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What happened to "The Instrumental"?
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famousbass
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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What happened to "The Instrumental"?

I remember growing up through the Golden Age of Pop Radio when (nearly) every artist had an opportunity to put it out there, see if the kids like it, who knows(?)

Bands like Steeley Dan, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, The Commodores etc etc etc were confident enough about their writing that they would drop in one wordless instrumental track on nearly every album (not so much The Beatles though) to keep the kids occupied and for something to aspire to.

It's gotta be a dying artform because hardly any new bands do it anymore.

Is it because they can't play unless they accompany a vocalist?
Or they lack real musicianly depth to keep the paying public interested?

Sure, you get the long musical intro, but that's nothing new.

I thought all that music education and the speed and ease of content delivery to the muso meant it should be part of today's repertoire like it was back in the Golden Age (where the big bad beat stealers still go to steal their beats.)

Bands like Cinematic Orchestra aside... (I take that back, what other bands are like Cinematic Orchestra...?)

Comments?
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20th November 2012
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Musicians aren't as valued as producers.. its the music BUSINESS. McDonalds for your ears.. mmmm the easily swallowed pablum..

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20th November 2012
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You mean like this?

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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rust Creep View Post
McDonalds for your ears.. mmmm the easily swallowed pablum..
Yes, but too much of it, and you just want to throw up.
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famousbass View Post

Bands like Steeley Dan, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, The Commodores etc etc etc were confident enough about their writing that they would drop in one wordless instrumental track on nearly every album
Exactly, the "artists" today aren't confident enough in their own writing. Then again, most of the stuff you hear on the radio isn't written by the actual artist.
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famousbass
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rust Creep View Post
Musicians aren't as valued as producers.. its the music BUSINESS. McDonalds for your ears.. mmmm the easily swallowed pablum..

Sent from my DROIDX
I looked it up...
Pablum: Trite, insipid, or simplistic writing, speech, or conceptualization: "We have
to settle for the pablum that passes for the inside dope" (Julie Salamon).

"You learn something new every day." (My Dad)
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rust Creep View Post
Musicians aren't as valued as producers.. its the music BUSINESS.
What were Producers doing in the old days? Sitting around, not doing business, waiting for the musicians to get their act together? Doubt it...

Can you make the point you want to make?
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
You mean like this?

Errr, maybe. (Do some of the players have tuning issues? I'm not picking up they're hip... are they, to someone?)

Forgive my ignorance of this band but I'm looking forthe less obscure, like the current equivalent of bands like Steeley Dan, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, The Commodores, you know, the obvious big, hot, new acts out there.

I don't think it's my imagination or myopia...
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20th November 2012
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Can you give a few examples of these instrumentals?

These days electronic dance music is huge and a lot of that is 'instrumental'
I also enjoy bands like Tortoise who are purely instrumental although this track is from 1998 they still make albums like this today
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20th November 2012
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Okay I know the instrumentals form Stevie, Steely, Jimi and the rest.. so yeah.. I wish for more of that too : )
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentinel View Post
Exactly, the "artists" today aren't confident enough in their own writing. Then again, most of the stuff you hear on the radio isn't written by the actual artist.
That's always been the case since the best song by the best songwriter played by the best band to make the biggest hit isn't a bad business model and not news.
Regular pop song performances aren't what's on the agenda.
It's what the current "amazing bands" (name a few) do when they're not playing pop.
The point I'm making is all these amazing bands aren't really pushing the boundaries at all but contently playing in the pop sandbox, so to speak.
Does the instrumental no longer relate to the fans?
If so, when and why did it change?
A player like Stevie Ray Vaughan seemed to able to do it without trouble but, mofo that he is, he doesn't really qualify a pop star, does he?
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famousbass View Post
... are they, to someone?)

...
This is obviously one of those cases: "If you have to ask......"
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batchainpuller78 View Post
Can you give a few examples of these instrumentals?

