After the Dust Settles: 2022 Retrospective

2022 was a whirlwind, a lot of transformation and left turns and chaos and growth. I was all over the map mentally, emotionally, musically, and geographically (if road tripping around the US counts). When December hit I was still knee deep in discovering a wealth of amazing new music from that year, so making one of these lists felt rushed, as much as I enjoy weaving them together. But now that we’re a few months into 2023 and starting into spring, I’ve been a bit more reflective and its becoming clear which music impacted me most from last year. Below you’ll find profiles of 40+ profoundly creative cassettes and LPs released in 2022, followed by over 20 other albums I dug that I wasn’t able to pick up on physical media for one reason or another. As usual, each album has a minimal profile and bandcamp players to help you discover what you want to dig into first, click the album cover for more pictures and further research. (Ash Ingalls 03.31.23)

Cassette, Stoned to Death, Philadelphia / New Haven

Style: Ritual Folk, Experimental Songwriter

Mood: Nocturnal, Ritualistic, Shadowy, Occult, Dark, Alchemical, Mystical, Sombre, Funereal

Musical Qualities: Slow, Microtonal, Droney, Lyrical, Dissonant, Acoustic

LP, Constellation Records, Canada

Style: Experimental Songwriter, Glitch, Minimal Industrial

Moods: Ominous, Mechanical, Brooding, Cold, Lonely, Anxious, Apathetic, Cryptic, Depressive, Eerie, Existential, Moody, Shadowy, Bitter

Musical Qualities: Electro-Acoustic, Glitchy, Sparse, Polyrhythmic, Dissonant, Spoken Word, Digital, Dynamic

LP, Sacred Bones Records, Japan

Style: Ambient Pop, Post-Rock, Drone-Metal

Mood: Ethereal, Nocturnal, Mysterious, Hypnotic, Deconstructed, Amorphous, Cryptic, Abstract, Enigmatic

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Washy, Dynamic, Slow, Whispery Vocals

LP, Anti- Records, Philadelphia

Style: Jazz Rap, Great Black Music, Experimental Hip-Hop, Future Jazz

Moods: Conscious, Surreal, Futuristic, Mystical, Uplifting, Warm, History, Cryptic, Poetic, Storytelling, Spiritual, Ethereal, Eclectic, Sombre, Summer, Political

Musical Qualities: Lush, Lyrical, Suite, Beats

LPx2, International Anthem / Lost Map / Total Refreshment Centre, U.K.

Style: Art Pop, Spiritual Jazz, Dub Poetry, Collage Pop

Moods: Triumphant, Conversational, Uplifting, Conscious, Communal, Heartfelt, Passionate, Hypnotic, Intertwined, Intimate, Intricate, Playful, Rebellious, Love, Poetic, Reflective, Soothing, Spiritual, Warm,

Musical Qualities: Suite, Improvisation, Analogue Recording, Tape Edits, Dub Production, Sound Collage, Thematic, Polished, Catchy

Instrumentation: Saxophone, Spoken Word, Upright Bass, Drums, Group Vocals, Tabla, Synthesizers, Percussion, Guitar, Cello

LPx2, Glitterbeat, Slovenia

Style: “Imaginary Folk”, Ritual Folk, Psychedelic Minimalism

Moods: Mysterious, Ritualistic, Earthy, Tribal, Exploratory, Hypnotic, Mystical, Sombre, Surreal

Musical Qualities: Percussive, Microtonal, Polyphonic, Improvisation, Acoustic, Complex, Uncommon Time Signatures, Repetitive, Instrumental

Instrumentation: Guimbri, Banjo, Frame Drum, Viola, Hurdy Gurdy, Tampura, Balafon, Chimes, Lute, Lyre, Ribab, Mizmar

LP, Warp Records, Santa Fe

Style: Progressive Chamber-Folk

Moods: Imaginative, Reflective, Cryptic, Evocative, Cathartic, Sombre, Introspective, Haunting, Dreamy, Poetic, Surreal, Ethereal

Musical Qualities: Lush, Progressive, Acoustic, Dense, Technical, Polished

Instrumentation: Nylon Guitar, Piano, Drums, Bassoon, Upright Bass, Cello, Synthesizer

LPx2, Nonesuch Records, US

Style: Avant-Garde Jazz, Post-Bop, Chamber Jazz, Prog

Moods: Adventurous, Enigmatic, Triumphant, Knotty, Ambitious, Intertwined, Cerebral, Angular, Surreal, Off-Kilter

Musical Qualities: Polyphonic, Thematic Improvisation, Progressive Structures, Uncommon Time Signature, Instrumental, Intertwined, Lush. Technical

