Released in 2011 on Blackest Rainbow Format: LPx2, 180g Ltd. to 750 copies
Released in 2007 on Eclipse Records Format: LP Includes 12″x24″ insert
Doug McComb’s first album as Brokeback is imbued with pastoral Impressionism, experimentalism, and a sense of Zen contentment. The record is mostly centered around his Bass VI, a short-scale bass with six strings that is trebly enough to function in both guitar and bass roles. This versatile instrument is usually wet with chorus and reverb that sculpt a fluid, aquatic tone to complement the slow, tranquil melodies. Outside of some solo pieces Doug is joined by a variety of accompaniment including lap steel guitar, synth, upright bass, Rhodes, vocals from Mary Hansen, and light percussion provided by producer/Tortoise bandmate John McEntire. This is a record that can be appreciated from a passive impressionistic standpoint, as well as under the microscopic attention of an engaged ear. (Follow link for full review)
Recommended for fans of Tortoise or Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Western soundtracks
The third album from the Melbourne (Au) violin/guitar/drum trio consists of loose, drifting instrumentals that conjure images of vast, open plains. Though the music here is often melancholic and lethargic, it is occasionally swept up with bursts of passionate energy and possessed by cathartic longing (especially the pleading and utterly beautiful violin solo on “Warren’s Lament”). All three instrumentalists have very individual styles that complement and dialogue with each other in refreshingly unique ways.
Released in October, 2001 on Constellation Records. Recorded at the mighty Hotel2Tango Format: 10″x2
Released in 2002 on Holy Mountain Format: LP
Originally released in 2008 on Southern Lord 2014 Pressing Format: LPx2, Red Vinyl
A far cry from the sparse folk usually recorded by Will Oldham, “Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties” finds his intimate voice and warbly acoustic guitar enveloped by the cosmic drones, blooming synths, airy flutes, and hypnotic tape loops of Chicago new age trio, Bitchin Bajas. The lyrics are essentially fortune cookie mantras and, while there’s a chance they’re tongue-in-cheek, it’s difficult not to smile and feel a brightening of the spirit when hearing uplifting phrases like “Your hard work is about to pay off, keep on keepin’ on” or “you and your whole family are well” get repeated over and over. This collaboration is a soothing, heartwarming listen and a refreshing change-of-pace from Oldham’s tendency towards melancholy and solemn lyrical content.
Pulling away from the jazzy psych-pop of their first two albums, Soft Machine gears towards sprawling sidelong compositions of spacey prog infused with thematic jazz fusion improvisations, compositional edits, and heavy doses of experimental post-production (for the more psychedelically inclined). Motivic electric-bass grooves, multi-tracked saxophones, loose swinging drums and fuzzy organs reign supreme. The whimsical and diverse musical nature of founding member/drummer Robert Wyatt was relegated to the eclectic C-side, “Moon in June”, which was his last composition for the band due to the other members not being a fan of his vocals and preferring the seriousness of jazz fusion to Wyatt’s child-like playfulness and spontaneity.
Released in 1974 on Virgin Records
Darkly cinematic rock instrumentals with some creeping, Dostoevskian vibes. This is probably the most meticulous and progressive album I’ve heard from these guys, who are always finding new ways of funneling their omnivorous library of influences into their dramatic and atmospheric psych rock stylings.
“Side A is cut at 45rpm and features “Moya”, a broiling cascade of upward scales that repeatedly explodes beyond its own threshold. “BBF3” on Side B clocks in at 18 minutes, and was the band’s most lyrical, multi-movement music to date — more elaborated melodic figures wind around an angry spoken-word field recording (infamously culminating in the recital of the speaker’s poem — verses lifted straight from Iron Maiden)”
“Recorded during the same session as last year’s sublime Angels of Darkness I, the followup sees Dylan Carlson’s Earth take their panoramic instrumentals, heavy on improvisation this time, into uncharted territories. As with so much of Carlson’s work, these five songs suggest a mournful last dance in the decrepit roadhouse of some faded midwest mining town. But its the little flourishes that make them truly majestic: the droning psyche-folk thrum of His Teeth Did Brightly Shine; the country twang and graceful melodies of A Multiplicity of Doors”…”
Released in 2014 on Invada Records Format: LPx2 Tannum Brown vinyl, limited to 1000 copies
On Towards Language, Norweigan trumpeter Arve Henriksen creates a blend of meditative and suspenseful ambient-jazz, demonstrating a more soothing side to his playing than his noisier output with electro-acoustic improvisers Supersilent.
