Deep Rotations of 2018

Jackie-O Motherfucker – Bloom

“I am not me” the chorus sings repeatedly, a spell to dissolve the ego and deconstruct the myth of American individualism, leaving fertile ground for a collective vision of abundance to bloom. The open-door band of multi-instrumentalists shakily weave through a suite of haunting drone seances, raggedly tender folk sing-a-longs, liberated group improvisations and triumphant post-rock discord. Once again Jackie-O Motherfucker continues their forward march to a beautiful anarchic world without losing touch with its roots in the weird American underground.

Senyawa – Sujud

Style: Doom-Folk, Indonesian Folk Music, Avant-Folk

Moods: Apocalyptic, Spiritual, Earthy, Dark, Ominous, Nocturnal, Ritualistic, Tribal, Hypnotic

Musical Qualities: Throat Singing, Homemade Instruments, Droney, Noisy, Electro-Acoustic, Repetitive, Dense, Heavy

Mako Sica – Ronda

Style: Psychedelic Jazz, Free-Psych, Post-Rock

Moods: Ritualistic, Mysterious, Serpentine, Nocturnal, Exploratory, Desert, Moody, Spiritual, Psychedelic

Musical Qualities: Percussive, Thematic, Collective Improvisation, Atmospheric, Rhythmic

Instrumentation: Drums, Tabla, Electric Piano, Chants, Trumpet, Electric Guitar, Classical Guitar, Electric Bass, Harmonica, Gong, Cello, Upright Bass, Flute, Organ, Piano, Bells, Teponaztli, Tambourine, Viola

Blacks’ Myths – Blacks’ Myths

Originally released as a cassette on Atlantic Rhythms Records in 2018 Original vinyl pressing (2020), limited to 300 Format: LP Blacks' Myths by Blacks' Myths

Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love

Style: Art Pop, Neo-Psychedelia, Trip-Hop, Experimental Electronic

Vibe: Nocturnal, Surreal, Introspective, Longing, Alienation, Abstract, Anxious, Dark, Depressive, Eclectic, Love, psychedelic

Lonnie Holley – Mith

Style: Experimental Singer-Songwriter, Soul Blues, Psychedelic Soul

Vibe: Imaginative, Bluesy, Cathartic, Conscious, Cosmic, Spiritual, Heartfelt, Passionate, Psychedelic, Rootsy, Bittersweet, Poetic

Lyrical Themes: Existential, Afro-Futurism, History, Racism, Reflective

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Lyrical, Improvisation, Raw, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Instrumentation: Vocals, Piano, Synthesizers, Keyboards, Saxophone, Trombone, Percussion

Bardo Pond – Volume 8

Style: Free Psych, Space Rock, Jam Band, Shoegaze

Vibe: Adventurous, Communal, Cathartic, Murky, Epic, Psychedelic, Exploratory, Monolithic, Stoned

Musical Qualities: Collective Improvisation, Dynamic, Droney, Atmospheric, Fuzzy, Loose, Riffs

Anguish – Anguish

Anguish is a collaboration between German improvisers Mats Gustafsson & Andres Werliin of the Fire! Orchestra, Hans Joachim Irmler of FaUst, and Will Brooks & Mike Mare of industrial hip-hop legends Dälek.

Style: Industrial Hip-Hop, Dark Jazz, Post-Industrial, Experimental

Moods: Dystopian, Aggressive, Urban, Poetic, Political, Revolutionary, Cerebral, Existential, Sombre, Dark, Depressive, Cold, Mechanical, Heavy, Apocalyptic, Moody, Brooding, Conscious, Abstract, Cryptic, Industrial, Nocturnal, Ominous, Raw, Philosophical

Musical Qualities: Beats, Dissonant, Noisy, Improvisation, Rhythmic, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Instrumentation: Rapping, Sampler, Tenor Saxophone, Synthesizers, Electric Guitar, Drums, Percussion, Electronics, Effect Processing, Vocal Processing

Against All Logic – 2012 – 2017

Style: Deep House

Vibe: Dance, Hypnotic, Noisy, Energetic, Urban, Heavy, Groovy

Musical Qualities: Sampling, Distorted, Melodic, Rhythmic, Repetitive

Anna & Elizabeth – The Invisible Comes to Us

The Invisible Comes to Us is a haunting, modern take on Appalachian and Irish folk songs. Beautiful close-harmonies, banjos and acoustic guitars are juxtaposed with droning atmospheres of woodwinds, Moog bass, pump organ, and euphonium. Guest musicians include Jim White on drums and Susan Alcorn on slide guitar.

