Heh, I’ve been answering the burning “what music sounds like Shpongle?” question for years now. The short of it is that nothing sounds QUITE like that magical duo, but there are plenty of acts that amalgamate psychedelia, booming beats, live instrumentation and crystalline ambience. Here are some musicians that have not been mentioned yet. Most of these aren’t quite as upfront as Entheogenic, Shulman, etc.
*Jairamji - Kindred Spirits (or pretty much any release on Dakini Records, but this one is the best)
*Matt Hillier aka Ishq, Ishvara, Elve ... his stuff as Ishq tends to be deeper, tribal and minimal. Ishvara is brighter and more psychedelic, and Elve’s LP is a pure dose of mycelium-inspired ambience.
*Matt Coldrick - you may recognize the name from Celtic Cross. He’s made a solo and a collaboration with Matt Hillier.
*Vidna Obmana - Dante’s Inferno Trilogy (Vidna is better known as one of the prominent purveyors of headfucking ambient, but the Dante’s Inferno trilogy is a wicked journey through tribal beats, mindbending synth work and palpable textures)
*Steve Roach - this guy needs no introduction, but due to the fact that many record stores stick him in the “New Age” section he gets undeservedly shunned. Steve fuses instruments and electronics like a master. For proper shamanic soundscapes, check out his collaborations with Byron Metcalf, Jorge Reyes, or Robert Rich.
*Robert Rich - yet another prominent ambient musician who has crafted some of the most intricate and psychedelic works I’ve ever heard. His latest album “Electric Ladder” should appeal to mainstream Shpongle fans with its use of bright synths, percussion and melody. For the psychedelic pioneers on the fringe, check out his 7-hour epic piece “Somnium.” I heard it in a “deep trance” and was changed forever.
*Amon Tobin - this may surprise many as an inclusion, but I consider Amon to be one of few producers whose genius and musicianship is on par with our beloved Simon. What Simon did to psytrance and downtempo, Amon did for jungle and big beat. Amon injects his pieces with all manners of instrumentation, does mind-boggling programming and production, and lays down the slickest drum breaks you’ll ever hear. His best work, in my opinion, is the 2.5 hour gamerip version of the Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory soundtrack. A jazzy soundtrack for the apocalypse.
*Vir Unis - this prolific musician makes wonderful psychedelic-tinged ambient, occasionally littered with tribal drumming. Check out the Perimeter albums with James Johnson for his most Shpongle-esque tunes.
Although it sounds dated, Asura’s two albums sound strikingly similar to Banco de Gaia, which I saw was mentioned earlier.
No, my recommendations are not psyambient, but I think many who have felt the touch of Shpongle on their synapses will find that these artists can invoke the same effect. Don’t be afraid to explore the fringe!