VersaceMan, instrumental music: The Soft Machine - late 60s spacy psych-jazz. It has vocals, but it's VERY ahead of it's time. I mean VERY. Manitoba - one of my favorite bands. Up In Flames
is unassailably awesome. It's upbeat, but definitely cool. Mogwai - inventors / gods of post-rock. Very emotionally arranged instrumentals. Minimal vocals. Very relaxing. Bardo Pond, Max Richter, Rachel's - other post rockers. Great bands. My Bloody Valentine - Inventors / gods of shoegaze. People started calling it shoegaze because guitarists for said genre would be using so many effect pedals they would practically be staring at their feet, messing with the effects. Subdued vocals on this one. * Kevin Shields, songwriter / singer of MBV arranged and wrote most of the Lost in Translation OST. Other shoegaze - M83, On.Air.Library. Four Tet - laid back, slightly jazzy electronic. Ulrich Schnauss - On the same label as Manitoba (DOMINO). Loud, relaxing electronic. Very downtempo, and very beautiful. Since you sound like you are looking for some relaxing music, I'll give you a nice list you can start hacking away at and find what you like. The Microphones - Experimental Lo-Fi Folk, very soothing, catchy, ambiguous pop music. Most songs are generally about being happy. Phil Elverum, singer/songwriter (it's a one-man band but other artists guest on nearly every song) is a genius. He is also the drummer for Old Time Relijun, a band which shares nearly no aspects with the Mics. I recommend Mt. Eerie,
and The Blow, pt. 2.
Mirah - Woman singer/songwriter who guests on most Microphones songs. Beautiful airy voice. If you are into this stuff, check out Liz Janes , Keren Ann and Cat Power as well. Brian Eno - specifically Another Green World
. Very relaxing, full, ambient music recorded in the 70s. William Basinski - The Desintegration Loops
I-IV. This guy made tapes of ambient noise loops in the 80s, and started putting them together on CDs at the same time that 9/11 occurred. He noticed his loops started to slowly die and deteriorate, and these albums are a beautiful metaphor for human life and the earth. You MUST listen to this, even if only once. Download it and listen to it. He is so undercredited for these albums. Cyann & Ben - folk group that is on the same label (GOOOM) as M83. Awesome stuff. Panda Bear - Young Prayer
. Only if you're feeling adventurous and open minded should you listen to this. It's incredible, but you have to have an open mind to accept it. It's not as accessible as the other bands I've listed. If you want more, I would be more than happy to list you out great bands for you. You can even specify exactly what you want and I bet I can find you it. Say you want, "Really raunchy lo-fi punk, but slower paced, with more space in between instruments, preferrably from the 80s... and uh.. with a beat I can dance to." I'll hook you up.