As per usual, I was trolling my usual feeds and this guy and here re-invigorated my internal debate as to what constitutes "steampunk music."
There is the obvious, yes, Abney Park, Clockwork Quartet, a few others I've found. These are honest musicians and there is little doubt as that they are unique in their style and are embraced by, if not, seek the embrace of certain communities. Other artists I've come across of note include: Unwoman, Unextraordinary Gentlemen, & Vernian Process. All reside around, or have been in the Norcal Bay area.
Honestly, for me, the music has to take me there. You know who does? Mumford & sons, also other real bands like The dubliners & Bellowhead, as long as the music has that flavor, its there for me. There is something about Mumford & sons' "Little Lion Man" that puts me in a steampunky mood, probably the banjo and the subtle accent to the singers voice. Also, "The Cave" always reminds me of the Parable of The Cave, which we we're reading in my Sci-Fi/Fantasy Class, the same time I had decided to seriously seek out and begin to study Steampunk.
I need to see the people who live and breath the steam, walk the dingy streets with man made cloth clouds overhead. Many "histories" revolve around alternate Earth histories and so I feel many old folk songs fit RIGHT in the worlds. I know a lot of groups push the DIY and sci-fi music to explain more modern instruments and sounds. Many times, for me, these experimentation's fall short and take me out of the world. I'm sure others enjoy them, as I will aknowledge your -thing- is art even though I may or may not enjoy it or get it (speaking in a much broader, general sense). I haven't really come across any "sophisticated" music (as covered in the above article) where "refined" more classical style music that is composed and orchestral.
(I could not find a good recording of this song, but it's one of my faves and always held a mystic yet tangible human element I would jam to.)
I think it needs to come from the aesthetic (Once more, speaking in a sweeping generality, that applies elsewhere) and then is created for it's own sake, and then is amazing. Not something made to fit in a niche that doesn't feel inspired.
And as an added bonus, an online steampunk radio station
I have not yet opened it wide up for a listen, but when I get cracking on my Steampunk Epic, it will most likely get a mass of play time along side my other inspirations.