Anthony Shadduck – Quartet & Double Quartet

“Side one features a collection of songs performed by a pliant and almost pristine quartet playing songs by Ornette Coleman, Paul Motian, Chris Schlarb, and Shadduck himself, while side two finds Anthony leading a loose, rocking and roiling double quartet performing more obliquely structures pieces and employing a healthy dose of spontaneous improvisation. Both ensembles strike my ear as CLASSIC, spanning the areas of jazz impressionism and edgy-yet-controlled “free jazz” with dedication and distinction.”
[From the liner notes, written by Nels Cline]

Young Jesus – The Whole Thing is Just There

The Whole Thing is Just There is another beautiful and life-affirming release from Young Jesus, the second with the current L.A. iteration of the band. Their inter-band chemistry seems stronger than ever, with telepathic improvisations, symbiotic catharses, and a mutual love for each other that is easily felt from a listener’s perspective. The lyrics deal with self-exploration and one’s relationship with the world around them, finding solace in spirituality, existentialism, literature, and the ethos of free jazz. Stylistically the music seems rooted in late-90’s indie rock and emo, with seamless but adventurous detours into post-rock, noisy post-hardcore, and free improvisation. Excited to see where these guys go next.

Mount Eerie – Now Only

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Folk

Moods: Intimate, Reflective, Existential, Conversational, Mournful, Sombre, Introspective, Personal, Romantic, Sad

Jon Hopkins – Singularity

Dynamic and uplifting house music characterized by filtered drums and enveloping synth textures. With its driving arpeggiations, danceable 4-on-the-floor grooves, hypnotic build-ups, and soothing ambient tracks, Singularity is extremely well-paced, and it’s most beautiful moments full of sublime wonder.

Idris Ackamoor & the Pyramids – An Angel Fell

An Angel Fell is a call to action for protecting and healing our planet, using folklore, group vocals, uplifting themes, deep grooves, and expressive improvisations to deliver the message. While not as wild and loose as the dense free jazz the Pyramids made back in the 70s, this record is an organic and vibrant fusion of spiritual jazz, dub, and Afrobeat that will give fans of musical geniuses such as Sun Ra, King Tubby, Fela Kuti, and Pharoah Sanders plenty to vibe to.

Tim Hecker – Konoyo

Released in 2018 on Kranky Format: LPx2 Track Notes and Observations A1. This Life (Droney, Climactic, Mournful) Synths slowly dancing around each other in a beautiful sadness, Woozy, pitches bend and release in and out of tune Blooming structure, crescendos into overwhelming climax Disintegrates into a ghostly version of itself with high pitch sounds A2. […]

Ryley Walker – Deafman Glance

Acoustic-shredder/singer-songwriter ventures out of the jazz-inflected folk-rock territory explored by his last few albums to create something that feels fully himself. Deafman Glance is full of angular left turns, complex structures, airy flutes, jazz detours, and psychedelic atmospheres. A balance of great songwriting, jazz musicianship, and experimental/art-rock tendencies. Recommended to fans of Tortoise’s Standards, Tim Buckley’s Starsailor, and King Crimson’s Red. (Click for full review).

Mary Halvorson – Code Girl

Halvorson has been developing her own idiosyncratic and multi-dimensional language on guitar for almost two decades now (perhaps most clearly heard on her 2015 solo album, Meltframe). On Code Girl, this language is augmented by a dramatic and powerful quintet, featuring the symbiotic rhythm section of her usual trio Thumbscrew, as well as Ambrose Akinmusire’s expressive trumpet playing and Amirtha Kidambi’s intensely operatic vocals, singing cryptic lyrics penned by Halvorson. Together the band uses complex five-part counterpoint to weave intricate webs of melody, rhythm, and texture through progressive and dynamic structures.

Side note: It’s interesting how the number 5 is so prominent in all the album images (pentagons, fingers, toes, stars, etc)

Meg Baird & Mary Lattimore – Ghost Forests

An ethereal and somewhat haunting dream-folk collaboration between guitarist/singer Meg Baird (Espers, Heron Oblivion), and harpist Mary Lattimore, who’s recorded with Fursaxa, Steve Gunn, and others in addition to her hypnotic solo work.
Highly Recommended for fans of Natural Snow Buildings, Cocteau Twins “Victorialand”, Laraaji, and 60’s British & Scottish Folk music

Yonatan Gat – Universalists

The new album from guitarist Yonatan Gat finds cohesiveness in its sprawling diversity. Stylistically it combines the rawness of garage rock, the thematic improvisation of Free jazz, and the experimental editing of musique concréte with psychedelic production, Arabic and Klezmer scales and surfy tremelo guitars.

lojii – lofeye

Categorization and comparison are the least of lojii’s worries, instead prioritizing creative expression and finding spiritual truth and power in this dimly lit dystopia. He delivers his prophetic words with a focused, unwavering determination, while the beats are gritty and nocturnal with their open percussion, eerie synths, and negative space. Don’t miss out on this one.