LP, Domino, US

Style: Neo-Psychedelia, Progressive Singer-Songwriter, Art Pop

Moods: Uplifting, Heartfelt, Spiritual, Warm, Introspective, Wholesome, Eclectic, Colorful, Cryptic, Ethereal, Joyful, Longing, Bittersweet, Psychedelic, Sentimental, Tender

Musical Qualities: Lush, Melodic, Vocal Effects, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Catchy, Polished, Progressive

LP, No Quarter Records, Louisville

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Folk

Moods: Reflective, Poetic, Intimate, Lonely, Loving, Wise, Compassionate, Tender, Soothing, Contemplative, Bittersweet, Rustic, Peaceful, Melancholy, Intricate, Pastoral

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Vocal Harmonies, Soft, Melodic

LPx2, Drag City, 2022

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana

Moods: Contemplative, Existential, Nature, Poetic, Patient, Lush, Pastoral

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Piano, Drums, Electric Bass, Contra Alto Clarinet, Trumpet, Synthesizers, B3, Backing Vocals, Trombone, Upright Bass

LP, Anti- Records, Canada

Style: Neo-Psychedelia, Free Pop, Progressive Songwriter, Hypnagogic Pop, Psychedelic Jazz-Folk

Moods: Uplifting, Personal, Existential, Warm, Groovy, Summer, Surreal, Psychedelic

Musical Qualities: Studio-as-an-Instrument, Processed Vocals, Melodic, Home Recording, Dense, Catchy

LPx2, Domino Recording Co, U.K.

Style: Progressive Songwriter, Prog-Folk, Art Rock

Moods: Sombre, Epic, Lonely, Futuristic, Dystopian, Cryptic, Melancholy, Poetic, Mythic

Themes: Alienation, Apocalypse, Medieval, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Qualities: Progressive Structures, Lush Arrangements, Storytelling, Suite, Conceptual, Complex

LP, International Anthem, New York

Style: Jazz Fission, Psychedelic Jazz, Abstract Groove

Moods: Aquatic, Cosmic, Colorful, Futuristic, Triumphant, Mysterious, Playful, Exploratory, Surreal, Impressionistic

Musical Qualities: Collective Improvisation, Electro-Acoustic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Complex, Rhythmic

LP, International Anthem Recording Co, Los Angeles

Style: Ambient, Electroacoustic, Impressionism, Nature Recordings, Ambient Jazz, Sound Collage

Moods: Ethereal, Soothing, Aquatic, Flowing, Peaceful, Exploratory, Airy, Intimate, Nature

Musical Qualities: Field Recordings, Vignettes, Loops, Collage, Electro-Acoustic, Atmospheric, Improvisation

LP, International Anthem Recording Co, Chicago

Featured Musicians: Jeff Parker, Junius Paul, Brandee Younger, Joel Ross, Marta Sofia Honer, and more

Styles: Orchestral Beat Music, Jazz Fusion, Spiritual Jazz

Musical Qualities: Lush, Suite, Sampling, Rhythmic, Orchestral, Instrumental, Beats, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Mood: Spring, Cinematic, Warm, Uplifting, Spiritual, Groovy, Peaceful

LP, Komos, France

Style: Avant-garde Chamber Jazz, Afro-Carribean Jazz, Gwoka

Moods/Themes: Ancestry, Ritualistic, Meditative, Hypnotic, Communal, Rootsy, Poetic, Sombre, Elegant, Flowing, Warm, Mystical

Musical Qualities: Polyrhythmic, Percussive, Acoustic, Repetitive, Improvisation, Technical

Instrumentation: Upright Bass, Bèlè Drum, Ka Drum, Trumpet, Tenor Saxophone, Vocals, Cello, Violin

LP, Hyperdub, UK

Style: Spectral Ambient Collage, Future Garage, lowercase

Moods: Longing, Nocturnal, Romantic, Lonely, Haunting, Foggy, Urban, Ethereal, Intimate, Rainy, Winter, Stark, Fragmented

Musical Qualities: Sampling, Soft, Atmospheric, Collage, Sparse, Reductionist

LP, Partisan Records, U.K.