Originally released in 1969 on Columbia Records 1977 Pressing
Released in 2018 on Domino Records Format: LPx2 Includes 12″x12″ glossy lyric and photo booklet
Originally released in 1968 on EMI 1986 Fame Pressing
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.
Released in 2004 on Constellation Records Format: LPx2, Side D is blank
On Automaginary, the Gnawa-inspired cosmic jazz of Natural Information Society is augmented by the flowing textures of Chicago new age trio Bitchin Bajas to create an album of enveloping drones and trance-inducing rhythms. (Follow link for full Review)
Over the past decade, Josh Abrams has been using his guimbri to create music inspired by the ceremonial music of the Gnawa in North Africa, infusing it with a wide variety of influences from kosmische to minimalism to the avant-garde jazz of his local scene in Chicago. On this album, the focus is on “pure motion” driven by double drummers hypnotically interlocking with guimbri, guitar, keys and harmonium. Each individual plays unique rhythmic figures that push and pull against each other like polyrhythmic tectonic plates, creating constantly changing, yet circular grooves.
Originally released in 1996 on Thrill Jockey Records 2012 pressing
Originally released in 2002 on Secretly Canadian 2014 deluxe reissue Format: LPx2 (full album on first LP and demos on … More
Originally released in 1989 on Fiction Records 2010 pressing, Digitally Remastered by Robert Smith Format: LPx2
Enveloping blankets of piano and synthesizers that are mostly beautifully soothing, but occasionally venture down shadowy alleyways full of eerie suspense.
A unique blend of post-rock, stoner rock, and shoegaze crafted into a cohesive, perfectly fluid 25 minutes. Hallucinogenic atmospheres, shadowy guitar effects, and mysterious pitch-shifted vocals envelope driving, stoner-fuzz bass lines that often liquify into the watery chorus-bass you might find on the Cure’s Disintegration or an Isis album.
Released in 1988 on Parlophone Records 2012 Pressing
Released in 2015 on People Teeth Format: LP
This fantastic compilation album consists of 2 hours of unreleased recording sessions ranging from 1970 to 1974. Despite some incohesiveness, this release contains some of the most exciting, creative and uncategorizable music of Miles’ career.
I highly recommend this album to fans of the innovative and exploratory period of jazz fusion of the early 70’s, where electric instrumentation, funk rhythms, experimental production techniques, and spacey synthesizers met the improvisation, freedom, and uplifting soul of the spiritual jazz of the 60’s. Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi trilogy, Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, Weather Report’s first LP are good touchstones, but this album truly offers something unique.
Information: Released in 1978 on PVC Records Format: LP
A psychedelic synth odyssey created with only an expanded Series III Moog by Robert Margouleff and synth-guru Malcolm Cecil (who programmer synths on legendary albums by Stevie Wonder and Gil-Scott Heron in addition to his ambient solo work). The intricately layered results here feel like a synthetic wilderness, with a wide variety of colors and textures that sound warm, organic, and natural despite their electronic origins.
Information: Released in 2002 on Constellation Records
This is what I imagine a black hole might sound like. “Zeit” translates to “Time”, yet time feels completely suspended here, filled instead with vast negative space in which burbling VCS 3 synthesizers, suspenseful organs, and a droning quartet of cellos float in and out. These four sidelong pieces erase all traces of rock or any kind of beat from Tangerine Dream’s sound, leaving ominous space-ambient music in its purest form.
Makes me feel like I’m sitting alone at a party, gazing across a dark, smoky room; an outsider looking in. Chill beats, hushed atmospheres, melancholy melodies.
The apocalyptic sounds of spiritual warfare.
