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    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010 edited
    Hey folks!

    So my music library is severely lacking in ambient music. Taphead's 800 Memories Per Second as well as SomaFM's Drone Zone and a couple of other artists are doing a good job, but I'd like to know what else there is in this wonderful type of music.

    So I would like to ask my learned colleagues to please recommend me some ambient music of all types! Albums, podcasts, netlabels, youtube and other outlets are welcome!
  1.  (8377.2)
    The oeuvre of Brian Eno is the obvious place to start. I would personally recommend his Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks as a beginning, if you didn't want to start chronologically.
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010 edited
    PIG HEART TRANSPLANT is pretty harsh, but about the only thing i listen to on a regular basis that would even be close to this category.

    and i havent heard them (him?) but people i know that like this stuff like RIVER MAGIC , but i think thats more power electronics
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010
    I think I've heard pieces, but never really had a chance to absorb Brian Eno. Thanks for this! The album (and the documentary it seems to have been the soundtrack of) sound incredible! Will get a hold of the album tonight.
  2.  (8377.5)
    eno is always good.
    Bang on a Can did a fabulous cd of his Music for Airports using 'real' instruments but the original is always fab

    i like his Discreet Music too

    Gavin Bryars did an ambient symphony called The Sinking of the Titanic which is simply the most exquisitely beautiful composition.

    my favourite version of it is now out of print but you can grab a dl of it from the blog The Museum of Imaginary Histories.

    Andrew Chalk has done some beautiful work as Mirror and under his own name but most of it is more 'drone' than 'ambient' but his recent Cable House album is sublime. his website

    i'll come back to this as more ideas pop to mind but as i'm a typically egotistical musician i'll point you towards my recent album The Earth in Play which is, i think, pretty ambient and has been garnering some praise. the cloudcast is here.
    if you like it message me and i'll forward a real copy on to you.
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010
    Funky Porcini? Hell, I like 'em.
    • CommentAuthorRobson
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010 edited
    For Eno, I'd also check out the fourth album in the Ambient series, On Land.

    His collaborations with trumpeter Jon Hassell are pretty wonderful, too, especially Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics.

    Hassell on his own has created some lovely work - a reviewer said that as a musician he's a colourist, which is quite correct. His whole oeuvre is worth a look - listening at this moment to his Amsterdam Blue, from the MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL score, which you can listen to here.
  3.  (8377.8)

    I have lost track of how many times I've ended up listening to that one end to end, in headphones in the dark- which is quite a demanding test for any album. It's so beautifully wrought. One of my top N albums of any genre. I loved it the first time I heard it, but it took a while to really unfold.

    I shan't bother finding overcompressed links for you- it's really best at high bitrates, or uncompressed. I will stop here before you get a long ramble about how much I love it, and a slavish enumeration of the quirks and "best bits". I can't recommend it highly enough- if I was only allowed one pick here, this would be it, by a country mile.

    (Don't be fooled by newer stuff, BTW. After about 2000, the lineup changed out of all recognition, sadly music claiming to be The Orb was a pale shadow of its former glory. I say this even though someone I knew became part of the new lineup for a while..)


    This is by Jimmy Cauty - a founder member of The Orb, and also half of The KLF. It's virtually impossible to find, some of the time- partly due to the name making it hard to search for- and partly because it went out of print very fast and is not often (officially) re-issued. Obviously, I'd encourage you to buy a legit copy, if you can, but don't pay some second hand dealer stupid money. You can sometimes pick up affordable and decent bootlegs on ebay. If you want to hear it, I do own it as a shiny plastic disk, and may be able to help, if all else fails.

    Selected Ambient Works 85-92

    Spiky, alien sounds, disingenuously far cleverer than it seems at times. I wouldn't trust this man alone in a room with my vacuum cleaner, but it's well worth a listen. Yeah, I know, I linked the CD version rather than a digital download- but have also used Aphex Twin stuff to break audio codecs from time to time, so I am nervous about suggesting a compressed version. God, punk is so much simpler!

    Anyway, just a few suggestions, stuff that I would consider "classic" and worth a listen.
  4.  (8377.9)
    A Silver Mt Zion's He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms and Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward both have some truly beautiful ambient moments.

