Joshua Abrams – Natural Information

Style: Psychedelic Trance Music, Avant-Jazz, Creative Music, Post-Minimalism

Influences: Gnawa, Spiritual Jazz, Raga, Kosmische Musik

Vibe: Earthy, Hypnotic, Meditative, Cosmic, Psychedelic, Ritualistic, Spiritual, Tribal

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

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

Ka Baird – Sapropelic Picnic

Style: Psychedelic Minimalism, Post-Minimalism, Ritual Folk

Vibe: Ritualistic, Hallucinogenic, Hypnotic, Earthy, Primal, Psychedelic, Spiritual

Musical Attributes: Electro-Acoustic, Loops, Minimalistic, Sampling

Instrumentation: Manipulated Vocals, Flute, Synthesizer (Moog), Drum Samples, Vibraphone

Nuke Watch – Countdown

Style: Organic Beat Music, Tribal Ambient, Ritual Psych-Folk, Progressive Electronic

Vibe: Hallucinogenic, Exploratory, Mysterious, Meditative, Hypnotic

Musical Attributes: Electro-Acoustic, Beats, Percussive, Polyphonic, Loops

Decolonize Your Mind Society – A Courteous Invitation to an Uninhabited Anabatic Prism

Style: Psychedelic Rock, Free Rock, Jam Band, Tishoumaren-Influenced

Vibe: Groovy, Hypnotic, Colorful, Ritualistic, Communal, Psychedelic

Musical Attributes: Microtonal (Just Intonation), Improvisation (Collective), Instrumental, Progressive, Repetitive, Rhythmic, Thematic

Spires that in the Sunset Rise – Psychic Oscillations

Psychedelic electro-acoustics and earthy minimalism from long-running avant-folk group Spires that in the Sunset Rise. The multi-instrumentalist duo of Ka Baird and Taralie Peterson ritualistically loop and layer a hypnotic tapestry of pre-verbal vocalizations, upright bass, flute, saxophone, synth, and autoharp, running each instrument through trippy stereo delays, visually represented by the two minute-apart clocks next to each other on the album cover. While not as witchy or jarring as the their early releases, Psychic Oscillations finds the band as entrancing as ever.

Miles Davis – Double Image

Style: Abstract Groove, Jazz Fusion, Raga Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz, Ambient Jazz

Vibe: Exploratory, Abstract, Mysterious, Chaotic, Hypnotic, Psychedelic, Suspenseful

Musical Attributes: Collective Improvisation, Polyrhythmic, Rhythmic, Dense, Complex, Polyphonic

Featuring Dave Holland, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Bennie Maupin, Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Airto Moreira and others

Nicolas Jaar – Cenizas

Released in 2020 on Other People Records

Artist: Nicolas Jaar

Format: LPx2


Style: Progressive Electronic, Ambient Pop, Sound Sculpture

Vibe: Introspective, Mysterious, Nocturnal, Shadowy, Abstract, Dark, Hypnotic, Meditative

Musical Attributes: Electro-Acoustic, Progressive, Digital, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Fairhorns – Doki Doki Run

Style: Progressive Electronic

Influences: Kosmische Musik, Industrial, Drone, Shoegaze

Vibe: Angsty, Dystopian, Cathartic, Mechanical, Depressive, Futuristic, Hypnotic, Intimate, Loner, Spacey, Raw, Murky

Musical Attributes: Drone, Loops, Noisy Analogue Synthesizers, Drum Machine, Atmospheric, Motorik, Lo-fi, Vocal Manipulation

Horse Lords – The Common Task

The Common Task is an incessant barrage of jolting polyrhythms that simultaneously hypnotize and disorient.

Style: Experimental Rock, Math Rock, Post-Rock, Totalism
Vibe: Hypnotic, Surreal, Triumphant, Complex, Political
Musical Attributes: Microtonal, Polyrhythmic, Repetitive, Odd Time Signatures, Saharan Africa-Influenced, Technical, Instrumental

Sunburned Hand of the Man – Fire Escape

The free-form psychedelia and tribal “group therapy” of Sunburned Hand of the Man are in great hands with producer Kieran Hebden (Four Tet)—his dubs and cuts transform their usually lo-fi, meandering jams into something much more immediate, without losing any of their exploratory and spontaneous energy. Recommended for fans of polyrhythmic Afro-inspired percussion, dubbed out production, communal sound rituals, and dense psychedelia.

