Sparse

John Fahey – The Yellow Princess

Style: American Primitive Guitar, Appalachian Folk, Avant-Folk

Moods: Contemplative, Spring, Pastoral, Bluesy, Meditative, Rustic, Mellow, Hypnotic, Rootsy, Nature

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

Red House Painters – Down Colorful Hill

Style: Slowcore, Singer/Songwriter

Moods: Depressive, Existential Late Night Bus Rides, Autumnal, Lethargic, Introspective, Moody, Alienation, Sad, Misanthropic, Sombre, Melancholic, Poetic, Pessimistic, Breakup, Sentimental, Lonely

Musical Qualities: Slow, Sparse, Atmospheric

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

Mickey Newbury – Better Days

Style: Country, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Bittersweet, Reflective, Breakup, Intimate, Introspective, Melancholy, Poetic, Sombre, Longing

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Sparse, Acoustic, Slow

Dave Holland – Life Cycle

Style: Chamber Jazz, Solo Cello

Vibe: Longing, Contemplative, Elegant, Focused, Introspective, Driving, Passionate, Searching

Musical Qualties: Virtuosic, Acoustic, Sparse, Instrumental, Improvisation, Dynamic, Rhythmic, Melodic

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

Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Superwolf

Style: Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Alt-Country, Slowcore

Vibe: Tender, Bittersweet, Stark, Cryptic, Storytelling, Melancholy, Lethargic, Poetic, Autumnal, Heartfelt, Mellow, Playful

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Soft, Sparse

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

Richard Youngs – Sapphie

Style: Lo-Fi Songwriter, Loner Folk, Slowcore

Vibe: Intimate, Sad, Ethereal, Hypnotic, Heartfelt, Stream of Consciousness, Introspective, Longing, Depressive, Lonely, Melancholy, Loss

Musical Qualities: Sparse, Acoustic, Lo-Fi, Minimalistic, Raw, Repetitive

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

Jack DeJohnette – Have You Heard?

Recorded in Tokyo with regular collaborators Gary Peacock and Benny Maupin, plus amazing local pianist Hideo Ichikawa, “Have You Heard?” is an interesting & exploratory record from master drummer Jack DeJohnette. Two shorter cuts of nocturnal modal-jazz bookend a pair of longer, abstract pieces that recall the “modern creative” improvisations coming out of Chicago.

Recommended for fans of Miles Davis’ Nefertiti as well as the works of Art Ensemble of Chicago

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

Julius Lester – Departures

Style: Folk, Acoustic Blues, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Outsider, Rebellious, Melancholy, Storytelling, Intimate, Philosophical, Personal, Political

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Bluesy, Lyrical

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

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

Jackson C. Frank – Jackson C. Frank

Style: Loner Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Folk Blues

Vibe: Introspective, Mellow, Intimate, Longing, Autumnal, Raw, Loner, Simple, Poetic, Melancholy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Lyrical

Anne Briggs – Anne Briggs

Style: English Folk, Celtic Folk

Vibe: Flowing, Pastoral, Melancholy, Heartfelt, Intimate, Rootsy, Storytelling

Musical Qualities: Sparse, Acoustic, A Cappella (A2, A5, B1-3, B5)

Bill Orcutt – Odds Against Tomorrow

Style: American Primitvism, Ambient Blues, Solo Electric Guitar

Vibe: Meditative, Longing, Spiritual, Pastoral, Loose, Kinetic

Musical Qualities: Improvisation, Dissonance, Instrumental, Sparse

Jason Molina – Eight Gates

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Slowcore

Vibe: Lament, Depressive, Intimate, Lonely, Rustic, Mournful, Dark

Musical Qualities: Sparse, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Voice, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Organ, Cello

Jessica Pratt – Quiet Signs

Style: Chamber Folk, Singer/Songwriter

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

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Soft

Bonnie Prince Billy – Ask Forgiveness

Bonnie covers Björk, Mickey Newbury, Danzig, R. Kelly and others with help from Espers’ Meg Baird & Greg Weeks

