nature

Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions – Until the Hunter

Style: Ethereal Country, Psychedelic Folk, Slowcore, Singer-Songwriter, Dream Pop

Vibe: Enchanting, Dreamy, Hypnotic, Forest, Wistful, Brooding, Western, Nocturnal, Sensual, Lethargic, Soothing, Melancholy, Reflective, Autumnal, Ethereal, Desert, Romantic, Bittersweet, Spectral

Musical Qualities: Slow, Lush, Soft, Atmospheric, Vocal Harmonies, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Slide Guitar, Vibraphone, Keyboards, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Drums, Cello

Fursaxa – Mycorrhizae Realm

Style: Free-Folk, Ritual-Drone

Vibe: Nature, Mystical, Ritualistic, Dreamy, Forest, Hallucinogenic, Nocturnal, Hypnotic, Sombre

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Droney, Repetitive, Mantra, Electroacoustic

Instrumentation: Harmonium, Vocals, Guitar, Harp, Cello, Flute

Dirty Three – Ocean Songs

Style: Chamber Rock, Slowcore, Post-Rock

Vibe: Aquatic, Melancholy, Flowing, Patient, Soothing, Meditative, Longing, Lonely, Dreamy, Mellow, Lethargic

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Loose, Soft, Instrumental, Loops, Improvisation

Instrumentation: Violin, Drums, Electric Guitar, Loops, Melodica, Piano, Harmonica

Marion Brown – Afternoon of a Georgia Faun

featuring Chick Corea, Anthony Braxton, Bennie Maupin, Andrew Cyrille, etc…

Style: Modern Creative, Avant-Garde Jazz

Vibe: Mysterious, Suspenseful, Nature, Abstract, Surreal, Kinetic, Visceral, Earthy, Swirling, Pastoral (Side A)

Musical Qualities: Collective Improvisation, Dynamic, Sparse, Acoustic, Atonal, Experimental Vocals, Extended Techniques, Dissonant, Percussive, Homemade Instrument

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

P.G. Six – The Well of Memory

Style: Mystical Americana, Ritual Folk, Loner Folk

Vibe: Seeking, Contemplative, Gentle, Spiritual, Heartfelt, Intimate, Healing, Mystical, Pantheistic, Reflective, Soothing, Introspective, Warm, Nature

Musical Methods: Acoustic, Suite, Raga, Lyrical, Soft, Droney, Fingerstyle

The Skygreen Leopards – Child God in the Garden of Idols

Style: Acid Folk, Free Folk

Vibe: Forest, Mystical, Gentle, Hypnotic, Colorful, Whimsical, Ritualistic, Heartfelt, Nature, Pastoral, Psychedelic

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lo-Fi, Melodic, Raw, Off-Key, Soft, Raga, Electro-Acoustic, Percussive

Robbie Basho – Visions of the Country

Style: American Primitivism, Singer/Songwriter, Folk, Raga?Vibe: Mystical, Nature, Open, Passionate, Pastoral, Peaceful, Airy, Contemplative, Earthy, Impressionistic, Meditative, Morning, Spring, Spiritual,
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Indian-Influenced, Sparse, Technical

John Fahey – Volume 2: Death Chants, Breakdowns, & Military Waltzes

Style: American Primitivism, Acoustic Blues, Folk

Vibe: Meditative, Loner, Morning, Rustic, Spring, Spiritual, Pastoral, Bittersweet, Hypnotic, inspiration, Melancholy, Nature, Raw, Warm 

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Technical, Fingerstyle, Instrumental, Sparse, Progressive

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

Collie Ryan – The Hour is Now

Style: Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Mystical, Nature, Soothing, Mellow, Tender, Flowing, Forest, Peaceful, Morning, Earthy, Intimate

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Simple, Lyrical, Soft, Melodic, Solo

Beverly Glenn-Copeland

Style: Jazz-Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Haunting, Passionate, Forest, Ethereal, Melancholy, Contemplative, Love, Lush

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Progressive, Improvisation

Akron/Family – Set Em Wild, Set Em Free

These guys are my favorite American Rock band. Every album they’ve released explores different sides of rock, folk, experimental and psychedelic music in such a natural, unforced way that my mind usually envisions them jamming by a campfire in the woods. What’s even better is I imagine I’m there with them singing along and worshipping the great creative spirit that inspires their music. There’s such an unpretentious, inclusive sense of community and spirituality in their music that I can’t help but feel welcomed and embraced into the family.

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.

