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.

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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.