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

Flying Saucer Attack – Chorus

Style: Bedroom Psych, Drone, Noise Pop, Shoegaze, Space Folk

Vibe: Nocturnal, Murky, Dreamy, Introspective, Hazy, Hypnotic, Intimate, Washy, Ritualistic

Musical Qualities: Feedback, Drone, Atmospheric, Noisey, Lo-Fi

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

Jack DeJohnette’s Directions – Untitled

Style: Progressive Jazz, Post-Bop, Jazz Fusion

Vibe: Triumphant, Pastoral, Airy, Searching, Eclectic, Mysterious, Soothing

Musical Qualities: Thematic, Improvisation, Progressive, Odd Time Signatures, Atmospheric

Peter Kardas – I Saw You

Style: Inner Space Music, Ambient Pop, Tape Music, Minimal Wave

Vibe: Ethereal, Suspenseful, Introspective, Soothing, Nocturnal, Hypnotic, Meditative, Cinematic, Dreamy, Ominous (A2, B2, B3)

Musical Qualities: Pulse, Home Recording, Minimalistic, Atmospheric, Vignettes

Instrumentation: Keyboards, Drum Machine, Vocals, Tape Loops, Electric Guitar, Marimba, Echo

Hiss Golden Messenger – Terms of Surrender

Vibe: Contemplative, Tender, Soothing, Warm, Bittersweet, Rustic, Open, Pastoral, Light

Themes: Family, Existential, Spirituality, Love

Musical Qualities: Soft, Melodic, Vocal Harmonies, Atmospheric Production, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Banjo, Piano, Organ, Harmonica, Mandolin Synthesizer, Electric Bass, Lap Steel Slide Guitar, Omnichord, Drums, Percussion

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

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Beware

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Loner Folk, Slowcore-Country

Vibes: Contemplative, Bittersweet, Warm, Loner, Mellow, Uplifting, Love, Break-up, Intimate, Heartfelt, Playful, Soothing, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Lyrical, Vocal Harmonies

David Sylvian – Gone To Earth

Style: Ambient Pop, Progressive Pop (LP1), Ambient (LP2)

Vibe: Ethereal, Introspective, Sombre, Sentimental, Spiritual, Winter, Lush, Meditative, Longing, Soothing

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Progressive, Polyphonic, Polyrhythmic, Polished, Ballads

Carlos Niño & Friends – More Energy Fields, Current

Featuring Laraaji, Shabaka Hutching, Sam Gendel, Jamire Williams, Aaron Shaw, Sharada, Jamael Dean, Nate Mercereau, Jira ><, Adam Rudolph, Devin Daniels

Style: Ambient Jazz, Ambient Beats, New Age

Vibe: Healing, Airy, Soothing, Woozy, Peaceful, Hypnotic, Aquatic, Communal, Spiritual

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Improvisation, Beats, Sampling, Sound Sculpture, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Field Recordings

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

Popol Vuh – Hosianna Mantra

Style: Ecstatic Chamber Music, Kosmische, Neoclassical New Age

Vibe: Spiritual, Ethereal, Mystical, Meditative, Mysterious, Soothing, Peaceful, Mellow, Ritualistic, Sentimental, Religious (Christian), Pastoral

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Chamber Arrangements, Atmospheric, Melodic, Suite

Instrumentation: Harpsichord, Piano, Electric Guitar, Oboe, Tanpura, Hymnal Vocals, Violin

Jakob Battick – Rabbit’s Moon

Style: Dream Country, Slow-Drip Americana, Gothic Country, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Sedated, Nocturnal, Contemplative, Dreamy, Haunting, Pastoral, Soothing

Musical Qualities: Slow, Sparse, Acoustic, Lyrical

Loren Connors – Blues: The “Dark Paintings” of Mark Rothko

Style: Ambient Blues, Solo Electric Guitar

Vibe: Longing, Soothing, Nocturnal, Impressionistic, Lonely, Meditative, Melancholy, Suspenseful,