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber-Jazz, Ambient Pop

Moods: Reflective, Existential, Autumnal, Languid, Pensive, Soothing, Peaceful, Nature, Tender, Mellow, Contemplative

Musical Qualities: Lush, Slow, Polished, Atmospheric

Featuring Shahzad Ismaily, Tom Skinner, Alabaster dePlume, and more

LP, Constellation Records, Canada

Styles: Chamber Drone, Electro-Acoustic, Free Improvisation, Post-Rock

Moods: Apocalyptic, Sombre, Cathartic, Nature, Exploratory, Spiritual, Angsty, Anthemic, Aquatic, Brooding, cathartic, Heartfelt, Mournful, Spiritual

Musical Qualities: Improvisation, Droney, Electro-Acoustic, Thematic, Repetitive, Loops, Fuzzy

Eric Chenaux – Say Laura

LP, Constellation Records, France

Style: Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Warped Folk Ballads

Vibe: Gentle, Woozy, Romantic, Reflective, Intertwined, Poetic, Warm

Musical Qualities: Crooning Vocals, Improvised Experimental Guitar, Looping

LP, Drag City, Australia / Sweden

Style: Atmospheric Jazz, Post-Minimalism

Moods: Nocturnal, Suspenseful, Motorik, Western, Desert, Cinematic, Hypnotic

Musical Qualities: Repetitive, Electroacoustic, Rhythmic, Instrumental

Instrumentation: Upright Bass, Electric Guitar, Drums

LP, 37d03d Records, Red Lake Nation

Style: Post-Industrial Powwow Music, Experimental Electronic

Mood: Communal, Ritualistic, Cathartic, Spiritual, Passionate, Mournful, Epic

Musical Qualities: Chants, Manipulated Vocals, Distorted, Electroacoustic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Percussive, Noisy

LP, Joyful Noise, Pokanoket (Massachusets)

Produced by Yonatan Gat
Featured Musicians: Joe Rainey, jaimie branch, Laraaji, Thor Harris, Ryan Olsen, Ikue Mori

Style: Algonquian & Pocasset Powwow Music, Psychedelic Punk, Neo-Psychedelia

Moods: Ceremonial, Communal, Cathartic, Colorful, Spiritual, Intense, Tribal, Ritualistic

Musical Qualities: Percussive, Chants, Collage, Electro-Acoustic, Rhythmic

LP, Bella Union, U.K.

Style: Chamber Pop, Post-Rock, Chamber Jazz, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Reflective, Warm, Intertwined, Nature, Breezy, Spiritual, Morning, Apocalyptic, Uplifting

Musical Qualities: Lush, Soft, Suite, Melodic

Instrumentation: Vocals, Soprano Saxophone, Piano, Trumpet, Upright Bass, Electric Guitar, Drums, Cello, Reed Organ, Viola, Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet

LPx2, One Little Independent Records, Iceland

Styles: Progressive Pop, Post-Industrial, Chamber Music, IDM, Gabber, Deconstructed Club

Moods: Earthy, Knotty, Sensual, Futuristic, Surreal, Romantic, Mystical, Passionate, Messy, Hallucinogenic, Intense, Forest, Eccentric, Epic, Tribal

Musical Qualities: Polyphonic, Dense, Dynamic, Complex, Glitchy, Progressive, Uncommon Time Signatures, Electro-Acoustic

Instrumentation: Digital Programming, Woodwinds (Bass Clarinet, Oboe, Clarinet), Strings, Choral Vocals

LP, RVNG Intl, 2022

Style: Experimental Rock, Totalism, Math Rock

Influences: Tishoumaren, Krautrock, Free Jazz

Moods: Triumphant, De-Hypnotizing, Propulsive, Knotty, Angular, Kinetic, Energetic, Dancey, Embodied, Tangled, Communist, Chaotic

Musical Qualities: Polyrhythmic, Complex, Dense, Just Intonation, Instrumental, Uncommon Time Signatures, Microtonal, Dissonant, Polyphonic, Technical, Repetitive, Drones

LP, Constellation Records, Canada

Style: Cyber-Jazz, Progressive Electronic, Jazz Fission

Vibe: Futuristic, Colorful, Abstract, Playful

Musical Qualities: Polyphonic, Complex, Improvisation, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Progressive, Sampling

LP, Worstward Recordings, 2022

Style: Shadow Americana, Free Folk, Country-Drone, Post-Rock

Moods: Western, Haunting, Ritualistic, Impressionistic, Meditative, Rustic, Cinematic

Musical Qualities: Collective Improvisation, Instrumental, Droney, Atmospheric,

Instrumentation: 12-String Guitar, Organ, Bass Clarinet, Bowed Banjo, Drums, French Horn, Alto Flute, Acoustic Guitar, Tapes

LP, Three Lobed Recordings, U.S.

