Middle East-Influenced

Rangda – Formerly Extinct

Style: Psychedelic Math Rock, Free Rock

Vibe: Desert, Serpentine, Epic, Adventure, Intertwined, Energetic, Bombastic, Mystical

Musical Qualities: Shredding, Riffs, Improvisation, Dynamic, Instrumental, Uncommon Time Signatures, Noisy

Grails – Burning Off Impurities

Style: Psychedelic Rock, Post-Rock

Influences: Arabic Folk, Horror Soundtracks, Kosmisch, Library Music, Spaghetti Westerns, Prog, Stoner Rock, American Primitive Guitar, Raga

Vibe: Adventure, Driving, Cinematic, Exploratory, Epic, Ominous, Nocturnal

Musical Qualities: Instrumental, Dynamic, Fuzzy, Riffs, Progressive, Atmospheric

Brigitte Fontaine / Areski / Art Ensemble of Chicago – Comme á la Radio

Style: Chanson, Chamber Jazz, Avant-Folk

Vibe: Serpentine, Nocturnal, Mysterious, Ominous, Storytelling, Suspenseful, Open, Beguiling

Musical Qualities: Spoken Word, Collective Improvisation, Thematic, Percussive

Instrumentation: Duet Vocals, Muted Trumpet, Acoustic Guitar, Bouzouki, Shenai, Oboe, Flute, Percussion, Drums, Upright Bass, Lute

Agitation Free – Malesch

Style: Kosmische Music, Psychedelic Rock, Space Rock

Influences: Arabic Music, African Music, Prog

Vibe: Exploratory, Psychedelic, Desert, Tribal

Musical Attributes: Improvisation, Studio-as-an-instrument, Sound Collage, Riffs

The Clandestine Quartet – One for the Fossa, Two for the Wolverine

Released in 2019 on 33-33 Records Format: LP Style: Free-Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Experimental Rock Influences: Arabic Folk Music, Free Improvisation, Drone, Indian Classical Music Vibe: Exploratory, Cathartic, Ritualistic, Psychedelic, Spiritual Musical Attributes: Improvisation Members: Sir Richard Bishop (Guitar, Piano), Chris Corsano (Drums), Alvarius Bishop (Bass, Vocals), Michael Flower (Japanese Banjo)

Black Ox Orkestar – Ver Tanzt? Yeah

These impassioned, and often mournful, renditions of klezmer folk songs (both traditional and original) are infused with elements of free jazz, drone, and chamber music to create something both rooted and urgently modern (Even 15 years after its release). The mostly acoustic band features violinist Jessica Moss (also of Silver Mt. Zion) and upright bassist Thierry Amar (asmz, GY!BE) in addition to singer/multi-instrumentalist Scott Levine Gilmore and Clarinetist/Guitarist Gabe Levine.

Om – God is Good

Released in 2009 on Drag City Format: LP Recorded by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio, Chicago, March 2009

Grails – Deep Politics

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.

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

Esmerine – Dalmak

Whilst in Istanbul for an artist residency, the adventurous Canadian chamber rock group (featuring past members of Silver Mt. Zion and GY!BE) recorded with an ensemble of Turkish musicians, augmenting their core sound of cello, marimba, drums, and tenor banjo with the saz and several other instruments used in Turkish and Arabic 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.

Sandy Bull – Fantasias for Guitar and Banjo

On his debut album, the guitar and banjo virtuoso starts off with a 22-minute droning epic fusing American and Arabic Folk music with Indian Raga on his acoustic guitar (often trying to imitate the feeling of the oud). Here, he is accompanied by the fluid, driving drums of Billy Higgins. Side 2 is made up of 4 shorter solo pieces, mostly for the banjo, including an impressive rendition of “Carmina Burana” by German composer Carl Orff and a folky mountain song.

Om – Pilgrimage

Album Information: Released in 2007 on Southern Lord Records Produced by Steve Albini and Om Recorded and mixed by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio, Chicago, Illinois, June 2007. This Pressing: LP, rust-colored vinyl limited to 1000, includes foldout poster