Strings

Osamu Kitajima – Osamu

Style: Fusion, Neoclassical New Age, Jazz-Rock, Progressive Rock, Mystical Folk

Vibes: Ethereal, Groovy, Exploratory, Dreamy, Cosmic, Meditative, Playful, Psychedelic, Smooth, Soothing, Spiritual

Instrumentation: Koto, Biwa, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Shakuhachi, Nohkan, Strings, Rhodes, Organ, Clavinet, Synthesizers, Chamberlin, Drums, Electric & Acoustic Bass

Julie Byrne – The Greater Wings

with Jake Falby, Alex Somers, Eric Littmann, Marilu Donovan, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma & Nadia Hulett

Style: Chamber-Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Ambient Pop, New Age

Vibes: Heartfelt, Reflective, Loving, Bittersweet, Mournful, Healing, Introspective, Compassionate, Observational, Poetic, Contemplative, Ethereal, Summer

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Soft, Lush, Orchestral

Instrumentation: Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Strings, Piano, Synthesizers, Harp, Modular Synthesizer

Joanna Newsom – Divers

“But stand brave, life-liver, bleeding out your days in the river of time.
Stand brave: time moves both ways, in the nullifying, defeating, negating, repeating joy of life.
The moment of your greatest joy sustains: not axe nor hammer, tumor, tremor, can take it away, and it remains.
And it pains me to say, I was wrong. Love is not a symptom of time. Time is just a symptom of love”

Ravi Shankar – Chants of India

Produced by George Harrison

Style: Vedic Chants, Hindustani Classical Music

Vibe: Devotional, Meditative, Nocturnal, Spiritual, Peaceful, Ritualistic, Reflective, Soothing, Ecstatic, Hypnotic, Intricate, Psychedelic

Instrumentation: Group Vocals, Sitar, Autoharp, Strings (Viola, Violin, Cello), Flute, Tabla, Veena, Mridangam, Morsing, Tamboura, Harp, Santoor, Acoustic Guitar, Glockenspiel, Vibraphone

Bonnie Prince Billy – Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Folk, Americana

Moods: Contemplative, Tender, Introspective, Warm, Soothing, Lethargic, Philosophical, Existential

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Violins, Viola, Mandolin, Vocal Harmonies, Keyboards, Saxophone

Ry Cooder – Ry Cooder

Style: Americana, Roots Rock

Moods: Rural, Playful, Rootsy, Warm, Sunny, Energetic

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Drums, Electric Bass, Violin, Mandolin, Strings, Piano, Slide Guitar

Planet TR – Let the Cosmos Ring

Style: Free Folk, Mystical Folk

Moods: Cosmic, Meandering, Exploratory, Ritualistic, Spiritual, Spacey, Communal, Haunting, Hypnotic, Meditative, Murky, Mystical, Raw, Eerie

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lo-Fi, Improvisation, Repetitive, Percussive, Home Recording, Slow, Dissonant, Spoken Word

Jimmy Campbell – Half Baked

Style: Baroque Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Folk Rock

Moods: Lonely, Bittersweet, Introspective, Retro, Eclectic, Colorful, Loner

Musical Qualities: Lush, Melodic, Lyrical, Orchestral

Joan Armatrading – Show Some Emotion

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Jazz-Folk, Soul, Folk-Pop

Moods: Heartfelt, Sunny, Romantic, Uplifting, Warm, Spring, Groovy, Sensual, Passionate

Musical Qualities: Lush, Melodic, Polished

Mickey Newbury – Heaven Help the Child

Style: SInger-Songwriter, Progressive Country, Chamber Folk

Moods: Reflective, Longing, Heartbreak, Autumnal, Contemplative, Melancholy, Bittersweet, Sentimental, Heartfelt, Lonely, Rainy

Musical Qualities: Lush, Suite, Lyrical, Orchestral, Melodic

Califone – Quicksand/Cradlesnakes

Style: Weird Americana, Country-Psych

Moods: Back-porch, Rustic, Cryptic, Surreal, Lethargic, Pastoral, Impressionistic, Autumnal, Eclectic, Hypnotic, Meandering, Rootsy, Twangy, Sunny

Musical Qualities: Electro-acoustic, Repetitive, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Loops, Percussive, Improvisation

Osamu Kitajima – Masterless Samurai

Styles: Jazz-Funk, Japanese Folk, Prog

Moods: Triumphant, Spring, Smooth, Mysterious, Epic, Adventure

Musical Qualities: Lush, Groovy, Progressive, Uncommon Time Signatures, Orchestral, Improvisation, Instrumental, Technical