Eric Chenaux – Slowly Paradise

Eric Chenaux’s gentle falsetto is the most constant, tangible element on an album characterized by a permanent state of flux. The guitars are warbly and unsteady with their fluctuating tones, volume, and pitch. Yet, despite their experimental nature, they never sound abrasive and, together with some mellow Wurlitzer, create a soft, pillowy environment for Chenaux’s romantic crooning about the nature of love, the moon, and warm nights.

Archival Releases

Dennis Wise – Wize Music

Style: Innervisionary, Psychedelic Tape Music, Ambient Dub, Future Folk, Experimental, New Age

Vibe: Alien, Mystical, Woozy, Nocturnal, Exploratory

Musical Qualities: Collage, Loops, Electro-acoustic, Percussive, Dub Fx, Dissonance

Peter Kardas – I Saw You

Style: Inner Space Music, Ambient Pop, Tape Music, Minimal Wave

Vibe: Ethereal, Suspenseful, Introspective, Soothing, Nocturnal, Hypnotic, Meditative, Cinematic, Dreamy, Ominous (A2, B2, B3)

Musical Qualities: Pulse, Home Recording, Minimalistic, Atmospheric, Vignettes

Instrumentation: Keyboards, Drum Machine, Vocals, Tape Loops, Electric Guitar, Marimba, Echo

(Click album titles for links to music on bandcamp/youtube)
Bill Frisell – Music Is (Solo guitar, Looping, Meditative, Innovative)
La Tène & Jacques Puech et Louis Jacques & Jérémie Sauvage et Guilhem Lacroux – Abandonnée/Maléja
Mid-Air Thief – Crumbling
Oren Ambarchi & Jim O’Rourke – Hence
ARP – Zebra
Fedrespor – Tid
Nadah el Shazly – Ahwar 
Nostrum Grocers – Nostrum Grocers
Zaliva-D – Sky Singing
Tangents – New Bodies (Post-Minimalism, Electro-Acoustic Improvisation)
The Necks – Body (Free Improvisation, Driving, Kosmische, Experimental Rock)
Oh Sees – Smote Reverser (Heavy Psych, Prog)
Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples (Japanese Psych, Kosmische, Raga Rock)
Media Jeweler – 1-800-Succeed (Post-Punk, Math Rock, Anxious)
Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch (Experimental, Art Rock, Industrial)
The Re-Stoned – Stories of the Astral Lizard (Russian Cosmic Psych, Instrumental, Tribal, Meditative)
Jiboa – OOOO (Experimental, Portuguese Psych, Kosmische, Improvisation)
Saba – Care for Me (Conscious, Mellow, Pop-Rap)
Tierra Whack – Whack World (Eccentric and Eclectic Pop Rap, Alternative R&B)
Death Grips – Year of the Snitch (Experimental, Industrial, Punk Rap)
Milo – Budding Ornithologists Are Weary of Tired Analogies (Abstract, Jazz Rap, Conscious)
Daniel Bachman – The Morning Star (American Primitive Guitar, Avant-Folk)
Jerusalem in My Heart – Daqa-iq Tudaiq (Orchestral Arabic Folk, Electro-Acoustic, Experimental)
Prana Crafter – Enter the Stream (Psych Folk, Peaceful Drone, Singer-Songwriter)
New Balance – The Moon is Down (Folk-Rock, Chamber Folk)
Crack Cloud – Crack Cloud (Art-Punk, No Wave)
Anna Von Hausswolff – Dead Magic (Neoclassical Darkwave, Scandinavian, Droney, Gothic)
Serpentwithfeet – soil (avant-r&b, intimate, gospel, dark)
U.S. Girls – In a Poem Unlimited (Art-Pop, Lush, Groovy)
MGMT – Little Dark Age (Psych Pop, Electro-Pop)
Melody’s Echo Chamber – Bon Voyage (Eclectic Psych-Pop, Progressive Pop)
Low – Double Negative (Glitch Pop, Art Pop)
Cavern of Anti-Matter – Hormonal Lemonade (Analogue Electronic, Kosmische)
Oneohtrix Point Never – Age of (Progressive Electronic)

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