Soothing

John Surman – Upon Reflection

Style: Post-Minimalism, Ambient Jazz, Folk-Jazz, ECM Style

Moods: Meditative, Pastoral, Futuristic, Mysterious, Impressionistic, Hypnotic, Soothing, Searching

Musical Qualities: Electro-Acoustic, Minimalist, Instrumental, Pulse, Solo

Instrumentation: soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, synthesizer

Alabaster DePlume – GOLD

Style: Art Pop, Spiritual Jazz, Dub Poetry, Collage Pop

Moods: Triumphant, Conversational, Uplifting, Conscious, Communal, Heartfelt, Passionate, Hypnotic, Intertwined, Intimate, Intricate, Playful, Rebellious, Love, Poetic, Reflective, Soothing, Spiritual, Warm,

Musical Qualities: Suite, Improvisation, Analogue Recording, Tape Edits, Dub Production, Sound Collage, Thematic, Polished, Catchy

Instrumentation: Saxophone, Spoken Word, Upright Bass, Drums, Group Vocals, Tabla, Synthesizers, Percussion, Guitar, Cello

Joan Shelley – The Spur

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Folk

Moods: Reflective, Poetic, Intimate, Lonely, Loving, Wise, Compassionate, Tender, Soothing, Contemplative, Bittersweet, Rustic, Peaceful, Melancholy, Intricate, Pastoral

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Vocal Harmonies, Soft, Melodic

Raum – Daughter

Grouper & Jefre-Cantu Ledesma

Style: Ambient, Drone

Moods: Plaintive, Autumnal, Soothing, Mournful, Nocturnal, Washy, Hazy, Melancholy, Haunting

Musical Qualities: Electroacoustic, Field Recordings, Noisy, Lo-fi, Atmospheric, Soft, Slow, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Beth Orton – Weather Alive

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber-Jazz, Ambient Pop

Moods: Reflective, Existential, Autumnal, Languid, Pensive, Soothing, Peaceful, Nature, Tender, Mellow, Contemplative

Musical Qualities: Lush, Slow, Polished, Atmospheric

Featuring Shahzad Ismaily, Tom Skinner, Alabaster dePlume, and more

Wet Tuna – Warping All By Yourself

Style: Aquatic Psych, Folk-Funk

Vibes: Swampy, Ethereal, Mystical, Utopian, Relaxed, Dreamy, Swagger, Contemplative, Warm, Playful, Whispery, Soothing

Qualities: Groovy, Atmospheric, Percussive, Dub Fx, Vocal Delays, Headphone Album

Rich Ruth – I Survived, It’s Over

Style: Kosmische Jazz, Progressive Electronic, New Age

Vibe: Healing, Cosmic, Warm, Ethereal, Colorful, Uplifting, Spiritual, Exploratory, Heartfelt, Soothing

Musical Qualities: Improvisation, Repetitive, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Atmospheric, Instrumental

Instrumentation: Keyboards, Synthesizers, Upright Bass, Saxophone, Electric Guitar, Drums, Flute, Harp

Joan Shelley – Over and Even

Style: Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Morning, Reflective, Soothing, Gentle, Bittersweet, Warm, Mellow, Contemplative

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Soft, Vocal Harmonies, Melodic, Sparse, Polished Production

Instrumentation: Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Piano, Harmonium, Glockenspiel, Keyboards

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

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

Mickey Newbury – I Came to Hear the Music

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Progressive Country

Vibe: Introspective, Reflective, Heartfelt, Bittersweet, Longing, Lush, Warm, Soothing, Rustic, Tender, Sentimental, Spiritual, Contemplative, Intimate

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lyrical, Melodic, Orchestral, Polished, Background Vocals

Sathima Bea Benjamin – Windsong

Personnel: Sathima Bea Benjamin – Vocals; Kenny Barron – Piano; Buster Williams – Upright Bass; Billy Higgins – Drums

Style: Vocal Jazz, Spiritual Jazz, Ballads, Traditional

Vibe: Healing, Flowing, Warm, Airy, Spiritual, Soothing, Sombre, Heartfelt, Elegant, Uplifting, Bittersweet, Intimate, Morning, Peaceful, Reflective, Rootsy, Sentimental,

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Soft, Improvisation, Slow, Polished, Lyrical, Lush

Joseph Shabason – Anne

Style: New Age, Ambient Jazz, Progressive Electronic

Vibe: Healing, Woozy, Personal, Ethereal, Soothing, Intimate, Hypnotic, Mellow

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Spoken Word, Soft, Slow, Electroacoustic, Field Recordings, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Instrumentation: Saxophone (w/ FX), Synthesizers, Piano, Electric Guitar, Percussion, Violin, Trumpet, Flute

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

David Grubbs – Borough of Broken Umbrellas

Style: Solo Guitar Improvisations, American Primitive Guitar

Vibe: Pastoral, Peaceful, Contemplative, Soothing, Open

Musical Qualities: Sparse, Improvisation, Solo, Atmospheric

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

Pullman – Turnstyles & Junkpiles

LP, Thrill Jockey, 1998 Reissue (2015) Style: Chamber Folk Vibe: Pastoral, Peaceful, Warm, Focused, Morning, Intertwined Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Technical, Melodic Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitars, Acoustic Bass, Classical Guitar, Irish Bazouki, and Dobro

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

Jessica Pratt – Quiet Signs

Style: Chamber Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Mellow, Morning, Soothing, Bittersweet, Warm, Introspective, Ethereal

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Soft

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

Cocteau Twins – Victorialand

Style: Dream Pop, Ethereal Wave, Neofolk

Vibe: Ethereal, Cryptic, Dreamy, Lush, Mysterious, Soft, Soothing, Lethargic, Longing, Witchy, Winter

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

Jim O’Rourke – Halfway to a Threeway

Style: Chamber Folk–Pop, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Warm, Lush, Deadpan, Uplifting, Soothing, Humorous, Soft

Musical Attributes: Lyrical, Melodic, Polished

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

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

Anenon – Tongue

Released in 2018 on Friends of Friends Records Format: LP, Clear Vinyl

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.

Arve Henriksen – Towards Language

On Towards Language, Norweigan trumpeter Arve Henriksen creates a blend of meditative and suspenseful ambient-jazz, demonstrating a more soothing side to his playing than his noisier output with electro-acoustic improvisers Supersilent.

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.

John Abercrombie – Characters

Album Information: Released in 1978 on ECM Records Recorded November 1977 at Talent Studio, Oslo Engineered by Jan Erik Kongshaug Cover by Don Leavitt Produced by Manfred Eicher Format: LP, promo copy Recommended Track: B1 – Ghost Dance

Gimmer Nicholson – Christopher Idylls

Performed on acoustic guitar and an early delay pedal, Christopher Idylls is a soothing, reflective way to ease into the morning. It fits somewhere between ambient, new age, and American primitive guitar.

Slowdive – Soulvaki

Album Information: Originally released in 1993 on Creation Records This pressing was manufactured in 2011 by Music on Vinyl for Sony Music