Jump to content

Songs with Outstanding Instrumentation


c_s_1987
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've realised recently that the main difference between my musical taste and most other people's taste here is that to me, instrumentation is everything. Well, almost everything. My nominations in the last top ten are good examples of songs which have a strong focus on the instruments as well as the vocals. Also, since I bought Octopus by Gentle Giant and In The Court Of The Crimson King by King Crimson, I've considered them to be probably the two most instrumentally strong albums I have heard. Unsurprisingly, I do also like classical music - The Planets by Gustav Holst is my favourite.

What other songs, bands and albums can you think of that have excellent instrumentation (in particular, ones that aren't considered progressive or classical)?

Note that I am not necessarily looking for songs that have a large quantity of musical instruments, I am looking more at the quality. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Brian Wilson is/was the master (apart from that obvious band that we don't need to name yet again), and the whole genre of Chamber Pop that followed.

And if we move away from pop/rock, then Gil Evans (Miles Davis arranger in the Birth Of The Cool, Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain period...

LBBB

ps, I know you love your Sufjan Stevens, and he is of course a real star in this department.

Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

George Martin's score for The Beatles, 'A Day in the Life"

His orchesteral arrangement is the very thing that makes that song so majestic (that upward building urgency of instruments that seems ((still)) to grow beyond capacity)

Without Martin's help in composition, I'm afraid that The Beatles would have continued to sound like the British Every Brothers...that two part harmony pop diddy blueprint the boy's from Liverpool did so very well

"Woke up...fell out of bed...dragged a comb across my head"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But then I wonder is it even 'instrumentation' if it's really just one note being distorted beyond recognition? And if so, what makes one type of distortion better than the other?

You know... I'll just have a listen to some shoegazy stuff to see if I can figure it out. :confused: My examples aren't as elaborate as the psychedelic/prog rock ones.... yet. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, that's just a guy vamping on an organ with guitar drums and bass (keyboard bass). Is there anything remarkable about the instrumentation? have I missed something?

LBB

They make it sound like there´s an astonishing instrumentation... just with an organ, guitar, drums and bass... :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anything by Blood, Sweat and Tears but especially their first album Child is Father to the Man.

From Allmusic.com: Child Is Father to the Man is keyboard player/singer/arranger Al Kooper's finest work, an album on which he moves the folk-blues-rock amalgamation of the Blues Project into even wider pastures, taking in classical and jazz elements (including strings and horns), all without losing the pop essence that makes the hybrid work. This is one of the great albums of the eclectic post-Sgt. Pepper era of the late '60s, a time when you could borrow styles from Greenwich Village contemporary folk to San Francisco acid rock and mix them into what seemed to have the potential to become a new American musical form. It's Kooper's bluesy songs, such as "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" and "I Can't Quit Her," and his singing that are the primary focus, but the album is an aural delight; listen to the way the bass guitar interacts with the horns on "My Days Are Numbered" or the charming arrangement and Steve Katz's vocal on Tim Buckley's "Morning Glory." Then Kooper sings Harry Nilsson's "Without Her" over a delicate, jazzy backing with flügelhorn/alto saxophone interplay by Randy Brecker and Fred Lipsius. This is the sound of a group of virtuosos enjoying itself in the newly open possibilities of pop music. Maybe it couldn't have lasted; anyway, it didn't.

I Can't Quit Her

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll be Mr. Obvious here (obvious to me anyway), entering a little band called Queen into the list. Listen to Procession:

Queen always mentioned on their album covers that "No synthesizers" were used to create to sounds being heard. Guitar effects, multi-layering, and vocal extravaganzas created what may be the most disctinctive sound in rock.

The March of the Black Queen is another example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAZSMnVa420

There are many more examples, especially obscure on the first three albums. Bohemian Rhapsody put them and "A Night At the Opera" over the top!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What other songs, bands and albums can you think of that have excellent instrumentation (in particular, ones that aren't considered progressive or classical)?

Ouch, that knocks a lot of my choices out! :D

Now there's ^ a great example of how instrumentation should be, IMHO. My, been a while since I heard that one, bazooka!

It made me think of this one which I hope can be added favorably . . .

Keep on Truckin' ~ Eddie Kendricks

Great thread you have going with lots of good songs!

Thanks, c_ s_1987 and everyone that has contributed to this outstanding thread!

:cool:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...