Julius Hemphill – Dogon A.D.

Style: Free Jazz

Vibe: Hypnotic, Ritualistic, Driving, Intertwined, Fire, Mystical, Powerful, Complex

Musical Qualities: Ostinato, Collective Improvisation, Thematic, Uncommon Time Signatures, Acoustic, Repetitive, Polyphonic, Rhythmic

Instrumentation: Alto Saxophone, Cello, Trumpet, Drums, Flute

Jackie-O Motherfucker – Liberation

Style: Free Folk, Mystical Americana, Drone, Free Improvisation, Post-Rock

Vibe: Weary, Hopeful, Rustic, Communal, Spiritual, Ragged, Eerie, Melancholy, Deconstructed, Hypnotic, Communal, Haunting, Raw, Suspenseful, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Collective Improvisation, Dynamic, Lo-Fi, Atmospheric, Droney, Group Vocals, Dub FX

Instrumentation: Electric Guitars, Vibraphone, Flute, Drums, Violin, Cello, Clarinet, Saxophone, Banjo, Melodica, Sitar, Electronics, Turntable, Keyboards, Trumpet, Electric Bass

Damon & Naomi – Within These Walls

Style: Chamber Folk, Slowcore, Dream Country

Vibe: Flowing, Lethargic, Peaceful, Dreamy, Melancholy, Elegant, Airy, Romantic, Bittersweet, Contemplative, Intertwined, Intimate, Mellow, Sentimental, Smooth, Soothing, Twangy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Slow, Soft, Simple, Chamber Arrangements, Melodic

C.O.B. – Spirit of Love

Style: Chamber Folk, Spiritual Folk, English Folk

Vibe: Mystical, Medieval, Warm, Spring, Intimate, Mellow, Morning, Spiritual

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Vocal Harmonies, Progressive

Instrumentation: Organ, Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, Dulcitar, Recorder, Electric Bass, Washboard, Drum, Bongos, Tambourine, Cello, Indian Hand Organ

Eiko Ishibashi – Imitation of Life

Style: Chamber Pop, Prog-Pop, Jazz Pop, Singer-Songwriter

Vibe: Lush, Warm, Sunny, Sci-Fi, Playful, Philosophical, Surreal, Energetic, Imaginative

Musical Qualities: Progressive, Dense, Catchy, Complex, Melodic, Dense, Technical, Rhythmic

Instrumentation: Piano, Vibraphone, Drums, Flute, Rhodes, Electric & Acoustic Bass, Saxophone, Clarinet, Violin, Cello , Synthesizers, Steel Drum, French Horn

Frank Lowe – Fresh

2 Thelonious Monk compositions & 3 originals, featuring Joseph & Lester Bowie, Charles Bobo Shaw, & Abdul Wadud (Cello)

Style: Post-Bop, Free Jazz, Jazz Fusion (B2)

Vibe: Energetic, Spontaneous, Playful, Passionate, Groovy

Musical Qualities: Improvisation, Dynamic, Rhythmic

Spires that in the Sunset Rise – Beasts in the Garden

Style: Free Folk, Psychedelic Electroacoustic Music, Post-Minimalism

Vibe: Forest, Ritualistic, Visceral, Hypnotic, Mystical

Musical Qualities: Loops, Electro-acoustic, Extended Techniques, Suite, Electro-Acoustic, Repetitive

Instrumentation: Flute, Cello, Saxophone, Keyboards, Vocals

Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh

On this self-titled collaboration, acid folk luminaries Helena Espvall (Espers) and Masaki Batoh (Ghost) create mysterious and earthy interpretations of traditional Medieval, Swedish, Japanese, and Finnish folk songs, plus a Son House cover, an original, and a handful of free improvisations.

