Sparse & moody?

God bless MetaFilter – whoever ignited that flame deserves reward! And every time I ask google for some random, weirdly specific search term sure enough MeFi turns up in the first few results pages… as per ““Recommend me some sparse moody instrumental music…..”

Sparse & moody being two of my favourite descriptive musical terms, in fact ditto instrumental as I tend to equate the human voice (& lyrics) to short term/disposable…. & the sparse bit is especially appealing, somehow that word doesnt have the associative ‘cold’ connotations that ‘minimalist’ does…

And so, thanks to technology, I am off tracking down things I have never heard before & FWIW none of these are my comments, but please comment if you’ve heard any of them:

– Arvo Part, Fratres
– Labradford “especially their more recent stuff”
– Gastr Del Soul’s The Serpentine Similar
– Delius? Songs of Sunset (“is pretty melancholy, but it’s also a bit lush, not sparse”)
– The Graceful Ghost by William Bolcom
– Robin Guthrie – Imperial
– Cocteau Twins/Harold Budd – The Moon and the Melodies
– I’m amazed noone has mentioned Dirty Three yet. They make beautifully sad music with violin, guitar, and drums.
– Moonlight Sonata sound exactly what you want. Beethoven, growing increasingly deaf, dedicated this to his lost love, Giulietta Guicciardi.
– John Cage – in a landscape.
– I strongly recommend the music of Roger Eno (yep, Brian’s brother). “Voices” is a lovely, melancholy album
– If you like a jazz sound, seek out The Ground by the Tord Gustavson Trio. This album is like listening to the sound of a warm sigh on frosted glass.
– Terry Riley – In C
– Talkdemonic
– lots of La Monte Young stuff might fit what you’re after – The Volga Delta is a piece which consists solely of a bowed gong, while Raga For Ravi is a traditional Indian raga, minimalist and utterly captivating.
– The Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov’s work can be exquisitely sparse and moody, for example the ‘Postludium’ pieces on the CD Leggiero, Pesante and Kitsch-Musik on Alexei Lubimov’s Pourquoi je suis si sentimental disc.
– I’ll take the recommendations for the Dirty Three a step further and say that their guitarist, Mick Turner’s solo work fits this bill precisely. Track 4 on Seven Angels is one of the most melancholic instrumental tracks I’ve ever heard. Turner’s got 2 or 3 full-lengths and the aforementioned tour EP. He also works as the Tren Brothers and the Marquis de Tren (with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, of all people, who contributes his awful voice to their recordings).
– Bach’s Cello Suite no.2 in D minor
– Arvo Pärt albums Alina and Tabula Rasa
– the Clogs’ Thom’s Night Out

And relatedly I am very happy to hear Max Richters new album nears release – you can audition (& preorder) here

One thought on “Sparse & moody?

  1. Dan

    All of Arvo Part is sparse and moody, with a good dose of profound in there as well. There are some vocal works, but usually in Latin, so will spare you that disposable feeling.

    I’m in love with his music.


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