1980s

A.R. Kane – 69

Style: Dream Pop, Neo-Psychedelia

Vibe: Ethereal, Sensual, Moody, Nocturnal, Messy, Abstract, Dreamy, Eclectic, Hedonistic, Psychedelic, Surreal

Musical Qualities: Washy, Catchy, Raw, Dub FX, Noisy

Dave Holland – Life Cycle

Style: Chamber Jazz, Solo Cello

Vibe: Longing, Contemplative, Elegant, Focused, Introspective, Driving, Passionate, Searching

Musical Qualties: Virtuosic, Acoustic, Sparse, Instrumental, Improvisation, Dynamic, Rhythmic, Melodic

David Sylvian – Brilliant Trees

featuring Ryuichi Sakamoto, Holger Czukay, Jon Hassell, Danny Thompson, & Mark Isham

Style: Sophisti-Pop, Art Pop, Ambient Pop

Vibe: Longing, Introspective, Elegant, Ethereal, Sentimental, Sleek, Melancholy, Contemplative, Autumnal, Mellow, Sombre, Nocturnal

Musical Qualities: Polished Production, Melodic, Rhythmic

Brother Ah and the Sounds of Awareness – Key to Nowhere

Style: Spiritual Jazz, World Fusion, Soul Jazz

Vibe: Devotional, Communal, Flowing, Peaceful, Warm, Mysterious, Longing, Conscious, Uplifting, Cosmic, Airy, Groovy, Lush, Eclectic

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Percussive, Improvisation, Thematic, Instrumental (Except A1, B3)

Instrumentation: Flute, Harp, Electric Guitar, Mbiri, Upright Bass, Drums, Gong, French Horn, Harmonica, Berimbau, Electric Bass, Percussion

James ‘Blood’ Ulmer – Black Rock

Style: Free-Funk, Jazz Funk, Abstract Groove, Funk Rock

Vibe: Bombastic, Manic, Angular, Knotty, Confident, Energetic, Communal, Groovy

Musical Qualities: Improvisation, Dissonant, Complex, Rhythmic, Dense, Technical, Group Vocals

Material – Temporary Music

Style: Industrial Jazz-Funk, Abstract Fusion, No Wave

Vibe: Futuristic, Menacing, Cold, Groovy, Mechanical, Hypnotic, Industrial, Dystopian

Musical Qualities: Rhythmic, Repetitive, Dub Production, Instrumental, Percussive, Sampling

Instrumentation: Saxophone, Electric Bass, Drums, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Rhythm Box, Prepared Piano, Clarinet

John Carter – Fields

Style: Avant-Garde Jazz, Country-Jazz, Jazz Theater

Vibe: Rural, Historical, Sombre, Resolute, Intertwined, Passionate, Storytelling, Determined, Resolute, Heartfelt, Complex, Theatric, Conceptual

Musical Qualities: Suite, Acoustic, Progressive, Collective Improvisation, Polyphonic, Dynamic, Technical

David Bowie – Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

Style: Glam Rock, Art Pop, Funk Rock

Vibe: Sleek, Eccentric, Energetic, Anxious, Grandiose, Urban, Dystopian, Theatric, Playful, Passionate, Futuristic, Manic, Sleazy, Surreal

Musical Qualities: Groovy, Polished, Dense, Catchy, Riffs, Anthemic, Rhythmic

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

Yusef Lateef – In Nigeria

Style: Afro-Jazz, Post-Bop

Vibe: Warm, Communal, Groovy, Spiritual, Sunny, Dance

Musical Qualities: Percussive, Polyrhythmic, Improvisation, Melodic

Steve Tibbets – Northern Song

Style: Ambient Folk, ECM-Jazz, New Age

Vibe: Soothing, Airy, Meditative, Pastoral, Winter, Open, Hypnotic, Nature

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Percussive, Sparse, Progressive

Instrumentation: 6 & 12-String Acoustic Guitars, Percussion (Kalimba, Shaker, Bongos, Congas, etc), Tape Loops

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

David Sylvian – Gone To Earth

Style: Ambient Pop, Progressive Pop (LP1), Ambient (LP2)

Vibe: Ethereal, Introspective, Sombre, Sentimental, Spiritual, Winter, Lush, Meditative, Longing, Soothing

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Progressive, Polyphonic, Polyrhythmic, Polished, Ballads

Gratien Midonet – A Cosmic Poet from Martinique 1979-1989?