Ghost – Tune In, Turn On, Free Tibet

Style: Psychedelic / Chamber Folk

Vibe: Pastoral, Spiritual, Sentimental, Haunting, Medieval, Spring, Peaceful

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Progressive, Improvisation

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Cello, Flutes (Kaval, Recorder), Hurdy Gurdy, Drums, Piano, Tanpura, Analogue Synthesizers, Electric Guitar, Tympani, Vibes

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

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I

Style: Drone Rock, Post-Rock

Vibe: Meditative, Desert, Hypnotic, Soothing, Spiritual, Western, Lethargic, Determined, Psychedelic

Musical Qualities: Slow, Riffs, Repetition, Improvisation, Minimalistic, Instrumental

Swans – The Glowing Man

Style: Experimental Rock, Post Rock

Vibe: Cathartic, Visceral, Spiritual, Brooding, Shadowy, Apocalyptic, Ritualistic, Suspenseful, Climactic, Dark, Powerful, Heavy, Cryptic, Philosophical, Surreal, Epic, Hypnotic, Sombre, Meditative, Mysterious, Monolithic, Longing, Existential, Disorienting

Musical Qualities: Dynamic, Repetitive, Dense, Crescendo, Rhythmic, Droney

Horace Tapscott & the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra – The Call

Style: Avant-Garde Big Band, Spiritual Jazz, Vocal Jazz (A2)

Vibe: Spiritual, Communal, Epic, Passionate, Active Listening, Energetic, Religious, Triumphant

Musical Qualities: Polyphonic, Complex, Dense, Acoustic, Thematic, Improvisation, Melodic, Technical, Orchestral

The Iditarod – The Ghost, the Elf, the Cat and the Angel

Style: Psychedelic Chamber-Folk

Vibe: Haunting, Pastoral, Melancholy, Rainy, Delicate, Intimate, Psychedelic, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Slow, Soft, Electro-Acoustic, Sampling, Home Recording

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Cello, Turntables, Banjo, Tanpura, Violin, Singing Bowls, Percussion, Dulcimer, Bouzouki, Organ, Wine Glasses

Tangerine Dream – Electronic Meditation

Style: Space Rock, Free Rock, Kosmische Musik

Vibe: Primordial, Mysterious, Exploratory, Cold, Desolate, Cosmic, Suspenseful, Meandering, Abstract, Amorphous, Cinematic, Psychedelic, Murky

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Improvisation, Instrumental, Dissonant, Noisy, Raw, Studio-as-an-Instrument

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

Califone – Heron King Blues [Deluxe]

Style: New Weird Americana, Warped Folk Rock, Psych Folk

Vibe: Twangy, Cryptic, Mythic, Surreal, Mysterious, Rustic, Mellow, Warm, Rootsy

Musical Qualities: Percussive, Loops, Electro-Acoustic, Rhythmic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Improvisation

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Percussion, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Electronics, Cello, Electric Guitar, Pump Organ, Bass

Land of Kush – Sand Enigma

Style: Avant-Garde Big Band, Arabic/Egyptian Folk, Psychedelic Jazz

Vibe: Intense, Sombre, Cathartic, Psychedelic, Complex, Ritualistic, Communal

Musical Qualities: Dense, Progressive, Dissonant, Acoustic, Percussive

Instrumentation: Santur, Upright Bass, Piano, Saxophones, Vocals, Percussion, Drums, Clarinet, Flute, Strings (Violin, Viola, Cello), Keyboards, Synthesizer, lap Steel Guitar, Electronics, Harp

Sélène Saint-Aimé – Mare Undarum

Style: Avant Chamber-Jazz, Vocal Spiritual Jazz

Vibe: Ritualistic, Poetic, Complex, Hypnotic, Nocturnal, Passionate, Mellow

Musical Attributes: Progressive, Thematic Improvisation, Rhythmic, Chamber, Percussive

Esmerine – If Only a Sweet Surrender to the Nights to Come Be True

Style: Chamber Rock, Post-Rock

Vibe: Mournful, Lethargic, Contemplative, Exploratory, Melancholy, Moody

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Atmospheric, Chamber, Instrumental, Slow, Murky

Instrumentation: Cello, Mallet Percussion, Drums, Violin, Harmonium, Upright Bass

David Grubbs – The Coxcomb [Review]

Style: Primitivist Theater, Avant-Folk Minimalism, Drone

Vibe: Pastoral, Alienation, Hypnotic, Abstract

Musical Attributes: Sparse, Theatrical, Repetitive, Minimalist, Acoustic

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Voices, Organ, Cello, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Saxophone

Pelt – Pearls from the River

Style: Ritual Folk, Dhrupad, Free Folk

Vibe: Meditative, Mysterious, Psychedelic, Spiritual, Earthy, Hypnotic

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Drone, Improvisation, Instrumental, Repetitive, Raga