These days electronic dance music is huge and a lot of that is 'instrumental'
I also enjoy bands like Tortoise who are purely instrumental although this track is from 1998 they still make albums like this today
Not instrumental bands but song based bands like Mono (Formica Blues) as the modern example of an album of great songs that also have great instrumentals.
Say, pop bands like Australia's The Reels with their Beautiful LP had 2 instrumentals.
Major chart bands like Simple Minds could always pull it off.
Style Council, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, James Brown, EW&F, Beastie Boys, Moby could do it. Paul McCartney's first solo album had 3 instrumentals.

It can't have just gone away, has it?

The instrumental... it's like an oasis in a sea of pop. It's a bit of art. Bring it back!!!
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
This is obviously one of those cases: "If you have to ask......"
They rehearsed to sound like that? They're kind of awful... thanks for the contribution. Except the trumpeter.
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20th November 2012
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I'm sure they're just heartbroken.
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famousbass View Post
Not instrumental bands but song based bands like Mono (Formica Blues) as the modern example of an album of great songs that also have great instrumentals.
This confused me the first time I read it, because I thought you were talking about the other band called Mono (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mono_(Japanese_band)) who only play instrumentals.
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20th November 2012
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You know, I haven't noticed it but now that you mention it.

I always liked "Dune (Desert Theme)" from Toto.
"Machine Gun" from the Commodores is just sexy.
Even Iron Maiden got into it with "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)". That's a nice rocker instrumental.

You can't dare mention instrumental, especially in the Rock idiom with a mention of Link Wray. He's got a bunch, each one better than the next.

But you know what I miss now that I think about it? The Disco instrumental. Big, lush arrangements. Full orchestra. Great vibe.

"Love's Theme" from Barry White. That's a great one.
"Manhattan Skyline" from David Shire. Love that one.

Even though they're not on the same level, I'll even give a shout out to Meco and all his disco instrumentals of movie themes like Star Wars, Superman, Close Encounters, etc. Only because they were arranged by Harold Wheeler and he's just phenomenal.

Wow - thanks for bringing this up. It's been a while since I heard a good instrumental.

Regards,
Frank
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famousbass View Post
Not instrumental bands but song based bands like Mono (Formica Blues) as the modern example of an album of great songs that also have great instrumentals.
Say, pop bands like Australia's The Reels with their Beautiful LP had 2 instrumentals.
Major chart bands like Simple Minds could always pull it off.
Style Council, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, James Brown, EW&F, Beastie Boys, Moby could do it. Paul McCartney's first solo album had 3 instrumentals.

It can't have just gone away, has it?

The instrumental... it's like an oasis in a sea of pop. It's a bit of art. Bring it back!!!
well but what are current pop acts?? I mean there's a huge difference in what is modern pop and some of the acts you mention.
Current pop is a lot of times very electronic in nature and well I don't like a lot those songs I'm not sure I wanna hear some instrumentals of these peeps.

It all has fallen apart in different sub cultures.. and there are still people making music like that but be it in the realm of mega popularity? I don't know.

title track of Anna Calvi's debut?
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
You know, I haven't noticed it but now that you mention it.

I always liked "Dune (Desert Theme)" from Toto.
"Machine Gun" from the Commodores is just sexy.
Even Iron Maiden got into it with "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)". That's a nice rocker instrumental.

You can't dare mention instrumental, especially in the Rock idiom with a mention of Link Wray. He's got a bunch, each one better than the next.

But you know what I miss now that I think about it? The Disco instrumental. Big, lush arrangements. Full orchestra. Great vibe.

"Love's Theme" from Barry White. That's a great one.
"Manhattan Skyline" from David Shire. Love that one.

Even though they're not on the same level, I'll even give a shout out to Meco and all his disco instrumentals of movie themes like Star Wars, Superman, Close Encounters, etc. Only because they were arranged by Harold Wheeler and he's just phenomenal.

Wow - thanks for bringing this up. It's been a while since I heard a good instrumental.

Regards,
Frank
Wow, Meco. He wrote some amazing (and some truly horrible) albums. Props. But they're not really the style I'm talking about. Meco's not the same as Barry White who's more of the songmaker with instrumental vibe I'm talking about. Actually Barry is kind of a split personality, great at both and you didn't lose out whichever way he went.

