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Afro Transcendentalist Laraaji prepares his second album of 2020, the meditative Moon Piano, recorded inside a Brooklyn church. The record is an example of what the artist refers to as "pulling music from the sky".
Joshua van Tassel plays a modern version of one of the earliest electronic instruments: the Ondes Martenot. He discusses the calm, beautiful album he's written for it, Dance Music Volume II: More Songs for Slow Motion.
At 83, it's clear Jon Hassell's music is forever contemporary. All he's had to do is leave open space for the next exploration, as he does on Seeing Through Sound.
Neu!'s Michael Rother reflects on the creative environment of lockdown, the struggles of playing experimental krautrock, and the collective beauty of live performance.
Less Bells' Mourning Jewelry is not light music in the sense of weight, but it might be light in the sense of brightness or contrast. It's an engaging little series of tropes about loss and processes of grieving.
The ability to help the listener achieve a certain elevation is something Laraaji can do, at least to some degree, no matter the instrument.
Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.
Johnathon Ford has overseen Unwed Sailor for more than 20 years. The veteran musician shows no sign of letting up with the latest opus, Look Alive.
The ever-prolific Will Wiesenfeld of Baths and Geotic fame has built a career over his abstract electropop oddities, and he returns with another rarities comp that plays more like a confessional new full-length.
Electronic composer GS Sultan's Music for a Living Water is experimental but also warm and highly accessible.
Because it occasionally breaks new ground, Daniel Avery's Love + Light avoids being an afterthought from start to finish. The best moments here are generally the hardest-hitting ones.
Down Into Light feels like the album Lee Jones was always born to make. He's always had a lightness of touch, but here, his touch is more delicate than ever.
Drew Daniel: "Trump has weaponized a kind of insincere, smarmy trolling manner. I didn't want music that similarly relied upon that stance. I wanted something that was, in a way, the opposite. Something that felt affirmative and warm."
Matmos' Drew Daniels rebrands his solo work to meet the trying times, offering up an ambient techno classic for the ages under his Soft Pink Truth moniker.
Electronic music of the sort that Photay creates doesn't typically have much to say lyrically, but on Waking Hours, Photay has a message, and he gives the human voice much more space than ever before.
Ambient electronic ensemble TENGGER take cues from nature and world travel to inform their latest album, Nomad.
Experimental guitarist, Noveller's Arrow suggests discoveries, open spaces, the sense of a calm certainty re-occurring over repeated listens.
Mancunian guitarist/texturalist Vini Reilly parlayed the momentum from his famous Morrissey collaboration into an essential, definitive statement for the Durutti Column.
Explosions in the Sky and Eluvium side project, Inventions are best when they are navigating the distinction between modes in real-time on Continuous Portrait.
Apparat's (aka Sascha Ring) re-imagined score from Mario Martone's 2018 Capri-Revolution works as a fine accompaniment to a meditational flight of fancy.
Comet Meta is a brilliant record full of compositions and moments worthy of their own accord, but what's really enticing is that it's not only by David Grubbs but of him. It's perhaps the most emotive, dream-like, and accomplished piece of Grubbsian experimental post-rock.
Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's The Mosaic of Transformation is a slightly uneven listen. It generally transcends the tropes of its genre, but occasionally substitutes substance for style.
Serbian composer Kosta Jevtić evokes the clement Mediterranean in solo piano form on the brilliant new album, Reflections on a Journey.
Luke Schneider's Altar of Harmony often sounds eerily close to the Robert Fripp guitar of No Pussyfooting, only he trades in the old six-string for pedal steel.
Third Album reflects experimental electronic artist Markus Floats' belief that music isn't just something one does. It's a life one leads, so each release is an excerpted component of an ongoing and all-encompassing journey.
Sylvain Chauveau's 'Life Without Machines' Is an Indictment of How External Forces Falsely Shape Humanity
Whereas so many contemporary albums are created to harness flash and consumption, Life Without Machines allays bedazzlement. Sylvain Chauveau advocates for unplugging and disconnecting, and only then will we truly live.
Cenizas is the sound of Nicolás Jaar skirting around the edges of his own sound—skeletal, stripped-back, examining the little things that made his music so great to begin with.
On DJ Python's Mas Amable, everything moves along in a liquid haze. Each song slowly mutates into the next, and each sound seems to become something unlike itself.
The new LP from the Faith No More/Gigante Sound side project, Talking Book, is an interesting collection of ambient soundscapes, but could use more narrative heft.
New York-based percussionist/composer, Matt Evans brilliantly infuses his spacey sonic landscapes with the sounds of everyday life on New Topographics.
Sufjan Stevens' and Lowell Brams' Aporia is ambient music meant to calm and provide a background to the quotidian aspects of one's day.
Lost Bayou Ramblers' Jonny Campos turns up as Weeks Island with Brian Eno/Cluster-inspired music straight from the bayou. Hear Droste in full ahead of its release on Friday.
Canadian composer Nick Storring's latest album, My Magic Dreams Have Lost Their Spell, is mysterious, multilayered, and unforgettable.