Style: Cosmic Folk, Caribbean Folk

Vibe: Mystical, Tropical, Poetic, Cosmic, Earthy, Ecletic, Intertwined, Groovy, Spiritual

Musical Qualities: Percussive, Polyrhythmic, Repetitive, Dense, Technical, Polished

Instrumentation: Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Electric Bass

Bitter Funeral Beer Band – Live in Frankfurt 1982

Style: Avant-Garde Jazz, Afro-Jazz, Experimental Big Band

Influences: Ghanaian Music & other West African Music, Hindustani & Carnatic Music, Spiritual Jazz

Vibe: Ritualistic, Communal, Hypnotic, Intertwined, Spiritual

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

Charlie Haden / Liberation Music Orchestra – Ballad of the Fallen

Style: Experimental Big Band, Avant-Garde Jazz, Flamenco

Vibe: Mournful, Communal, Political, Anthemic, Conceptual, Conscious, Liberation, Sombre, Traditional

Musical Qualities: Polyphonic, Suite, Acoustic, Complex, Dynamic, Thematic Improvisation, Instrumental, Orchestral, political, Technical

The Same – The Same

LP, Originally released in 1981 by Unlikely Records Freedom to Spend Reissue (2021) Style: Ambient Pop, Experimental Home Recording, Minimal Wave Vibe/Mood: Aquatic, Nocturnal, Hypnotic, Impressionistic, Moody, Intertwined, Dreamy, Headphone album Musical Qualities: Loops, Home Recording, Atmospheric, Percussive, Polyphonic, Pulse, Electro-Acoustic Instrumentation: electric guitar, casio vl-tone, vocals, marimba, electric bass, acoustic guitar, digital organ

King Crimson – Beat

Style: Art Rock, Progressive Pop

Vibe: Anxious, Eccentric, Romantic, Cerebral, Complex, Catchy, Bombastic, Dramatic, Surreal, Slick, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Polyphonic, Uncommon Time Signatures, Polished, Progressive, Technical, Rhythmic

Terry Riley – Shri Camel

Style: Ecstatic Minimalism, New Age, Drone

Vibe: Spiritual, Meditative, Heavenly, Cosmic, Hypnotic, Mystical, Longing, Intertwined

Musial Attributes: Just Intonation, Instrumental, Minimalistic, Repetitive, Suite, Improvisation, Drone

Instrumentation: Yamaha YC-45D Organ with multiple digital delay channels for live layering & interactions

King Crimson – Three of a Perfect Pair

Style: Art Rock, Prog, Experimental Rock, Progressive Pop

Vibe: Anxious, Angular, Cerebral, Mechanical, Catchy, Ominous, Philosophical, Suspenseful, Dystopian, Urban, Confident

Musical Attributes: Complex, Uncommon Time Signatures, Polyrhythmic, Polished, Progressive, Technical

Muhal Richard Abrams – Colors in Thirty-Third

Style: Creative Music, Chamber Jazz, Free Jazz, Post-Bop

Vibe: Colorful, Sentimental, Impressionistic, Eclectic, Energetic, Introspective

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Dynamic, Poly-free Improvisation, Complex, Spacious

The Durutti Column – LC

Style: Dream Pop, Art Rock

Vibe: Warm, Hypnotic, Peaceful, Bright, Ethereal, Dreamy, Lush, Intertwined, Soft

Musical Qualities: Loops, Atmospheric, Pulse, Melodic, Sparse

Cocteau Twins – Victorialand

Style: Dream Pop, Ethereal Wave, Neofolk

Vibe: Ethereal, Cryptic, Dreamy, Lush, Mysterious, Soft, Soothing, Lethargic, Longing, Witchy, Winter

Bobb Trimble – Iron Curtain Innocence [Review]

Bobb Trimble’s 1980 debut (originally released on his own label) contains nightmarish folk-pop that fits on the fringe of the loner-psych lineage of Syd Barrett and modern bedroom-psych artists like Alex G or Holy Sons.?