Style: Folk, Slowcore, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Introspective, Morning, Melancholy, Existential, Bittersweet

Musical Qualities: Covers, Vocal Harmonies, Sparse, Soft, Acoustic

The Durutti Column – LC

Style: Dream Pop, Art Rock

Vibe: Warm, Hypnotic, Peaceful, Bright, Ethereal, Dreamy, Lush, Intertwined, Soft

Musical Qualities: Loops, Atmospheric, Pulse, Melodic, Sparse

Papa M – Whatever, Mortal

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Slowcore, Americana

Vibe: Apathetic, Bittersweet, Breakup, Contemplative, Depressive, Humorous, Intimate, Lethargic, Loner, Love, Melancholy, Mellow, Moody, Personal, Rootsy

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Sparse, Simple

David Grubbs – The Coxcomb [Review]

Style: Primitivist Theater, Avant-Folk Minimalism, Drone

Vibe: Pastoral, Alienation, Hypnotic, Abstract

Musical Attributes: Sparse, Theatrical, Repetitive, Minimalist, Acoustic

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Voices, Organ, Cello, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Saxophone

Robert Wyatt – Old Rottenhat

Style: Experimental Singer-Songwriter, Art Pop, Canterbury Scene, Jazz-Rock

Vibe: Political (Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Imperialist), Satirical, Conscious, Melancholy, Hypnotic

Musical Attributes/Instrumentation: Sparse, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Layered Vocals, Digital Keyboards, Drum Machines, Percussion, Synthesizers, Piano

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

Gruppe Nuova Consonanza – Improvisationen

Style: Free Improvisation, Experimental, Tape Music

Vibe: Suspenseful, Active Listening

Musical Attributes: Collective Improvisation, Atonal, Sparse, Dynamic

Instrumentation: Trumpet, Upright Bass, Cello, Trombone, Percussion, Piano, Electro-Magnetic Tape

Mike and Lal Waterson – Bright Phoebus

Style: British Folk, Country-Influenced
Vibe: Contemplative, Earthy, Introspective, Melancholy, Rootsy, Rural, Storytelling
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Lyrical, Melodic, Simple, Sparse

Ensemble Pearl – Ensemble Pearl

Style: Drone-Rock, Dark Ambient. Experimental

Vibe: Suspenseful, Eerie, Atmospheric, Slow, Haunting, Dark, Psychedelic, Mysterious,

Musical Attributes:  Dissonant, Repetitive, Sparse, Instrumental, Noisy

Musicians: Stephen O’Malley (Sun O)))), Atsuo (Boris), William Herzog, Michio Kurihara

Palace Brothers – Palace Brothers

Style: Singer/Songwriter
Subgenres: Slowcore, Country, Folk
Vibe: Depressive, Intimate, Lonely, Sad, Introspective, Raw, Loner
Musical Attributes: Lo-fi, Sparse, Raw, Simple

lojii – lofeye

Categorization and comparison are the least of lojii’s worries, instead prioritizing creative expression and finding spiritual truth and power in this dimly lit dystopia. He delivers his prophetic words with a focused, unwavering determination, while the beats are gritty and nocturnal with their open percussion, eerie synths, and negative space. Don’t miss out on this one.

Western Skies Motel – Settlers

Somber ambient-folk with layers of delicate, circular fingerpicking and sparse arrangements of droning harmonium, piano, guitar feedback and the occasional chirping crickets. The soft reverb dampens everything like a light drizzle over the American prairie

Jason Molina – Pyramid Electric Co.

Unlike Molina’s work with Songs: Ohia or Magnolia Electric Co, this sparse, weary record is void of guest musicians or overdubs, leaving his words alone with nothing but a damp bed of reverbed guitar or mournful, sustained piano chords supporting them.