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    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010 edited
    So I've been chatting to taphead about this thread in #whitechapel, and since I don't see any mentions of the fabulous label Miasmah, I thought I'd make a post mentioning that (oh, done) and some other things.

    [In actually writing this, it's turned into a bit of a monster; sorry!]

    Miasmah have been around for a while and they release in quite a few ambient styles, but their main focus seems to be 'ambient classical', like what label-founders Deaf Center themselves produce:

    Deaf Center - White Lake


    Deaf Center - Dial (Helios Remix)

    Helios' stuff edges more towards downtempo than sticklers' ambient at times, but it's still lovely; my favourite album of his remains Eingya.

    Helios - Coast Off

    The ambient classical scene is pretty varied, covering nearly anything with live (or pseudo-live) instrumentation; some more examples include:

    Felicia Atkinson with Sylvain Chauveau - Aberdeen (I can't find a video, so that's the 30 second preview - if you want a full preview, you can find it on hypemachine).

    Jacaszek - Lament
    A beautiful track, and the album itself (Treny, Polish for "laments"), is partially inspired by the identically-named series of threnodies from 1580.

    And one of my all-time favourite artists of any genre:

    Library Tapes - Skiss Av Träd, from the consistently-amazing album Höstluft.

    Anyway, to return to Miasmah and the drone ambient earlier discussed, Miasmah used to put out a lot of free stuff at the start of the decade, and another favourite release of mine can be found there: Water fills up the empty spaces by Localdebris.

    This is the shorter track, i cant swim; the longer track is my favourite but, y'know, it's long.

    (Miasmah also released a Paavoharju EP for free, which Warren Ellis linked a very long time ago and I think it's what got me into Paavoharju in the first place. That's here. They're not so much ambient as "spookscape", but it might interest you all the same.)

    Another, um, giant of drone (picture house-sized bumblebees, futilely trying to pull air in through their hopelessly long spiracles) is William Basinski, famous for his Disintegration Loops series, made from damaged magnetic tapes of his own previous work from the 80s.

    William Basinski - Disintegration Loop 1.1

    A different type of drone is made by (current Wire darling(s)) Eleh, which focuses much more on sub-bass. Again, no videos, but I'm sure you can find a preview or two out there if you try hard enough.
    Another one that I can't find a handy preview for is Mesoscaphe by Mathieu Ruhlmann & Celer, which is a fantastic, well, concept album. Have a quote:
    The album 'Mesoscaphe' is a sound work dedicated to the 1969 voyage of the Ben Franklin, the naturally-propelled submarine created to explore the currents of the Gulf Stream, and the nature of the sea. Half of the sound is composed of original pieces of music, meant to symbolize a deepening human element culled from memory, from strings, pianos, and electronics. The other half of the sound is composed of natural field recordings, of the Ben Franklin itself, as well as the surrounding oceans and habitats, with the intention of providing realism through sound, just as if it were an actual document from the voyage, of the surrounding ocean.

    And I want to end this stupidly long post by mentioning Alvin Lucier's I Am Sitting in a Room, which is a long experiment in continually replaying and re-recording his own voice until the resonant frequencies of the room he's sitting in mutate the recording until it's an unrecognisable series of tones. It's awesome.

    (there are also a lot of videos of people versioning it on youtube)
  1.  (8377.2)
    Nobody seems to have heard of Hammock and it's a damn shame. Like Stars of the Lid in orbit with the occasional crossover into wispy shoegaze. "Maybe they will sing for us tomorrow" is probably their most consistently ambient effort but it's all good calm headspace music.

    Another vote for Global Communication - their remix collection "Remotion" is a goodun and if you can find it "Pentamerous Metamorphosis" is a cruelly hard to obtain classic.

    Tetsu Inoue's earlier stuff on Fax like Ambiant Otaku, Organic Cloud and World Receiver are also worth checking out. I think eMusic's got them.

    If you like a bit of spacious tuneless drone music, Thomas Koener's older albums like Teimo and Permafrost are also worth a look.
  2.  (8377.3)
    Three words: Night Is Invisible.

    The entire disc can be purchased from Lujo Records for $1. It's a steal. Members of FRODUS, BRAHMS and God knows who else.
  3.  (8377.4)
    You may also like the Three EPs by the late lamented Beta Band.

    Not an ambient act.
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010
    Holy crap. Some AMAZING stuff here, folks. Thank you so much. I'm feeling more educated on the genre just reading this...!