Spires that in the Sunset Rise – Ancient Patience Wills It Again Part II

Style: Free Folk, Ecstatic Minimalism

Vibe: Ritualistic, Forest, Nocturnal, Haunting, Hallucinatory, Cautious, Exploratory

Musical Qualities: Loops, Repetitive, Dissonance, Drones, Slow, Electro-Acoustic

Instrumentation: Experimental Vocals, Harmonium, Flute, Spiked Fiddle, Banjo, Acoustic & Electric Guitars

Jerry David Decicca – Understanding Land

Style: Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Folk

Vibe: Peaceful, Rustic, Deadpan, Mellow, Lethargic, Nature, Warm, Morning

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Slow, Vocal Harmonies, Lush, Simple

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Lap Steel & Pedal Steel Guitars, Strings, Upright Bass, Vibraphone, Tabla, Bongos

Boards of Canada – Geogaddi

Style: Trip-Hop, Psychedelic Electronic, IDM, Downtempo, Ambient Techno

Vibe: Mysterious, Hallucinogenic, Woozy, Occult, Cryptic, Nature, Eerie, Warm, Surreal, Hypnotic, Mellow, Haunting

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Beats, Sampling, Vignettes, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Rhythmic

Fletcher Tucker – Unlit Trail

Style: Ritual Folk, Drone

Vibe: Ancient, Forest, Meditative, Ritualistic, Intimate, Devotional, Earthy, Nature, Autumnal, Contemplative

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Field Recordings, Drone, Atmospheric, Sparse, Suite

Ilyas Ahmed & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – You Can See Your Own Way Out

Style: Drone, Tape Music, Ambient, Drone-Folk

Vibe: Nocturnal, Haunting, Hypnotic, Ethereal, Meditative, Warm, Nature, Nostalgia

Musical Qualities: Sound Collage, Instrumental, Field Recordings, Collage, Electro-Acoustic, Noisy, Home Recording, Vignettes

Instrumentation: Tapes, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Piano, Drum Machine, Synthesizers, Bass, Keyboard, Percussion, Bass Clarinet (B2)

Earthforce – Earthforce

Released in 2021 on Lion Productions Recorded 1977, Archival Release Format: LP, includes 12-page 12″ booklet Style: British Folk, Psych Folk, Spiritual Folk, Raga-Influenced Vibe: Hippie, Morning, Communal, Spiritual, Pastoral, Earthy, Eclectic, Nature, Peaceful, Mystical, Meditative Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar (6 & 12 String), Sitar, Harmonium, Doogi, Synthesizers, Percussion, Fretless Bass, Flageolet, Table, Electric Piano

Sarah Louise – Earth Bow

Style: Free Folk, Cosmic Appalachia, Ambient Folk, Healing Music

Vibe: hypnotic, amorphous, confident, cosmic, dreamy, earthy, ethereal, existential, exploratory, forest, warm, spiritual, spontaneous, soothing, psychedelic, passionate, nature, meditative, hallucinogenic

Musical Qualities: Suite, Electro-Acoustic, Studio-as-an-instrument, Loops, Home Recording, Progressive, Field Recordings

Cluster – Sowiesoso

Style: Progressive Electronic, Kosmische Musik

Vibe: Forest, Mysterious, Pastoral, Cosmic, Nature, Mellow, Contemplative, Focused, Motorik, Nocturnal

Musical Attributes: Instrumental, Repetition, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Instrumentation: Analogue Synthesizers, Drum Machine

Hoyt Axton – My Griffin Is Gone

Style: Progressive Country, Singer/Songwriter, Americana

Vibe: Nature, Autumnal, Morning, Rustic, Pastoral, Sunny, Uplifting, Warm

Musical Attributes: Lush, Melodic, Lyrical, Orchestral

Emtidi – Saat

Style: Prog-Folk, Acid Folk, Kosmische??

Vibe: Pastoral, Forest, Ethereal, Hippie, Psychedelic, Nature, Morning??

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Progressive, Post-Production FX

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

Spires that in the Sunset Rise – Psychic Oscillations [Review]

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.

David Lord – Forest Standards, Vol. 2

Style: Jazz Fusion, Future Jazz, Post-Rock

Vibe: Forest, Knotty, Intricate, Nature, Impressionistic, Mysterious

Musical Attributes: Improvisation, Modal

[Click for album overview, listening links, and more information]

The Microphones – The Glow Pt. 2

Style: Lo-Fi, Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Loner Folk
Vibe: Heartfelt, Imaginative, Introspective, Nature, Intimate, Loner, Bittersweet, Depressive, Psychedelic, Raw, Lonely
Lyrical Themes: Existential, Alienation, Breakup, Philosophical, Poetic, Personal, Death
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Noisy, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Analogue Recording, lo-fi, Distorted

Tarentel – 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

Four Tet – Pause

Style: Glitch-Folk, IDM

Vibe: Autumnal, Peaceful, Warm, Uplifting, Nature, Love

Musical Attributes: Electro-Acoustic, Sampling, Melodic, Repetitive

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

Espers – The Weed Tree

Originally released in 2005 on Locust

Drag City Reissue (2020)

Format: LP

Style: Chamber Folk

Vibe: Mellow, Morning, Melancholy, Rootsy, Ethereal

Plankton Wat – Drifter’s Temple

Released in 2013 on Thrill Jockey Format: LP Style: Psych-Folk Vibe: Pastoral, Warm, Cosmic, Nature, Psychedelic Musical Attributes: Instrumental, Droney Instrumentation: Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Slide Guitar, Keys

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

When the Springtime Comes Again [Mix]

My attempt at capturing some fresh spring vibes during this quarantine; hoping it conjures green pastures and rejuvenatory sensations without irritating the allergies.

