Simple physical music
December 3, 2020 11:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for more music like this. Instrumental tunes with one or two instruments and a strong focus on being able to hear the physical action of the mechanics of the instrument making the sound. This maybe sounds silly since of course a physical action generates a sound. I'm talking about the noises the audience doesn't usually hear. In this one you can hear the musician breathing and the action of the keys being depressed. Bonus: the slower and moodier the better.
posted by sewellcm to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
There’s this live version of Aphex Twin’s “Asiatsana” played on a pendulum array. Notably, the first pendulum is a swinging piano. Alternately, you might like the more minimal end of the “lofi hip-hop beats to relax/study to” stuff might scratch that itch for you!
posted by hollyholly at 11:43 AM on December 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Life Story by Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds is a track that jumped immediately to mind.
posted by minervous at 11:50 AM on December 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

I listened to the track you posted and I love it, I love that vibe in music. These might already be on your radar and/or might not be quite perfect, but I feel like I hear a lot of that tactile breathy vibe from Bonobo, for example on The North Borders. You might also find some of that vibe on this album by The Album Leaf especially this song. If you want slow and moody, The Album Leaf does not disappoint for that.
posted by MustangMamaVE at 12:11 PM on December 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

You might be interested in Wandelweiser.
posted by jpziller at 1:40 PM on December 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

maybe something like michael hedges' aerial boundaries (and other works)?
or, alternately, harold alexander's mama soul?
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:42 PM on December 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Seu Jorge songs on The Life Aquatic soundtrack are very minimal and have lots of finger/string sounds on his guitar as he changes fingering. I'm partial to his version of Life on Mars, which is also plenty moody.
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:03 PM on December 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Maybe not quite what you're looking for, but Glenn Gould's earlier recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations is famous for its rather lo-fi feel, sometimes with Gould breathing or even humming with the music.

Adrianne Lenker's recent (and beautiful) "Music for Indigo" off Songs + Instrumentals is great - instrument noise, rain, etc.

This (self link) Songs:Ohia (Jason Molina) Travels in Constants triple-track is one of my favorite lo-fi recordings, with breaths, creaking chair, even an siren at some point.

The opening few minutes of Tarentel's "Ursa Minor, Ursa Major" always gives me chills but that's more because of the clarity of the instrument.

Balmorhea's album Constellations has a few of these tracks. The first two songs and the title track in particular.

I've always thought this song by Anenon, Mansana, has a particularly tactile breathiness to its wind section.

I don't have a lot of jazz knowledge but this sort of thing must be widespread in the more intimate live recordings in that (waves hands) general area.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:06 PM on December 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

This Booker T. Jones Tiny Desk Concert lets you hear a lot of the sounds you wouldn't otherwise hear in other recordings of him playing a Hammond B3 - the clicking of the keys and pedals, the thunk of a switch, the pull of a drawbar slider, etc.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:13 PM on December 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Another player piano track by Aphex Twin, Avril 14th, was recorded in such a way that if you listen with headphones you can hear the mechanical action of the piano really well.
posted by STFUDonnie at 9:39 PM on December 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Seems to me like you'd be a good customer for the guqin.
posted by mykescipark at 10:23 PM on December 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

oh Goldmund is your next stop.
posted by andreapandrea at 2:57 AM on December 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Keith Jarrett's Köln Concert has a fair amount of him breathing or crying out and other sounds. at certain points in the performance, Jarrett can be heard singing the melodies while playing It's old and not on youtube, many libraries have the album; it's fantastic. Also, incredibly great music for driving. Skilled pianists have covered it, but try the original 1st. I am so grateful to my brother for introducing me to it.

posted by theora55 at 8:34 AM on December 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

Your example (beautiful, thanks) and description brought to mind David Pajo's instrumental work as Papa M, like Live From a Shark Cage. His work with Tortoise may also qualify.
posted by snarfois at 9:06 AM on December 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh yes, and you're sure to love Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Some tracks more so than others, but the "texture" of the instruments is frequently part of the sound.
posted by snarfois at 9:11 AM on December 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yeeeeeesssss thank you all, so much good stuff!
posted by sewellcm at 11:40 AM on December 4, 2020

uhm, a tuba solo... Fnugg
This is instructional and surprising!
posted by multivalent at 2:47 PM on December 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Another song from The Album Leaf, Streamside on the album In A Safe Place, is one of my faves for natural sound.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 3:24 PM on December 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

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