Monday Music: Instrumental bangers

Who needs lyrics anyway?

Monday Music: your weekly themed playlist. Image courtesy of The Peak.

By: Jacob Mattie, Peak Associate

From the long hours spent with course materials, many of us are probably getting to know our study playlists pretty intimately. While studies have shown that songs with lyrics can be distracting, this does not mean instrumental music will help you focus — take, for example, the songs listed here. They simply slap too hard.

“Waltz No. 2” by Dmitri Shostakovich

Colourful, abstract mosaic of various instruments with black outlines
Image courtesy of Klanglogo

A lively romance — Shostakovich absolutely lets loose in this bop of a waltz, dropped sometime after 1956. Suite for Variety Orchestra, the collection this song comes from, was for many years thought to be the missing Jazz Orchestra 2, which was lost sometime during the second world war. This turned out not to be the case, as Jazz Orchestra 2 was found in 1999, but what’s in a name anyways?

“Time For Space” by Emancipator

Close up on a finger, with the print smudged blue, set against a grey-black background
Image courtesy of Loci Records

This song off Emancipator’s 2017 album Baralku has all the makings of good lo-fi. Despite layering enough instruments to fill an orchestra, the song manages to feel minimalistic and uncluttered. With a history of classical training and a number of jam bands, Emancipator has a wide array of musical experience to draw on, which he certainly does here.

“Abusey Junction” by Kokoroko

Collage of sky, ocean, and grass with an overlay of orange butterflies, pale pink flowers, book pages, and black dancing figures
Image courtesy of Brownswood Recordings

If there were one song to soothe a troubled soul, this would be it. Drawing on the West African and Inner London influences of its musicians, the eight piece band Kokoroko has gained recognition across Europe for their horn-heavy sounds. “Abusey Junction” was first contributed to the compilation album We Out Here, from which it gained recognition and won Track of the Year in the 2019 Worldwide awards. Although not a banger in the conventional sense, this track serves as a great reminder that not everything needs to go hard all the time.

“Joeira” by Kurup

White occult-like symbols, split into three panels, on a matte black background
Image courtesy of MCD Records

Kurup has had his music described as “shadows creeping across a forest floor.” Listening to his compositions, the imagery feels appropriate. Dark and brooding, “Joeira” balances downtempo instruments with rattles, taps, and hisses, which give the song an organic feel. It also makes you want to check your shoes for spiders before putting them on.

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