Instrumentation: Shakuhachi, Koto, Shamisen, Synthesizers, Biwa, Acoustic Guitar, Strings, Electric Bass, Drums, Percussion, Rhodes, Saxophone, Piano, Ehru, Gong, Organ

Richard & Linda Thompson – First Light

Style: Folk-Pop, British Folk, Singer-Songwriter

Moods: Romantic, Sunny, Uplifting, Passionate, Joyful, Flowing, Warm

Musical Qualities: Vocal Harmonies, Lush, Groovy, Polished, Melodic, Chamber Arrangements

Björk – Fossora

Styles: Progressive Pop, Post-Industrial Chamber Music, IDM, Gabber, Deconstructed Club

Moods: Earthy, Knotty, Sensual, Futuristic, Surreal, Romantic, Mystical, Passionate, Messy, Hallucinogenic, Intense, Forest, Eccentric, Epic, Tribal

Musical Qualities: Polyphonic, Dense, Dynamic, Complex, Glitchy, Progressive, Uncommon Time Signatures, Electro-Acoustic

Instrumentation: Digital Programming, Woodwinds (Bass Clarinet, Oboe, Clarinet), Strings, Choral Vocals

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

Evangelista – Hello, Voyager

LP, Constellation (2008) Style: Experimental Songwriter, Punk Blues, Chamber Punk, Noise Rock, Vibe: Visceral, Brooding, Angsty, Cathartic, Ominous, Sleazy, Dark, Dystopian, Apocalyptic, Intense, Deconstructed, Disturbing, Rebellious, Raw Musical Qualities: Noisy, Dynamic, Heavy, Dissonant, Spoken Word, Distorted Vocals

Kahil El’Zabar’s America the Beautiful

Vibe: Anthemic, Communal, Uplifting, Colorful, Celebratory, Spiritual, Mournful, Healing, Bittersweet

Musical Qualities: Improvisation, Thematic, Percussive, Acoustic, Lush, Instrumental

Instrumentation: Percussion, Drums, Trumpet, Keyboard, Piano, Cello, Upright Bass, Violin, Baritone Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Flute, String Quartet

Style: Spiritual Jazz

The Art Ensemble of Chicago – We Are On the Edge

Style: Modern Creative, Chamber Jazz, Experimental Big Band, Great Black Music, Avant-Garde Classical

Vibe: Communal, Triumphant, Suspenseful, History, Eclectic, Colorful, Intricate, Ritualistic, Patient, Open, Complex, Theatric

Musical Qualities: Poly-Free Improvisation, Dynamic, Collective, Progressive Structures, Technical, Orchestral, Percussive, Reductionism, Suite, Polyphonic

Instrumentation: Trumpets, Upright Bass, Spoken Word, Operatic Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Saxophone, Cello, Violin, Viola

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

Portishead – Roseland NYC Live

Style: Trip-Hop

Vibe: Noir, Brooding, Sensual, Passionate, Melancholy, Angsty, Sombre, Mysterious, Cinematic, Anxious, Sad, Dark

Musical Qualities: Orchestral, Live, Lush, Dense, Rhythmic, Sampling

Leonard Cohen – New Skin for the Old Ceremony

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Folk

Vibe: Poetic, Bittersweet, Conversational, Sexual, Dry Humor, Brooding, Melancholy, Longing, Tender, Introspective, Breakup

Musical Qualities: Lush, Lyrical, Groovy, Dynamic

Instrumentation: Electric Bass, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Backup Vocalists, Trombone, Jaw Harp, Woodwinds, Strings, Banjo, Mandolin, Trumpet, Drums, Percussion, Keyboards

Beth Orton – Sugar Season

Session musicians include Brian Blade, Eyvind Kang, Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, Marc Ribot, Rob Burger, etc.

Style: Chamber Folk, British Folk-Rock, Singer-Songwriter, Folk-Pop

Vibe: Autumnal, Bittersweet, Melancholy, Moody, Rootsy, Warm, Mellow

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Lush, Melodic, Soft

Sam Prekop – Sam Prekop

Featuring Jim O’Rourke, Josh Abrams, Rob Mazurek, Chad Taylor, John McEntire, Julie Pomerleau, & Archer Prewitt

Style: Chamber Pop, Jazz Pop, Lounge Music

Influences: Bossa Nova, Math Rock, Post-Rock

Vibe: Gentle, Breezy, Intricate, Summer, Intertwined, Mellow, Bright, Smooth

Musical Qualities: Lush, Soft, Polished, Melodic

Curtis Mayfield – Sweet Exorcist

Style: Chicago Soul, Funk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Conscious, Groovy, Warm, Triumphant, Romantic

