iTuned In(strumental): No-words edition

Six instrumental tracks in my iTunes library that won’t make you miss the words at all:

1. “Voicething,” Goldfrapp. (Stream the full track here.) I have to say that I’m a bit disappointed in the new Goldfrapp disc, “Head First,” but I suspect it’s because I had such high expectations based on how much I liked “Black Cherry,” “Supernature” and, in its own anesthetized way, “Seventh Tree.” This is one of my favorite tracks on the albums, which really hearkens back to the true, weird, “Felt Mountain”-era experimentation that’s sort of been missing from recent albums. The band will be at the Hollywood Bowl in June — a concert I might just have to travel over for.

2. “Robinson Crusoe,” The Art of Noise. This track, from “In Visible Silence,” always makes me smile. To me, it’s the ultimate elevator music, and I can’t imagine that musicians as creative as The Art of Noise didn’t set out to create just that. You can totally zone out if you choose to, but if you pay attention to the variety that’s secretly built into the instrumentation — when the woodwinds kick into high gear around 2:14 and the flutters that begin around 2:34, for example — it’s rewarding in its own way.

3. “Natural High,” Tosca. (Stream the full track here.) The PR site for these masters of downbeat might have said it best: “A certain lack of meaningfulness describes the nature of Tosca pretty well.” But just because it lacks specific meaning doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. Try to wrap your head around “the meaning of no meaning” … or just sit back and bob your head a little.

4. “Habebe,” Anne Dudley and Jaz Coleman. Anne Dudley, one of the musicians from The Art of Noise, went on to a solo career in film scores (“The Full Monty,” “American History X”) and orchestral music. She also released “Songs from the Victorious City,” a collaboration with Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman, inspired by Cairo, Egypt. (“Cairo” means “the victorious” in Arabic.) This song, with its blend of Western and Arabic instruments like the ney and kanun, has an almost narcotic effect on me — I feel relaxed, a little languorous … and decadent.

5. “Hanuman,” Rodrigo y Gabriela. (Stream the full track here.) Such amazing guitarists! But I will admit that this and “Santa Domingo,” the other track I downloaded from their disc “11:11,” are sort of interchangeable to me — equally impressive technique, but similar enough that listening to one, then the other, highlights repetitiveness instead of inventiveness.

6. “Goodnight Lover,” Fluke. Back in the early days of the Get Out, we used to share an office boom box and take turns with CDs. One day I brought in “Risotto” — still one of my favorite albums, 13 years after it was released — and by the time we reached this, the final track on the disc, one of the page designers said, “This music makes me think that you’re secretly trying to get us to work faster.” It’s totally effective that way — it’s the song I was listening to when I got my one and only speeding ticket, for one thing, and I like to use it at the end of gym playlists because of the windup — and at the end, the ultimate wind-down that says, “Yes, you are done.”

WHAT SAM WORE: 05-10-10

The shirt: Long-sleeved gingham button-down from J. Crew.
The pants: Boot-cut khakis from Gap.
The shoes: Sneakers by Diesel, from Last Chance.

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