Before Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room spun the mossy majesty of the Cascadian wilderness into atmospheric metal epics, the Norwegian high schoolers in Ulver were composing spine-tingling music about the compulsion to slink off into the forest and abandon your senses. 1995′s Bergtatt is ground zero for nature-themed folk metal, and though it’s not always “heavy,” it’s so wild and untamed that it might just tempt you to get lost in the woods yourself.
Dām-Funk emerged in the 2000s with an ambitious vision for the electro-funk of his ‘80s youth: music that evoked the vastness of the sky and the universe even as its underlying groove got into your bones. Above the Fray is the 50-year-old Angeleno’s most romantic album yet. Its synth leads seem to spiral into the sky, evoking a universe far above the turmoil of this one, where dragons fly and the funk is endless.
Com Postables 3: PPS Lunches is local beatmaker Spinitch’s tribute to the questionable meals he horked down as a student in Portland’s public school system. Appropriately, these are some of the darkest and dankest beats he’s dished up yet, with drums that clank and clatter like vintage trip-hop. All proceeds go to the local, POC-run Black Futures Farm; may their produce be made into a better meal than the ones eulogized here.
London musician Flora Yin-Wong’s travels around the world provided the raw material for last year’s Holy Palm, an hour-plus soft-collage epic that incorporates field recordings from Bali to Buenos Aires. The main attraction is the two 15-minute “Loci” tracks at the end, which sound like real-time glimpses of Yin-Wong’s memories and make a strong case for “Voice Memos” as the best thing Apple’s contributed to the world.