Musical Qualities: Lush, Rhythmic, Melodic

Eiko Ishibashi – Imitation of Life

Style: Chamber Pop, Prog-Pop, Jazz Pop, Singer-Songwriter

Vibe: Lush, Warm, Sunny, Sci-Fi, Playful, Philosophical, Surreal, Energetic, Imaginative

Musical Qualities: Progressive, Dense, Catchy, Complex, Melodic, Dense, Technical, Rhythmic

Instrumentation: Piano, Vibraphone, Drums, Flute, Rhodes, Electric & Acoustic Bass, Saxophone, Clarinet, Violin, Cello , Synthesizers, Steel Drum, French Horn

Hiss Golden Messenger – Poor Moon

Style: Americana, Country Soul, Singer/Songwriter, Folk Rock

Vibe: Warm, Introspective, Existential, Rustic, Mystical, Reflective, Uplifting, Christian

Musical Qualities: Lush, Melodic, Lyrical

Spellling – The Turning Wheel

Style: Progressive Pop, Baroque Pop

Vibe: Epic, Surreal, Haunting, Ethereal, Passionate, Dramatic, Dreamy, Romantic (LP1), Triumphant, Fantasy, Uplifting (LP1), Grandiose, Theatric, Brooding (LP2), Spacey (LP2)

Musical Qualities: Dense, Orchestral, Progressive, Polyphonic, Polished, Melodic, Rhythmic

Circuit Des Yeux – -io

Style: Neoclassical Darkwave, Symphonic Rock, Singer-Songwriter

Moods/Vibe: Cathartic, Brooding, Sombre, Mystical, Epic, Ominous, Motorik, Spiritual, Cinematic, Powerful, Mourning, Funereal

Musical Qualities: Orchestral, Driving, Lush, Dense

Archie Shepp – Attica Blues

Style: Soul-Jazz, Avant-Garde Big Band, Vocal Jazz

Vibe: Conscious, Communal, Political, Passionate, Poetic, Groovy, Lush

Musical Qualities: Suite, Orchestral, Improvisation, Rhythmic, Spoken Word

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

Ryley Walker – Course in Fable

Style: Progressive Songwriter, Jazz-Rock, Prog-Folk, Post-Rock

Vibe: Spring, Introspective, Warm, Intertwoven, Bright, Colorful, Carefree, Reflective, Personal

Musical Qualities: Lush, Progressive, Odd Time Signatures, Intricate, Dynamic, Polished, Improvisation, Lyrical, Riffs, Orchestral Arrangements

Kadhja Bonet – Childqueen

Style: Psychedelic Soul, Baroque Pop

Vibe: Elegant, Ethereal, Smooth, Romantic, Warm, Retro, Dramatic, Cosmic

Musical Qualities: Groovy, Lush, Orchestral, Melodic, Polished

Tom Rapp – Sunforest

Style: Folk-Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Folk, Progressive Folk

Vibe: Uplifting, Contemplative, Breezy, Bright, Sunny, Warm, Soft

Musical Attributes: Lush, Polished, Acoustic, Lyrical, Session Players

Land of Kush – Sand Enigma

Style: Avant-Garde Big Band, Arabic/Egyptian Folk, Psychedelic Jazz

Vibe: Intense, Sombre, Cathartic, Psychedelic, Complex, Ritualistic, Communal

Musical Qualities: Dense, Progressive, Dissonant, Acoustic, Percussive

Instrumentation: Santur, Upright Bass, Piano, Saxophones, Vocals, Percussion, Drums, Clarinet, Flute, Strings (Violin, Viola, Cello), Keyboards, Synthesizer, lap Steel Guitar, Electronics, Harp

Hiss Golden Messenger – Haw

Style: Country-Soul, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Passionate, Rootsy, Rural, Spiritual, Triumphant, Uplifting, Warm, Contemplative, Introspective

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

Julia Holter – Have You in My Wilderness

Style: Chamber Pop, Art Pop
Vibe: Lush, Ethereal, Imaginative, Sensual, Storytelling, Surreal, Intricate, Airy, Dreamy
Instrumentation: Vocals, Keyboards (Piano, Harpsichord, etc), Upright Bass, Strings, Drums, Saxophone

Stereolab – Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night

Style: Progressive Pop, Space Age Pop

Influences: Kosmische Musik, Bossa Nova, French Pop, Lounge

Vibe: Spacey, Lush, Retro-Futuristic, Catchy, Groovy, Motorik, Nocturnal, Uplifting

Musical Attributes: Melodic, Headphone Album, Odd Time Signatures, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Progressive, Lyrical

Lyrics: Philosophical, Political, Communist, Bi-Lingual (English and French)

