struggling with a lot of things and listening to such a well formed album with great lyrics and melodies really helped me get through a lot (a big break up, and figuring out who I am and what I want to be).

Favorite song on the album?

My favorite song is called ribs. It’s her telling the story of how one night her parents went out and she threw a party and how we are all searching for one night to be crazy. Even though we may find that night, craziness is not always a good thing. I touches on human nature.

How would you describe the album?

She [Lorde]  writes personally. She will try to find interesting ways to write her lyrics.She taps into an emotional place, without going to a dark place. And I respect that so much from a 17/18 year old.


What current album would you recommend?

I recommend Back on Top by The Front Bottoms. They are a band from New Jersey, known for sounding like Blink-182 but also known for their lyrics that tend to not always make sense.

I knew one or two of their songs but when I went to college, I became a huge fan. So last fall the released Back on Top. They had then signed to a big label, and everyone was worried that they would sell out and sound like every other pop-punk band, but every song on the album is solid and hits me emotionally.

Why is that your pick?

Every song on that album gets me through a lot of things. Even though they are all in their late 20s and early 30s, they write from a college student’s standpoint. Drugs, unrequited love…All the issues I don’t talk about with people, I can deal with by listening to their music.


If you could pick an album that could some up who you are, what would it be?

The Hair soundtrack, the original. There is something about the rawness of the original that came out in the 70s. So much of who I am is deliberation. I don’t know who I want to be, but why not be everything while I can? I don’t what I want to fight for, but I will fight for everything.

Can you tell me about your history with the album?

5878911“My mother had her original record player so I think I was 13 when I first heard it. I didn’t understand what all of it meant, but the songs stuck in my head all the time. I was always curious about what Let the Sunshine In meant.” After seeing the show (hear at Fredonia), I found myself being in the audience and listening to the music thinking,  ‘I feel like they are pulling my thoughts and putting them into a show.

Do you consider yourself a modern day hippy?

“Oh yeah! I could tell you I have never hit anything or anybody. I am very slow to anger which I think is a hippy thing, except when it comes to activism. I try to see everyone’s side, which is the best you can do for a modern day hippy.