I figure we can all do to get some inspiration from each other as to how their instruments should sound in a good recording.
So, I suppose I’ll start. For me, a Percussionist, it’s gotta be:
Drums: Katana of choice by Ben Reimer off the album Katana of Choice
A wonderfully recorded and mastered recording of a kinda avant garde drum set focused Percussion ensemble. I really love that whole album.
Marimba/mallet percussion: Sleep by Smoke and Mirrors Percussion Ensemble off the album Smoke and Mirrors Percussion Ensemble
This is exactly what you think it is- the Eric Whitacre song played on marimbas. I actually saw Sleep performed live by my school’s chior last Thursday and it’s amazing how similar this sounds. If you’ve ever heard this live, you’ll know the ending features an interesting sound formed by two singers cancelling out each other’s sound waves to give it a ‘wavy’ sound; it ebbs and flows. Smoke and Mirrors have recreated this with marimbas, and wonderfully so.
And hell, I love marimbas so here’s another one. off the same album, called Nagoya Marimbas.
If you’ve ever heard anything Steve Reich before, you know his whole spiel. He wrote a good amount of content for Percussion ensembles. This piece features 2 Marimbas playing rhythms together and play off each other to form a wonderful Melody.
Other Percussion instruments:
Same album again. This time, Music for pieces of wood.
This is another Reich sextet which I have performed. It involves 6 players using claves (or simply tuned woods) that overlap to form a rhythm and as it builds it grows closer to the end rhythm. I love this stuff.
Lastly, Juego de Relojes by smoke and mirrors off their album Smoke and Mirrors: Vanish.
This song is written by a guy who makes tango music or something like that. Well someone commissioned him to write music for Percussion ensemble and he did. This masterpiece is what we got from it. I know not how many people play for it, but it’s got all the tambres of Percussion- from cymbals to wood sounds to drums to mallet percussions. This is, in my opinion, the definitive “if I want to introduce someone to Percussion Ensemble” song.