Josh Abrams & Natural Information Society

Style: Psychedelic Jazz, Creative Music, Post-Minimalism

Influences: Gnawa, Kosmische Music, Spiritual Jazz, Minimalism

Vibe: Earthy, Hypnotic, Exploratory, Mysterious, Ritualistic, Psychedelic

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Improvisation, Minimalistic, Percussive, Polyrhythmic

Tortoise – TNT

Style: Post-Rock, Experimental Rock
Influences: Dub, Kosmische Musik, Bossa Nova, Lounge, Minimalism, Jazz, Electronic
Vibe: Contemplative, Eclectic, Focused, Futuristic, Impressionistic, Lush, Meditative, Peaceful, Soothing
Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Complex, Digital Production, Percussive, Polyphonic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Loops, Headphone Album, Rhythmic, Pulse, Instrumental, Progressive, Polished

Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra – Dimensional Stardust

Style: Avant-Garde Jazz, Experimental Big Band

Vibe: Cosmic, Energetic, Passionate, Colorful

Musical Attributes: Complex, Dynamic, Progressive, Suite, Polyrhythmic, Spoken Word

Sixteen Horsepower – Folklore

Style: Gothic Country, Americana, Chamber Folk
Vibe: Rustic, Sombre, Murky, Rootsy, Ominous, Loner, Western, Melancholy, Moody, Dark
Musical Attributes: Acoustic Instrumentation (Banjo, Upright Bass, Cello, Acoustic Guitar, Accordion, Piano), Atmospheric, Droney, Slow, Lyrical
Lyrical Themes: Alienation, Religious, Christian, Storytelling

The Books – Lost and Safe

Style: Collage-Pop, Glitch-Folk, Plunderphonics

Vibe: Surreal, Psychedelic, Peaceful, Cerebral, Meditative,  Philosophical, Spiritual, Uplifting, Warm, Playful, Hallucinogenic

Musical Attributes: Sampling, Electro-Acoustic, Melodic, Sound Collage, Vocal Manipulation

Gruppe Nuova Consonanza – Improvisationen

Style: Free Improvisation, Experimental, Tape Music

Vibe: Suspenseful, Active Listening

Musical Attributes: Collective Improvisation, Atonal, Sparse, Dynamic

Instrumentation: Trumpet, Upright Bass, Cello, Trombone, Percussion, Piano, Electro-Magnetic Tape

Human Behavior – Kedumim

Religious allegory, profane thoughts, and lustful confessions intertwine on Human Behavior’s third LP; Kedimum is a brooding suite of psychological chamber folk that introspects into a conflicted mind, struggling to reconcile matters of indoctrinated faith, natural human desires, and internalized guilt. Primary songwriter Andres Parada is joined by a sympathetic cast of vocalists to create a vivid sonic drama complete with choral vocals and spoken word passages to complement his haunting narrations. The intricate and shadowy arrangements blend distorted electronic beats with a wide array of acoustic instrumentation, including banjo, clarinet, accordian, acoustic guitar, violin, ehru, and cello.

Third Ear Band – Alchemy

Style: Free Folk, Chamber Music, Progressive Folk

Vibe: Ritualistic, Hypnotic, Earthy, Tribal, Nature, Meditative, Medieval, Exploratory

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Improvisation, Instrumental, Minimalistic

Instrumentation: Oboe, Violin, Viola, Recorder, Percussion (Tabla, Drums, Chimes), Cello

Makaya McCraven – Universal Beings

Released in 2018 on International Anthem Recording Co. Format: LPx2

Circle – Paris-Concert

While more cerebral than emotive, this live set is a frenzied demonstration of what four virtuosic musicians sound like when they give in to the intuitive whims of collective improvisation. Even when playing a composition, this quartet will stretch and mutate the melody into every possible pattern without ever playing it directly. The group interplay is often bombastic and can be overwhelming, but thankfully they vary the dynamics through mellower sections, as well as solo and duo pieces.

Eberhard Weber – The Colours of Chloë

The German upright bassist and composer is joined by a jazz quartet, cello ensemble, and choir for a colorfully complex album of atmospheric improvisation, progressive structures, and sweeping orchestral arrangements, with occasional segments of groovy fusion or synthesizer spaciness, all draped in the warm, reverbed production ECM albums are known for.

Godspeed You Black Emperor! – Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP

“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)”

Tangerine Dream – Zeit

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.