Though not always the case, I find that one of the major signs of maturity is simplicity. It’s one of those things I continually strive for in music though it may not always sound that way. I like the piano on its own. If I can make a single voice sound good, I think I’ve learned something about music. Mastering the simple is much more involved task than it seems. One has to go through many iterations of complexity before the simplicity is found.
I’ve mentioned the same concept before in regards to Aphex Twin. It is certainly odd to put Suzanne Vega, Marvin Gaye, and Aphex Twin in the same blog post, let alone sentence, but maybe that is due to the nature of simplicity itself. The simpler a concept the more pervasive and, in this case, cross-genre it can be.
Tom’s Diner is a well known piece by Suzanne Vega. Here it is with only its vocal melody, and it still carries that familiar anxiety described in the words.
Here’s a gorgeous rendition of I Heard it Through the Grapevine with vocals only:
Here’s a track of Aphex Twin’s (aka Richard James) from his Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Just a simple sound, melody, and harmony …