Looking for lovely summer-time instrumentals
June 16, 2014 12:00 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for suggestions for light, airy, instrumentals that evoke feelings of peaceful, summer afternoons....and that doesn't fit into the all the other summer music questions, ha!

An example would be this song from the Brideshead Revisited soundtrack or MeFi's own ORThey's Shake Your Head If Yes. (This song from that soundtrack also works.) I'll welcome most genres and ranges - soundtracks, opera, classical, bluegrass, older jazz like Wang Wang Blues, what-have-you....except for what's already been covered here. (There were good suggestions in the non-pop question but that was looking more at new age/ambient type stuff, which is not what I'm interested in.)

Note: I've seen the awesome summer jams playlist question and follow-up; I want reading and drinking ice tea on the porch type music, not jamming/groovy/get on your feet/driving to the beach type. Also this question was great (music for a hot day) but the answers had too much heat, too much singing. (Along with the other summer+music tagged questions).

Thanks in advance. We're slowly going to fill every summer music niche. . . .
posted by barchan to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
You want Tycho! Tycho is awesome at this vibe.
posted by jbickers at 12:04 PM on June 16, 2014

There's a cut on this album - I think it's "Sentimentale" - that would suit. I took dance classes when I was about eleven, and at every recital my teacher would bust out this one piece she called "Summer Afternoon", something she did with herself and two of the top students, which used that music and was totally that kind of "nostalgic memories of summer on the porch in the country" vibe.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:12 PM on June 16, 2014

The Ladybug Transistor - Vale of Cashmere

The rest of the album, Arbemarle Sound, has lyrics but is deliciously summer.

This might be too much singing and/or pep, but Kites are Fun - The Free Design was pretty much made for this mood.
posted by prewar lemonade at 12:31 PM on June 16, 2014

One more instrumental! The Apples in Stereo - Innerspace
posted by prewar lemonade at 12:36 PM on June 16, 2014

Try Gotan Project, also 60s Exotica like Martin Denny, Dick Hyman, Les Baxter, etc.
posted by rhizome at 12:37 PM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maybe check out some videogame music: this and this are two of my favourites, & I think both evoke the same feeling as the Brideshead song. Also this, if you want more whistling.
posted by littlegreen at 12:45 PM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Harold Budd's The Pavilion of Dreams.

Peter Walker's Rainy Day Raga. White Wind.
posted by AtoBtoA at 2:25 PM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Debussy's Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune

The low flute in the beginning definitely evokes a hazy summer day for me. There are some moments of tension, but they are more in the nature of having to swat a pesky fly or endure the aggravation of having to go into the house to refill your lemonade.

Here's what Debussy said about the piece, according to Wikipedia: "...there is a succession of scenes through which pass the desires and dreams of the faun in the heat of the afternoon. Then, tired of pursuing the timorous flight of nymphs and naiads, he succumbs to intoxicating sleep, in which he can finally realize his dreams of possession in universal Nature."
posted by fussbudget at 4:53 PM on June 16, 2014

Confirmed! It is Sentimentale.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:09 PM on June 16, 2014

These recommendations are all based on your jazz links. The first one ("this song") sounds very similar to the music of Stephen Grapelli / Django Rhinehart. Here they are doing Honeysuckle Rose.

Someone once said that Louis Armstrong's Potato Head Blues was one of the things that made life worth living.

I love the old Hoagy Carmichael song, Stardust (piano). I found this string version by Los Indios Tabajaras especially lovely.

I don't know if you'll think Glenn Miller's music is too "smooth", but in honor of my dad who just loved Glenn Miller and got me to love him too, I'm going to include a few of my favorites from his slower repetoire:

Moonlight Serenade
Begin the Beguine
Sunrise Serenade
Rhapsody in Blue (while this work is definitely overplayed, the arrangement is just different enough to make it interesting.)
posted by marsha56 at 11:59 PM on June 16, 2014

Chico Serra -- Fidjo Magoado
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:35 AM on June 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

These are great, everyone, thank-you!

Marsha56, some of those are just perfect. My problem with jazz is that I know what I like when I hear it, but have difficulty finding it myself. *beams*
posted by barchan at 7:56 AM on June 17, 2014

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