Ilyas Ahmed – I Am All Your Own

Style: Loner Folk, Singer Songwriter, Psych Folk

Vibe: Lethargic, Loner, Peaceful, Soothing, Airy, Mellow, Contemplative, Dreamy, Droney, Hypnotic, Intimate, Introspective

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Droney, Slow, Sparse, Soft

Tarantel – We Move Through Weather

Style: Post-Rock, Experimental Rock
Vibe: Exploratory, Hypnotic, Meandering, Murky, Mysterious, Nature, Abstract, Aquatic, Driving, Droney, Psychedelic
Musical Attributes: Instrumental, Repetitive, Atmospheric, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Loops, Innovative, Dynamic

Steve Reich with Kronos Quartet & Pat Metheny – Different Trains; Electric Counterpoint

Style: Minimalism, Tape Music, Chamber Music

Vibe/Themes: Pulsing,  Hypnotic, History, Meditative

Musical Attributes: Repetitive, Sampling, Electro-Acoustic, Spoken Word

Stereolab – Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night

Style: Progressive Pop, Space Age Pop

Influences: Kosmische Musik, Bossa Nova, French Pop, Lounge

Vibe: Spacey, Lush, Retro-Futuristic, Catchy, Groovy, Motorik, Nocturnal, Uplifting

Musical Attributes: Melodic, Headphone Album, Odd Time Signatures, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Progressive, Lyrical

Lyrics: Philosophical, Political, Communist, Bi-Lingual (English and French)

Instrumentation: Synthesizers, Vibraphone, Drums, Electric Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Brass, Strings, Keys (Organ, Clavinet, Harpsichord, Wurlitzer)

Pharoah Sanders – Village of the Pharoahs

Style: Spiritual Jazz, Free Jazz
Vibe: Communal, Earthy, Energetic, Hypnotic, Intense, Loose, Mystical, Passionate, Spiritual, Tribal, Uplifting, Warm, Dance
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Complex, Collective Improvisation, Percussive, Dense, Thematic, Suite

The Necks – Vertigo

Style: Free Improvisation, Post-Minimalism, Trance Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz

Vibe: Suspenseful, Hypnotic, Epic, Anxious, Impressionistic

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Repetitive, Droney, Dissonant, Electro-Acoustic, Collective Improvisation, Minimalistic

James Holden & the Animal Spirits – The Animal Spirits

These communal sound rituals express a digital-era longing to reconnect to the Earth. The grooves here are circular and ceremonial, not rooted to any specific musical traditions but borrowing from many, including cosmic jazz, kosmische musik and undoubtedly inspired by Holden’s collaboration with legendary Gnawa musician Maleem Mahmoud Ghania. Drums and percussion ground the proceedings while muscular sequencer and fiery saxophone arpeggiations hypnotically intertwine.  The sounds of fluttering recorder and modular synthesizer swirl through the air like offerings to the cosmos. 

Recommended for fans of The Comet is Coming, Tonto’s Exploding Head Band, Maleem Mahmoud Ghania & Pharoah Sander’s Trance of Seven Colors, Natural Information Society, Colin Stetson

Tangents – Stateless

“The five-piece band synthesise contemporary classical forms – most often recalling Steve Reich or Philip Glass – and marry them to the looseness and improvisational nature of jazz and the dynamics of head-nodding electronic music. Stateless is at once both carefully composed and freely flowing. The compositions included here are more about rhythm, texture and contrast than definable melodies and harmonic structures.” – Scott Wallace [Sydney Scoop]

Ambarchi / O’Malley / Dunn – Shade Themes from Kairos

Style: Drone-Rock, Experimental Rock

Influences: Dark Ambient, Psych Rock, Kosmische, Noise, Drone-Metal

Vibe: Shadowy, Ominous, Brooding, Dark, Driving, Haunting, Hypnotic, Mysterious, Exploratory, Nocturnal, Hallucinogenic

Musical Attributes: Studio-as-an-instrument, Dissonant, Droney

Radiohead – The King of Limbs

Style: Experimental Rock, Art Rock

Influences: Electronic, Kosmische Musik, Glitch, Afro-Beat

Vibe: Surreal, Psychedelic, Messy, Hypnotic, Warm, Mysterious, Cryptic

Musical Attributes: Sampling, Percussive, Polyrhythmic, Studio-as-an-instrument, Dense, Looping

Themes: Nature

Anthony Davis – Epistēmē

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

Herbie Hancock – Mwandishi

Released in 1971 on Warner Bros. Format: LP, white label promo

The Flaming Lips – The Terror

Released in 2013 on Bella Union UK Pressing Format: LPx2, Bonus 7″, Holographic Cover Studio album takes up sides A, … More

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Bitchin Bajas – Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties

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.

Natural Information Society & Bitchin Bajas – Automaginary

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)

Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society – Simultonality

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.

Tonto’s Exploding Head Band – Zero Time

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.