Styles / Influences: Cinematic Americana, Progressive Folk-Rock, Fingerstyle Guitar, Appalachian Folk, Post-Rock

Moods: Intertwined, Triumphant, Pastoral, Spring, Adventure, Impressionistic, Cinematic, Twangy, Uplifting, Contemplative, Longing, Peaceful, Brooding

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Pedal Steel, Drums, Electric Guitar, Harmonium, Viola, Flugelhorn, Synthesizer

LPx2, 45rpm, Drag City Records, Chicago

Styles: Psychedelic Minimalism, Kosmische, New Age, Progressive Electronic

Moods: Cosmic, Meditative, Hypnotic, Colorful, Psychedelic, Spiritual, Focused

Musical Qualities: Repetitive, Pulse, Polyrhythmic, Minimalistic, Instrumental

LP, Anxiety Blanket, Los Angeles

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Folk Rock, Chamber Pop

Moods: Contemplative, Sunny, Poetic, Warm, Mellow, Soothing

Musical Qualities: Lush, Melodic, Lyrical

LP, Anxiety Blanket, 2022

Style: Art Pop, Bedroom Pop, Dream Pop

Moods: Introspective, Warm, Intimate, Dreamy, Surreal, Soothing, Plaintive, Mellow

Musical Qualities: Catchy, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Vocal Harmonies

LP, Jagjaguwar, US

Styles: Singer/Songwriter, Folk Rock, Synth Pop

Moods: Longing, Reflective, Heartbreak, Autumnal, Sentimental, Anthemic, Apocalyptic, Dramatic, Lonely

Musical Qualities: Lush, Polished, Catchy, Lyrical, Atmospheric

features vocals from Bill Callahan, Emily Cross (Loma), Adam Torres, & Julia Holter

Style: Haunted Folk, Ambient Americana, Southern Gothic

Moods: Desolate, Bleak, Haunting, Western, Cinematic, Stark, Sombre, Rustic, Melancholy, Brooding, Contemplative, Depressive, Nocturnal, Alienation, Dystopian, Impressionistic, Lonely, Moody, Mournful, Mythic, Noir, Personal

Musical Qualities: Suite, Atmospheric, Slow, Sampling, Electro-acoustic, Droney

12″ EP, Impulse! Records, U.K.

Style: New Age, Spiritual Jazz

Moods: Meditative, Devotional, Soothing, Mellow, Flowing, Spiritual, Peaceful

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Improvisation, Instrumental, Atmospheric, Soft

Instrumentation: Shakuhachi, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Harp, Flute, Synthesizers, Percussion, Kora

LP, Fat Possum Records, U.S.

Style: Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Country Rock

Moods: Bittersweet, Road Trip, Warm, Reflective, Introspective, Breakup, Rustic

Recommended if you dig Gram Parsons, Edith Frost, or Neko Case

LPx2, Yellowelectric Records, U.S.

Grouper & Jefre-Cantu Ledesma

Style: Ambient, Drone

Moods: Plaintive, Autumnal, Soothing, Mournful, Nocturnal, Washy, Hazy, Melancholy, Haunting

Musical Qualities: Electroacoustic, Field Recordings, Noisy, Lo-fi, Atmospheric, Soft, Slow, Studio-as-an-Instrument

LP, Three Lobed Recordings, Vermont

Style: Aquatic Psych, Folk-Funk

Vibes: Swampy, Ethereal, Mystical, Utopian, Relaxed, Dreamy, Swagger, Contemplative, Warm, Playful, Whispery, Soothing

Qualities: Groovy, Atmospheric, Percussive, Dub Fx, Vocal Delays, Headphone Album

LP, Third Man Records, Nashville

Style: Kosmische Jazz, Progressive Electronic, New Age

Vibe: Healing, Cosmic, Warm, Ethereal, Colorful, Uplifting, Spiritual, Exploratory, Heartfelt, Soothing

Musical Qualities: Improvisation, Repetitive, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Atmospheric, Instrumental

Instrumentation: Keyboards, Synthesizers, Upright Bass, Saxophone, Electric Guitar, Drums, Flute, Harp

Style: Noise Folk, Free Pop, Experimental

Moods: Eccentric, Playful, Expressive, Primal, Somatic, Jittery, Ecstatic, Joyful, Erotic, Spontaneous, Raw

Musical Qualities: Dissonant, Catchy, Electro-acoustic, Fuzzy, Noisy, Home Recording, Loose

Instrumentation: Banjo, Drums, Vocals, Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar

Style: Wyrd Folk, Ritual Ambient, Free Folk, Drone

Mood: Forest, Nocturnal, Witchy, Ritualistic, Meditative, Suspenseful, Shadowy, Pantheistic, Alchemical, Mysterious, Eerie

Instrumentation: Acoustic guitar, Harmonium, Bells, Vocals, Chanting, Drum, Field Recordings, Piano

LP, Merge Records, Canada

Style: Sophisti-Pop, Synth Pop, New Wave, Art Rock

Vibe: Detached, Existential, Luxurious, Angsty, Deadpan, Poetic, Dance, Melancholy, Cryptic, Anxious

Musical Qualities: Catchy, Polished, Rhythmic, Lyrical


Further Listening:

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