Instrumentation: Synthesizers, Vibraphone, Drums, Electric Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Brass, Strings, Keys (Organ, Clavinet, Harpsichord, Wurlitzer)

Human Behavior – Kedumim

Religious allegory, profane thoughts, and lustful confessions intertwine on Human Behavior’s third LP; Kedimum is a brooding suite of psychological chamber folk that introspects into a conflicted mind, struggling to reconcile matters of indoctrinated faith, natural human desires, and internalized guilt. Primary songwriter Andres Parada is joined by a sympathetic cast of vocalists to create a vivid sonic drama complete with choral vocals and spoken word passages to complement his haunting narrations. The intricate and shadowy arrangements blend distorted electronic beats with a wide array of acoustic instrumentation, including banjo, clarinet, accordian, acoustic guitar, violin, ehru, and cello.

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

Univers Zéro – Univers Zero

Style: Chamber Rock, Avant-Prog, Rock In Oppositon

Vibe: Anxious, Angular, Mysterious, Ominous, Dark, Dystopian

Musical Attributes: Instrumental, Complex, Dissonant

Instrumentation: Bassoon , Violin, Viola, Cello, Harmonium, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, Drums

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

Yo La Tengo – Fade [Deluxe Edition]

Released in 2013 on Matador Records Format: LP + 7″ The bonus 7″ features covers of Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw the Light” and Times New Viking’s “Move to California”

Sufjan Stevens – Illinois

Released in 2005 on Asthmatic Kitty Records Format: LPx2 Listen: Purchase: https://asthmatickitty.com/merch/illinois/  

Human Behavior – Bethpage

The apocalyptic chamber-folk of Bethpage soundtracks multiple chapters of cryptic storytelling, mixing one’s darkest thoughts with religious imagery and allegory through banjo sing-alongs and haunting spoken word passages. The heavy climaxes are whirlwinds of bombastic drums, driving bass, fiddle, clarinet, and banjo that often recall the communal chamber-punk of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. While many tracks feel seeped in shadow and darkness, a heavenly light occasionally floods in through some truly serene and beautiful passages.

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.?

Love – Forever Changes

Originally released in 1967 on Elektra 2012 Rhino Pressing, cut from original analogue masters Format: LP

Leonard Cohen – Songs of Leonard Cohen

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber-Folk

Moods: Poetic, Sombre, Introspective, Reflective, Mythic, Bittersweet, Autumnal, Existential, Longing, Lonely, Love

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Mandolin, Violin, Flute, Jaw Harp, Background Vocals

Godspeed You Black Emperor! – Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP

“Side A is cut at 45rpm and features “Moya”, a broiling cascade of upward scales that repeatedly explodes beyond its own threshold. “BBF3” on Side B clocks in at 18 minutes, and was the band’s most lyrical, multi-movement music to date — more elaborated melodic figures wind around an angry spoken-word field recording (infamously culminating in the recital of the speaker’s poem — verses lifted straight from Iron Maiden)”

David Axelrod – Songs of Innocence

Groovy soul instrumentals decorated with sweeping orchestral arrangements, jazz soloing, and psychedelic guitars, all inspired by William Blake’s writings.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Murder Ballads

Style: Goth Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Dark Cabaret

Moods: Winter, Sombre, Dark, Theatrical, Storytelling, Ominous, Brooding, Violent, Vulgar

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Lush, Polished

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Yanqui U.X.O.

Godspeed’s last album before their 10 year hiatus was produced by the legendary Steve Albini, resulting in what might be their heaviest and most direct album to date. Coming off the heels of September 11th, Yanqui U.X.O. seems to be a reaction against the ramped up military-industrial complex and its promotion of fear and xenophobia, as well as protesting Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The back cover even goes as far as connecting each major record label to some type of weapons manufacturer. 

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

Style: Soul, Singer/Songwriter

Moods: Conscious, Spiritual, Passionate, Uplifting, Bittersweet, Christian, Peaceful, Political, Sentimental, Warm

Musical Qualities: Lush, Groovy, Lyrical, Suite, Melodic

Ryley Walker – Primrose Green

Jazzy Folk-Rock with dynamic songwriting, passionate vocals, and acoustic shredding accompanied by fluid drums, watery vibraphones, distorted keys and groovy upright bass. FFO Astral Weeks, Joni Mitchell, John Martyn, and Tim Buckley

Björk – Vulnicura

Style: Art Pop, Trip-Hop, Experimental Electronic

Vibe: Breakup, Passionate, Heartfelt, Personal, Intense, Futuristic

Musical Qualities: Orchestral, Glitchy, Lush, Digital Beats

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