    Stars Of The Lid:

    Someone here recently linked to The Black Dog and I really enjoyed them:

    Also: Labradford, Set Fire To Flames (they have their moments, but their more pretentious ideas are awful), Arab Strap, Boards of Canada have some amazing ambient tracks (Over the Horizon Radar, Diving Station, Zoetrope)... I might post more later.
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010
    The Hummer by Devin townsend is pretty amazing, designed for a pretty epic sound system but soo good.

    only available here as far as i know
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010
    just beén listenin to new stuff by The Orb..Baghd.www.newalbum
  5.  (8377.12)
    Calexico, Mogwai's Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, props to microclimate for mentioning AFX's Selected Ambient Works, The Album Leaf (Across the Pond in particular is a gorgeous track), Sigur Ros' ( ), Tangerine Dream (Phaedra is an excellent starting point, the song Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares is spellbinding), Sinoia Caves...
    • CommentAuthorTimbo
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010
    Boards of Canada are pretty good.

    Maybe not what you are after but the Gotan project are excellent - a mix of tango and mellow beats - sounds weird but works really well.

    You may also like the Three EPs by the late lamented Beta Band.

    Sorry, I have a very loose idea of ambient music ( possibly no idea).
  6.  (8377.14)
    You know "a mix of tango and mellow beats" sounds intriguing, even if it's not strictly ambient. Like something you'd find on the excellent Ninjatune label....
  7.  (8377.15)
    Stars Lost Your Name is very good.
  8.  (8377.16)
    Anything by Windy and Carl is essential if you want some ambient with a bit of beef...

    Also i recommend anything from thisquietarmy

    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010 edited
    Okay, so Robin went and started an ambient thread opening with a link to my record.

    Lately my ambient(ish) kicks have been coming from the following artists.

    MURCOF. A Mexican techno producer who had some kind of genius revelation and started sampling modern composers like Arvo Pärt and such. The results are pretty damn haunting.

    ALVA NOTO. Quoting from Wikipedia: "Alva Noto is a stage name of sound artist Carsten Nicolai who uses art and music as complementary tools to create microscopic views of creative processes." It's a hell of a lot more interesting than it sounds, EVEN if you're like me and find the description interesting.

    AUTECHRE. Okay, more glitch than ambient, but christ, if you lot are recommending Calexico, I'm putting this on here, OK? Right, OK.

    As for the precursors: Eno already got a few mentions as is only right and proper, but I have to emphasize his work with Robert Fripp, as that's pretty much my first contact with ambient guitar music that has teeth. New age it ain't.

    I'd be remiss not to mention some of my local ambient crews. Siniaalto does an old-school tangerine-dream-ish thing with old analog synths, Fender Rhodeses etc. Niko Skorpio goes more for a dark ambient thing, and is awesome.

    ETA: OH! Speaking of locals, that Ian Holloway person up there does good things. Go ye forth.
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010
    @newspaperdrone - had never thought of A Silver Mt. Zion as ambient. He Has Left Us Alone etc. etc. is a quality album, though, and worthy of anyone's time.
    Ditto for Godspeed You Black Emperor, which somehow always gets suggested eventually.

    I agree on Stars Of The Lid and the earlier Brian Eno suggestions - particularly "An Ending (Ascent)" from "Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks" which makes me want to weep every time I hear it.
    • CommentAuthorNevsky
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010 edited
    Of course, Eno is the place to start - Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks and Music For Airports are two definite landmarks for me. I'd be tempted to make a pledge for Music For Films III, too, but that's probably because I've been writing a lot about For All Mankind recently - and it uses music from both that album and Apollo.

    My suggestions for recent albums, stretching the 'ambient' term a bit:

    - It's a little dissonant at times, but there's a gentle beauty to Richard Skelton's latest album Landings .

    - Akira Kosemura's Polaroid Piano is a very fragile, beautiful album as well.

    - I would probably throw in a nod for James Blackshaw as well, whose Glass Bead Game is full of drone-based, atmospheric folk with some touches of Philip Glass in there.

    • CommentAuthorjonah
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010
    I have a very loose idea of ambient music ( possibly no idea).

    I feel the same way :). The scope that ambient can cover is great:

    I also like Substrata by Biosphere and 76:14 by Global Communication. If you are interested in darker more industrial ambient check out Panasonic aka Pan sonic or Lustmord. I'll stop now before I make a big stupid list though.

    I too would like to hear about new ambient music labels. There seemed to be a small, but vital scene in the mid to late 90's is there one anymore? All the labels I followed appear to have died. The back catalog is still interesting though. Mego, em:t and Mille Plateaux are the ones I remember off the top of my head. Warp records seems to have changed focus.

    @joe.distort I like Pig Heart Transplant. Sometimes I don't hear a difference between noise and ambient other than the volume.
    @microclimate I don't consider myself anywhere close to an audiophile, but comparing these youtube videos to even mp3s is depressing. I think it's the loss of volume dynamic that gets me more than the low bit rate.
    @warrenellis The bass in the first track "Under Stars" on the Apollo album blows my mind.