Link Wray is the dirt!

I agree about the disco instrumental. Every instrument on the planet passed through this device. Fabulous.
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batchainpuller78 View Post
well but what are current pop acts?? I mean there's a huge difference in what is modern pop and some of the acts you mention.
Current pop is a lot of times very electronic in nature and well I don't like a lot those songs I'm not sure I wanna hear some instrumentals of these peeps.

It all has fallen apart in different sub cultures.. and there are still people making music like that but be it in the realm of mega popularity? I don't know.
title track of Anna Calvi's debut?
Yeah, difference between modern pop and any older pop? Sure, no brainer...

Later, however, you make a good point. The house-of-cards construction technique of modern pop could mean the rules of the game are too tightly held by the song being presented exactly as it has been finally decided on it has deflated the vision that you can just go for it. It has trained the charting bands to not stray from what has been provided by the Producer who has delivered the hit album for them.
However you redefine pop, musicians in pop bands don't feel they should stretch out and communicate this way to their audience any more.
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20th November 2012
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indeed because it has fallen apart in sub cultures all being targeted with different marketing strategies.. where music once was a large melting pot of artists making, discovering and veering off into different directions, evolving.. it is now a genre & niche market..
I mean the www isn't even that global anymore.. so many programs at work to tailor it to your tastes.. I mean I get Frank Zappa T-shirt ads in the sidebar of my facebook account.. i'm pretty sure that does not go out to every FB user.

So it is a result of the distribution in music that has changed.. I never got all the major label hate in the piracy forum... if I look at my record collection these large labels came out with anything from sugary pop to experimental art.
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Originally Posted by Batchainpuller78 View Post
indeed because it has fallen apart in sub cultures all being targeted with different marketing strategies.. where music once was a large melting pot of artists making, discovering and veering off into different directions, evolving.. it is now a genre & niche market..
Yes, it doesn't sell, so it won't be seen today. Appreciation of instrumental music requires a desire for exploration and discovery in the audience even more than in the musicians. That is gone in any mass sense.

Miles Copeland always had a great love of the instrumental. Wishbone Ash was one of my favorite bands of the era. Also Curved Air, Focus, Pete Haycock and others he was involved with. A few years and a scant 19 releases later, No Speak was out of business. No market even back in '88.
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20th November 2012
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Originally Posted by famousbass View Post
Not instrumental bands but song based bands
I think it would be far more interesting to have some of these instrumental bands to come up with some pop tunes or songs
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21st November 2012
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Very different eras. Back in the 60's and 70's the concept album was the bomb. Songs were getting longer. "Close to the Edge" by Yes had only three songs. I can remember waiting for an album to come out, a bunch of friends would get together, light up and crack a few beers, and then bathe in the latest from The Who, or Zeppelin, or Pink Floyd, or Genesis, or ELP, or...

The 80's an 90's were the MTV music video age, and rock and pop became product more than ever. Concerts truly became a visual as well as sonic medium.

Ever since the advent of iTunes most label groups are putting out collections of singles rather than albums. Personally, I'm surprised to hear great solo breaks these days.

The up side, however, is there is a plethora of great indie bands/artists out there if you are willing to wade through the sewage to find the good stuff. You'll find your instrumentals there, and, of course, there's always country music...
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21st November 2012
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Very different eras. Back in the 60's and 70's the concept album was the bomb. Songs were getting longer. "Close to the Edge" by Yes had only three songs. I can remember waiting for an album to come out, a bunch of friends would get together, light up and crack a few beers, and then bathe in the latest from The Who, or Zeppelin, or Pink Floyd, or Genesis, or ELP, or...

The 80's an 90's were the MTV music video age, and rock and pop became product more than ever. Concerts truly became a visual as well as sonic medium.

Ever since the advent of iTunes most label groups are putting out collections of singles rather than albums. Personally, I'm surprised to hear great solo breaks these days.

The up side, however, is there is a plethora of great indie bands/artists out there if you are willing to wade through the sewage to find the good stuff. You'll find your instrumentals there, and, of course, there's always country music...
Word... whatever happened to the album?
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