Robert Wyatt – Old Rottenhat

Style: Experimental Singer-Songwriter, Art Pop, Canterbury Scene, Jazz-Rock

Vibe: Political (Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Imperialist), Satirical, Conscious, Melancholy, Hypnotic

Musical Attributes/Instrumentation: Sparse, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Layered Vocals, Digital Keyboards, Drum Machines, Percussion, Synthesizers, Piano

The Cure – Pornography

Style: Psychedelic Goth, Post-Punk

Vibe: Cold, Dark, Moody, Psychedelic, Nihilistic, Nocturnal, Depressive

Sonny Sharrock – Guitar

Style: Free Blues, Free Jazz

Vibe: Bluesy, Triumphant, Anthemic, Cathartic, Passionate

Musical Attributes: Solo Improvisation, Loops (Overdubs), Improvisation, Thematic, Instrumental, Melodic, Distorted

Art Ensemble of Chicago – Full Force

Style: Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Jazz
Vibe: Abstract, Communal, Exploratory, Rootsy
Musical Attributes: Collective Improvisation, Poly-Free Improvisation, Dynamic

Prince – Sign ?? the Times

Released in 1987 on Paisley Park Records Format: LPx2 Style: Funk-Rock, R&B, Pop Vibe: Eclectic, Sensual, Playful, Eccentric, Groovy

Anthony Davis – Epist?m?

Style: Poly-Free Improvisation, Modern Classical, Avant-Garde Big Band

Vibe: Complex, Hypnotic, Intense, Suspenseful, Cerebral

Musical Attributes: Polyrhythmic, Polyphonic, Odd Time Signatures, Acoustic, Poly-Free Improvisation, Repetitive

Instrumentation: Orchestral, Mallet Percussion (Marimba, Vibraphone, etc) Violin, Cello, Piano, Trombone, Drums, Flute, Bass Clarinet

This Heat – Deceit

Originally released in 1981 on Rough Trade Modern Classics Reissue (2016) Format: LP

Brian Eno – Ambient 4: On Land

Style: Ambient, Progressive Electronic

Vibe: Suspenseful, Desert, Desolate, Earthy, Mysterious, Eerie, Ethereal, Contemplative, Lonely, Impressionistic

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Instrumental, Analogue, Abstract

Strunz & Farah – Mosaico

“World Music” is often a cheap umbrella term for non-Eurocentric music, but when acoustic guitar shredders Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah, from Costa Rica and Iran respectively, bring together a Cuban rhythm section, South Indian violinist, and Kuwaiti guitarist, the music they create truly does have a sense of cultural unity deserving of the term.
For fans of flamenco, Arabic folk, and acoustic guitar virtuosity

King Crimson – Discipline

Discpline marks the first in a trilogy of complex prog-meets-new-wave masterpieces that have been relished by anxious overthinkers for decades…featuring polyrhythmic riffs, innovative guitar textures, overwrought sing-talking, and a strong inter-band chemistry.

Massacre – Killing Time

Anxious and dissonant proto-math rock composed and improvised by a trio of innovative, idiosyncratic, and influential musicians. Guitarist Fred Frith pulls new dimensions of sound out of his instrument, blending bizarrely textured riffs with dark, noisy atmospheres. Bassist Bill Laswell is one of the great musical collaborators in all of music, often bringing together innumerable amazing musicians from all genres to create unique sonic fusions. Here, Bill and drummer Fred Maher lay down some nasty, disjointed grooves that lock you in despite their angular, asymmetrical time signatures

The Cure – Disintegration

Originally released in 1989 on Fiction Records 2010 pressing, Digitally Remastered by Robert Smith Format: LPx2

Holger Czukay – On the Way to the Peak of Normal

Album Information Originally released in 1981 This pressing was released in 2013 on Grönland Records Format: LP Features parallel groove on one side so different track plays depending on where needle lands