1. “Will Davenport’s Tune” – Joseph Decosimo. Boy, this song has a story (check the notes at the bottom of the linked YouTube video). Beyond the amazing background, this banjo piece is accompanied by mesmerizing pump organ (one of my favorite instruments) and evocative hand percussion. This feels about as close to getting in touch with the spirit of folk music as you can get. Highly recommended.
2. “Aesop Mountain” – Andy Thorn. I love banjo-led instrumental Americana. There’s an emotional expansiveness and warm-hearted approach to the melodies that sell me on this great jam.
3. “Kielo” – Olli Hirvonen. Lovely folk/Americana guitarwork here, complete with solid drumming and some rad melodic tapping.
4. “Clouds over Sintra” – Deniz Cuylan. Classical guitar composition with a mysterious bent. Very peaceful and engaging.
5. “Mørkevandring” – Kosmos Trio. Piano-led work that sits in the spaces between post-rock and jazz, for fans of GoGo Penguin. Smooth, lively, thoughtful, creative.
6. “Tahmila Huzam” – Karim Nagi & Ensemble. Huzam is a “Arab maqam musical scale that starts and ends on a microtone,” and Karim Nagi’s work here is a celebration of Arab culture via its distinctive musical tradition. The piece is composed of fish skin riqq Arab tambourine, oud lute, nay flute, and Arabic-tuned keman violin; it sounds joyous, mysterious, and intriguing.
7. “Bridges of Waves” – Earth Room. Ezra Feinberg is back with more sounds (and more players!) that push the boundaries of new age, drone, midcentury composition, and now jazz. This 10 minute track has (in turn) moments of solemnity, chaos, and subtle groove amid a bed of sounds that feel like a sunrise. It’s an experience.
8. “Coral” – Dawn Richard & Spencer Zahn. A lush, expansive collaboration that falls between ambient, composed music, and new age (flutes! flutes! flutes!).
9. “After Stardust” – Sophia Subbayya Vastek. Speedy yet light piano work with great moodiness. For fans of Ben Cosgrove’s excellent work.
10. “Ceremony” – Michael Varverakis. An elegant, exploratory, classic solo jazz electric guitar piece that just feels really good.