Musical Qualities: Sparse, Improvisation (solo), Atmospheric, Instrumental, Lo-fi

The Congos – Heart of the Congos

Style: Roots Reggae, Dub

Vibe: Spiritual, Warm, Apocalyptic, Hypnotic, Groovy, Summer, Tropical, Religious, Passionate, Psychedelic, Peaceful, Soothing, Laid Back, Aquatic

Musical Qualities: Studio-as-an-Instrument, Rhythmic, Melodic, Lo-fi, Slow

Eric Chenaux – Dull Lights

Style: Warped Americana, Free Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Heartfelt, Airy, Raw, Lethargic, Soft, Psychedelic, Peaceful

Musical Qualities: Loose, Lyrical, Acoustic

Instrumentation: Vocals, Banjo, Electric Guitar w/ Fx, Lap Steel, Drums

Meg Baird – Don’t Weight Down the Light

Style: Psychedelic Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Flowing, Dreamy, Nocturnal, Mellow, Soothing, Introspective, Haunting, Pastoral, Airy, Ethereal, Intimate Bittersweet, Melancholy, Contemplative, Loner, Peaceful, Soft

Musical Qualities: Vocal Harmonies, Acoustic, Lush, Melodic, Sparse, Reverb

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

Loren Connors – Beautiful Dreamer (for Steve Dalachinksy)

Style: Dark Ambient, Free Improvisation, Ambient Blues

Vibe: Murky, Meditative, Washy, Haunting, Suspenseful, Mysterious, Ethereal

Musical Attributes: Solo Electric Guitar Improvisation, Sparse, Atmospheric, Slow, Lo-fi

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

Natalie Rose Lebrecht – Mandarava Rose

Style: Ambient Pop, Free Folk, New Age

Vibe: Cosmic, Dreamy, Earthy, Ethereal, Lethargic, Meditative, Mystical, Passionate, Ritualistic, Soothing, Spiritual

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Droney, Slow

Golden Retriever & Chuck Johnson – Rain Shadow

Overview
Bass clarinet, pedal steel guitar, and synthesizer swirling together into a highly immersive and emotive combination of voices. Truly beautiful soundscapes that melt the worry away, with moments of quiet catharsis that I don’t experience very often in ambient music.

Chicago Underground Quartet – Good Days

Style: Creative Music, Electro-Jazz, Fusion
Vibe: Warm, Colorful, Eclectic, Uplifting
Musical Attributes: Improvisation (Thematic), Melodic, Instrumental, Technical, Percussive

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

Mike Oldfield – Ommadawn

Style: Celtic New Age, Symphonic Prog

Vibe: Ethereal, Medieval, Spring, Mellow, Meditative, Rainy, Soothing, Cinematic, Eclectic, Epic, Pastoral

Musical Qualities: Suite, Orchestral, Lush, Atmospheric, Progressive, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Instrumentation: harp, electric guitar, acoustic bass, electric bass, bagpipe, uilleann pipes, acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, classical guitar, mandolin, bodhran, bouzouki, banjo, spinet, piano, Organ, synthesizer, glockenspiel, percussion, choral vocals, brass, tympani, drums, percussion

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Tracing Back the Radiance

Washes of piano, harp, and other ephemeral sonic artifacts float through Ledesma’s peaceful, almost static atmospheres like a night breeze through the quiet woods.

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.

Deradoorian – Eternal Recurrence

There is a fathomless void within each of us. And while many choose to run from it, clinging to anything to keep from falling in, Deradoorian dove right in on her meditative release, Eternal Reccurrence. Here she provides somewhat of a sonic roadmap for diving deep within yourself, guided by the blooming drones of harmonium, Juno synthesizers, and flutes. Arising from the ether, layers of otherworldly voices sing mantras of facing our Shadow (“Mirrorman”), finding the love that resides in the core of our being, and bringing it back with us into this material dimension.

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

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)

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.