Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Funky instrumental Jazz from the Beastie Boys

Back in 1996, my brother played “The In Sound from Way Out,” a Beastie Boys disc that was entirely instrumental. This was a couple years after “Ill Communication” and nobody (or not many people, anyway) had a sense that they could do anything other than what we had heard from them on the radio. The album was jazzy, funky, and interesting. I suppose it was more surprising than brilliant, but I liked it.

Other great song titles on this disc include 'Electric Worm,' 'The Rat Cage,' and 'The Kangaroo Rat.'

Other great song titles on this disc include 'Electric Worm,' 'The Rat Cage,' and 'The Kangaroo Rat.'

In 2007, the Beasties returned to instrumental music with the release of “The Mix-Up.” I was excited about this release, particularly since I’m an even bigger fan now than I was in 1996. I saw them at Bonnaroo last year and it was an outstanding show. They are accomplished musicians, which fans know, but non-fans may not notice behind the shouted raps.

So in it went. Sadly, I have to report that overall, the disc is a little disappointing. They experiment again with funky Jazz grooves and rely more on instruments, less on postproduction work to liven up the disc. There are several good songs, but most of it just comes up a little flat. I understand that they’re stepping out of their comfort zone and doing something a little different, but on a lot of the songs they do too little. It seems as if they’re pointedly demonstrating that they can lay back and not get in your face. As a result, they lose me on a lot of this release.

Of course, it could just be me. “The Mix-Up” won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album, but I find myself wondering if there really weren’t any other better instrumental albums that year. Now, I have harshed all over this album, but I did rip 5 tracks and moved them straight to my Jazz mix. Give a listen.

  • Suco De Tangerina – This keyboard-focused song features the great production we have come to expect from the Beasties. My daughter likes this one.
  • Freaky Hijiki – Spare, minor key instrumentation and somewhat halting percussion still construct a good groove.
  • Off the Grid – This song takes its time getting going. The entire first 2 minutes are a little drab. But then the guitar kicks in and they rock a sunny chord progression with flanged guitar and warbling keyboards.
  • Dramastically Different – The intro sounds identifiably like Beastie Boys to me. For the first 30 seconds, I kept waiting for Mike D to start yelling, “Well! Now! Don’t you know it’s a…” Then a sitar starts playing and it sounds like some post psychedelic 60s funk throwback.
  • The Cousin of Death – The guitar is fuzzier than caterpillars and hops on the downbeat while whining keyboards do the heavy lifting. I like this track a lot.

If you like this, you should definitely check out “The In Sound from Way Out,” which I think was a better attempt at this concept.


October 22, 2009 - Posted by | Alternative, Hip Hop, Jazz, Popular, Rock


  1. “Song for Junior” is the bomb. Does that not qualify?

    Comment by ILOVE2WATCH2 | June 25, 2015 | Reply

  2. That is a great jazzy instrumental song from Hello Nasty. Fans would know it, but I’ve never heard it on the radio.

    Comment by MissedMusic | June 29, 2015 | Reply

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