Grind #72 :: 11 Instrumental Musicians You Should Hear

As much as I love music, I'm a weak minded little flower and have to have absolute quiet when I work or read. If a song has any words at all, I'm like the dogs in the movie Up when they see a squirrel. 

Certain songs, I have to avoid all together or I'll be walking around serenading everyone within earshot for weeks. Songs like Ben Folds Five "Brick", Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner", oddly enough, Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" and the always embarrassing, totally inappropriate gem, "Hell is for Children" by Pat Benatar.


The only music I can enjoy while working are instrumentals. Instrumental music focuses me and gets me in a rhythm. I thought it'd be fun to highlight some of my favorite instrumental musicians. You already know a few of them, but hopefully I'll introduce you to some new acts to add to your rotation. Enjoy Grind #60 :: 11 Instrumental Musicians You Should Hear.

(P.S. Please accept my apology if you clicked on any of those earworm links above.)

Olafur Arnalds :: "Near Light"

Ólafur Arnalds is a BAFTA-winning multi-instrumentalist and producer from Mosfellsbær, Iceland. Ólafur Arnalds mixes strings and piano with loops and beats crossing over from ambient/electronic to pop. Ólafur was a drummer of hardcore / metal bands Fighting Shit, Celestine, and others.

Giles Lamb :: "Dead Island Theme"

Giles Lamb is a Scottish music composer and sound designer. Lamb composed the trailer theme for the 2011 video game Dead Island as well additional music and sound design for the films Valhalla Rising, Wild Country, Asylum and Blinded.

The Ahn Trio :: "Heart Asks Pleasure First"

The Ahn Trio is a classical piano trio composed of three sisters: Angella, Lucia and Maria Ahn. Lucia and Maria are twins. Born in Seoul, Korea, they moved to New York City in 1981 and began their training at the Juilliard School. The sisters decided to form a trio while they were earning their master's degrees at Juilliard. The Ahn Trio is known for its performance of new classical music, genre-crossing programming, and collaborations with other artists.

Explosions in the Sky :: "Infinite Orbit"

Explosions in the Sky is an American post-rock band from Texas. The quartet originally played under the name Breaker Morant, then changed to the current name in 1999. The band has garnered popularity beyond the post-rock scene for their elaborately developed guitar work, narratively styled instrumentals, what they refer to as "cathartic mini-symphonies," and their enthusiastic and emotional live shows.

Nathan Lanier :: "Torn"

Born in Dallas Texas in 1978, Nathan Lanier began studying violin at the age of four and has been performing and composing ever since. Lanier holds an M.A. in Composition and Film Scoring from NYU and a B.M. in Violin Performance from Mannes College of Music. Lanier has written music for 18 feature films, television, and theatrical productions.

The Bryan Ferry Orchestra :: "This Island Earth" (Live)

The Bryan Ferry Orchestra is a retro-jazz ensemble founded and led by Bryan Ferry. They exclusively play his work in a 1920s jazz style. Ferry formed the orchestra out of a desire to focus on the melodies of his songs, and "see how they would stand up without singing".

Yann Tiersen :: "Porz Goret"

Yann Tiersen is a French musician and composer. His musical career is split between studio albums, collaborations and film soundtracks. His music involves a large variety of instruments; primarily the guitar, synthesizer or violin together with instruments like the melodica, xylophone, toy piano, harpsichord, accordion and typewriter.

The Piano Guys :: "Beethoven's 5 Secrets"

The Piano Guys are an American musical group consisting of Jon Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson, Paul Anderson, and Al van der Beek. They gained popularity through YouTube, where they posted piano and cello renditions of popular songs and classical music.

Max Richter :: "On The Nature of Daylight"

Max Richter is a German-born British composer who has been an influential voice in post-minimalist composition and in the meeting of contemporary classical and alternative popular musical styles since the early 2000s. Richter is classically trained, having graduated in composition from the Royal Academy of Music and studied with Luciano Berio in Italy, and is also strongly influenced by punk and electronic music.

MONO :: "Ely's Heartbeat"

Mono (stylized as MONO) is a Japanese post-rock band, formed in 1999 in Tokyo. Mono has released nine studio albums.  In October 2016 the band released their ninth studio album, titled Requiem for Hell. The band's style of music is influenced by the genres of experimental rock, classical, contemporary and also by noise and minimalism. Mono's sound is characterized by the use of reverb, distortion and delay effects. The band's live performances are noted for their intensity, both in the playing and in the dynamics.

Linford Detweiler :: "Mary's Hymn"

Linford Detweiler, brainchild behind the Cincinnati band Over the Rhine, has released three solo piano albums over the years. They are stripped down bare bone graceful songs. You can often hear the piano creak and moan and every now and then, Linford swallow or sigh;  which only adds to the stark beauty of the songs. And I have to add, Over The Rhine is Ventipop's all-time favorite band and one of the music industry's best-kept secrets. All three of these records are best listened to when you're in a reflective mood, it's pouring outside and you have your cup of coffee in hand.

...The Last Drop

Play the entire 11 Instrumental Musicians You Should Hear playlist on the Ventipop YouTube Channel.