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

Pearls Before Swine – Balaklava

Released in 1968 on ESP-Disk Format: LP Style: Chamber Folk, Psych Folk Vibe: Peaceful, Mellow, Psychedelic Themes: War, Nature, Love Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Strings, Flute, Banjo, Keyboards, Bass, French Horn

Tarentel – Ghetto Beats on the Surface of the Sun (#3)

Style: Drone, Post-Rock, Experimental Rock, Tape Music?Vibe/Moods: Murky, Exploratory, Hallucinogenic, Mysterious, Nature, Abstract?Musical Attributes: Drones, Loops, Dissonant, Atonal, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Repetitive

Fleet Foxes – Crack Up

Compared to the immediate songwriting and lush textures of Helplessness Blues, the progressive folk-rock opus Crack Up feels like an impenetrable wilderness on first listen with its dense, tangled arrangements and complex compositions.

Bibio – Ribbons

On his latest, producer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Bibio blends serene folk pop, lush instrumentation, pastoral guitar instrumentals, nature field recordings, Walt Whitman-esque lyrics and beat-oriented grooves into the perfectly crafted springtime album. Ribbons feels like daydreaming in a garden or out in the woods under a tree or by a trickling stream.

Tarentel – The Order of Things

The Order of Things takes you on a strange journey, starting off with a long ambient song built around field recordings, light acoustic guitar and some weird drones in the background. Highly recommended if you’re a fan of experimental post-rock, drone, or music that doesn’t like to be easily categorized.?

Fursaxa – Mandrake

Style: Avant-Folk, Free Folk, Psych Folk

Vibe: Forest, Witchy, Nocturnal, Ritualistic, Earthy, Raw, Nature

Musical Attributes: Dissonant, Droney, Lo-Fi

Avey Tare – Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a beautiful, enveloping excursion of aquatic psych-folk characterized by flowing, hallucinogenic instrumentation, atmospheric production, nature field recordings, and ghostly background vocals from one of my favorite singers, Angel Deradoorian. Avey Tare’s introspective and intimate lyrics mix psychedelic revelations, reminiscing, surreal imagery, and nature/water themes, often leading to profound realizations of a very personal sense of spirituality. The lush orchestrations are arranged by the amazing and unique violist Eyvind Kang, which include woodwinds, horns, strings, and pedal steel slide guitar from Susan Alcorn.

For fans of Animal Collective’s “Campfire Songs” and the slow portions of “Feels”.

Click for full review

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.

Meg Baird & Mary Lattimore – Ghost Forests

An ethereal and somewhat haunting dream-folk collaboration between guitarist/singer Meg Baird (Espers, Heron Oblivion), and harpist Mary Lattimore, who’s recorded with Fursaxa, Steve Gunn, and others in addition to her hypnotic solo work.
Highly Recommended for fans of Natural Snow Buildings, Cocteau Twins “Victorialand”, Laraaji, and 60’s British & Scottish Folk music

Jon Hopkins – Singularity

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.

Idris Ackamoor & the Pyramids – An Angel Fell

An Angel Fell is a call to action for protecting and healing our planet, using folklore, group vocals, uplifting themes, deep grooves, and expressive improvisations to deliver the message. While not as wild and loose as the dense free jazz the Pyramids made back in the 70s, this record is an organic and vibrant fusion of spiritual jazz, dub, and Afrobeat that will give fans of musical geniuses such as Sun Ra, King Tubby, Fela Kuti, and Pharoah Sanders plenty to vibe to.

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.

Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness

Julie Byrne’s gentle new-age folk is so light and airy it’s easy to miss its depth, but repeated listening shows that it’s strength lies in its weightlessness. Her soothing voice and delicate fingerpicking are enveloped in warm string arrangements, all tied together by soft reverb and pristine production that makes for an inviting, peaceful listen every time.?

Six Organs of Admittance – Asleep on the Floodplains

Pastoral psychfolk from guitar master Ben Chasney. Here his serene acoustic fingerpicking is occasionally accompanied by harmonium drones and trippy guitar overdubs, but overall the album is extremely sparse and meditative.

John Fahey – Volume 1: Blind Joe Death

Album Information: Released in 1967 on Takoma Records This album was originally released on 100 copies in 1959, but was re-recorded in 1967 for this issue This album is included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry for being considered culturally significant.

Jim O’Rourke – Bad Timing

An introspective, instrumental journey of pastoral fingerstyle guitar, occasionally joined by piano, synth and horn arrangements

Jack Rose – Opium Musick

Primitivist acoustic guitar instrumentals in the form of droney ragas, jovial ragtime, and pastoral fingerpicking