Album Information: Originally released in 1973 on United Artist Recordings This pressing was released in 2014 on Mute Records
Album Information: Compilation of 3 EPs, released in 2013 on Temporary Residence Format: LPx2, etchings on each side
Album Information: Released in 2009 on Frenchkiss Records
Album Information: Released in 1997 on Constellation Records Format: LP, includes inserts, a flyer, and a penny smashed by a … More
Album Information: Released in 2014 on Constellation Records
Album Information: This album was self-released on CD in 1997 This pressing was released by Constellation Records in 2013 Format: … More
Album Information: Released in 2012 on XL Recordings Format: LPx2
Album Information: Released in 2000 on Constellation Records Recorded November 1999 at the mighty Hôtel2Tango
Saxophonist Colin Stetson and violinist Sarah Neufeld employ innovative performance techniques, mutating ostinatos and an atmospheric sense of texture to compose minimalist compositions that are as brooding and haunting they are hypnotically beautiful.
Album Information: Released in 2008 on Important Records
Album Information: Released in 1973 on CBS/Columbia
Album Information: Released in 1978 on ECM Records Recorded November 1977 at Talent Studio, Oslo Engineered by Jan Erik Kongshaug … More
Album Information: Released in 2013 on Mexican Summer Hand numbered: 777/1000 Format: LP
Performed on acoustic guitar and an early delay pedal, Christopher Idylls is a soothing, reflective way to ease into the morning. It fits somewhere between ambient, new age, and American primitive guitar.
Album Information: Released in 2017 on Temporary Residence Records
Brian Eno and German kosmiche duo Cluster collaborate on a spacey synthesizer album with diverse moods, including peaceful ambient swells, sinister sequencers, industrial drum machine grooves, and suspenseful piano motifs. The release is mostly instrumental but Eno songs sparingly on a couple tracks. The last track features Can’s Holger Czukay playing some pulsing, harmonic bass grooves
Album Information: Released in 2011 on Partisan Records Produced by Emil Amos Jeff Stuart Saltzman recorded tracks B1, B3, B5 … More
Meditative jazz explorations of space, rhythm and textures inspired by Miles Davis’ ambient jazz pieces, Gnawa ceremonial music of North Africa, the spiritual jazz of Pharoah Sanders and Don Cherry, and the mutating minimalism of Steve Reich.
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Sludgy drone-metal with heavy, feedback-laden guitars, sparse but viscerally pounding drums, and cathartic, impassioned vocals reminiscent of Björk during her punk years. FFO Neurosis, Swans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sunn O)))
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Inner Gatefold (Left)Inner Gatefold (Right)Back Cover Vinyl Etching Album Information: Released in 2017 on Ipecac/Deadverse Format: LPx2 with side D … More
“Recorded in an old wooden barn, this second album is swaddled in twilight autumnal ambiance. While the record is bookended by the band’s awesome psych-rock explosions, much of the material here shows increased referencing of jazz influences (modal horns, brushed percussion) and a more organic deployment of micro-electronics. Raw and polished, visceral and cerebral, the band combines rock and jazz traditions of space music with the ‘instrumental’ potentials of mixing room to present a true gem of a record.” (Press Release)
Album Information: Released in 2009 on Constellation Records Tracklist A1 – Do A2 – Make B1 – Say B2 – … More
Godspeed’s last album before their 10 year hiatus was produced by the legendary Steve Albini, resulting in what might be their heaviest and most direct album to date. Coming off the heels of September 11th, Yanqui U.X.O. seems to be a reaction against the ramped up military-industrial complex and its promotion of fear and xenophobia, as well as protesting Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The back cover even goes as far as connecting each major record label to some type of weapons manufacturer.
Album Information: Released in 1977 by RCA Records. Recorded September-October in 1976 in Hérouville, France and West Berlin, Germany This pressing … More
Soothing, cosmic drones constructed with with tape loops, synths, organs, guitars and flute.
A dense fog you can sink into and never want to leave…Glacial, enveloping waves of sound meticulously sculpted from processed organs, piano, and distorted guitar feedback.
Somber ambient-folk with layers of delicate, circular fingerpicking and sparse arrangements of droning harmonium, piano, guitar feedback and the occasional chirping crickets. The soft reverb dampens everything like a light drizzle over the American prairie
The past, present, and future of jazz converge on this progressive new release from the legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette, who’s played on everything from Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew to albums with Keith Jarrett, Alice Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, and numerous other masters since the late 60′s. Joining him are two descendants of the classic John Coltrane Quartet, Ravi Coltrane on tenor and soprano sax and Matthew Garrison (son of Jimmy Garrison) on electric bass and electronics. Rather than dwell in the shadows of their fathers, these two have already developed their own powerful and unique voices which are welcome additions to the jazz lineage.