Timbre. It's all about timbre these days. That was the one thing I took away from D. Levitin's This is your Brain on Music. I have been missing my synthesizer which was stolen a few years ago. You push some buttons and different sounds come out. There is software that will randomly generate a sound--you listen to it and see how you like it, then keep it or throw it away. It's an attractive idea.
On the Classical Brits red carpet Anna Netrebko (Did you catch the outfit? She's trying to cope creatively with pregnancy, I guess.) was asked who she is listening to on her ipod right now, and she said Duffy. Duffy is all about timbre. Most of these sounds are computer generated.
I was attracted to doing classical pieces in different timbres just to see how timbre changed the idea of the piece.
On my ipod I am listening to old Bartoli now. She is all about timbre, too. Rhythm and timbre. There is an amusing bit of film on YouTube where Marc Minkowski complains about recording with Cecilia, saying he hates working in the studio, prefers live audiences. He points out what a fanatical perfectionist La Bartoli is. There has to be some explanation for how often she achieves it.