    So I got a hold of Brian Eno's Apollo album as well as Music For Airports Just wow. Right now I'm listening to An Ending (Ascent) and the wind outside started blowing the trees around, making a sound that really added to it.

    The Sinking Of The Titanic by Gavin Bryars is a stunning piece of work. Just stunning.

    haha man, all this stuff you guys have provided is awesome. Thank you! Keep 'em coming!
      CommentAuthorPaul Sizer
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010 edited
    Do you have an iPod Touch or an iPhone, Robin? Then I would heartily encourage you to download Brian Eno's BLOOM app.

    I am addicted to it, and it is generative music in the purest sense of the word. AND you can make it yourself, or let it play for you. I've had 4 hour sessions on Sunday mornings with BLOOM playing in the background, and it is sublime. A classy, intuitive interface, very beautiful and easy to make soundscapes that can play forever if you like.
  4.  (8377.7)
    "Ambient" is one of those music genres that tends to mean something different to nearly all of my friends. I, myself, am quite fond of Sutekh's album titled "Periods Make Sense". I'd list specific songs, but none of them are titled.

    Here's a sample:

    On a decent sound system there are certain sounds in it that you hear in your spinal cord. I find it to be one of the most bizarre things, and a most interesting feeling.
  5.  (8377.8)
    I really like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Their album "Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Atennae to Heaven" is my favorite. here is one of the tracks I used as background noise for a video I made a while back...
  6.  (8377.9)
  7.  (8377.10)
    Twi The Humble Feather's MUSIC FOR SPACESHIPS AND FORESTS is very good. (Or is that post-rock? These damn genres all blend together on the edges.)

    Greg Fox did a programmatic hour-long work based on the vibrational harmonies of the orbits of the planets called CARMEN OF THE SPHERES that's available for free.

    Do Philip Glass' extreme minimalist works count (Music in Twelve Parts)? In the same vein, John Adams (Shaker Loops) and Steve Reich (Music for 18 Musicians).
    • CommentAuthoradrian r
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2010 edited
    Fripp & Eno's work is justly celebrated, and it's well worth checking out Fripp's own ambient explorations. From the twin tape recorder experiments of the seventies -- Frippertronics, as seen here: Fripp moved to a digital approach he calls soundscaping. The sounds are very different, but what unites them is an extraordinary emotional range that owes nothing to blues-based musics. Here's a gorgeous example from a trilogy of soundscape albums in the 90s (he's done others since): -- too opinionated to be ambient
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2010
    I have to second taphead on Alva Noto (and actually on most stuff his Raster-Noton label has put out). Make sure you check his collaborations with Sakamoto too. Also from Raster, Kangding Ray is worth a check -not really ambient but what the hell, half of this thread is not and it does share things, and you might like Gas / Wolfgang Voigt (OK, Voigt has been doing stuff for a long time, but he does have a record or two out in r-n). Biosphere is also recommended, even if for me it does get boring ocassionaly.

    Other option is to just jump from netlabel to netlabel checking random records; ambient seems to be one of the most popular genres in the netlabel scene so you will have lots of stuff to check, although of course you'll have to separate grain from hay -does this sentence even make sense in English?

    And even though this is obviously not ambient, I feel the need to share it (I mean, if GYBE is OK this should be and you might like it anyway). Here's Jón Leifs, Icelandic extraordinaire:

    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2010

    I'd have to suggest:
    Boards Of Canada (which are more Electronica/ IDM, but who cares) – Geogaddi is superb.
    The Sight Below (who I think must be ambient) – Glider is particularly good.
    Star Lost Your Name, – just splendid, splendid splendid. Probably electronica though really.
    Autechre – I think I prefer Amber. Again, more IDM/ Electronica than strictly ambient.
    Future Sound of London – particularly ISDN, or Lifeforms. Absolutely ambient.
    Susuma Yakota – Sakura is sublime. Again, ambient.
  8.  (8377.14)
    Where the hell is nigredo? Dude should've jumped on this thread immediately and took us all to fucking school.

    This is my favourite Whitechapel thread.

    Oh, how could I forget Black To Comm? This song's dissonant at first, but when it kicks in it's unbelievably pretty.

    I reviewed an album by a guy called Harold Nono absolutely ages ago. He's got a myspace somewhere...

    Kinski released an ambient album called Don't Climb On And Take The Holy Water but it's been so long since I listened to that I can't remember if it was at all decent.
    • CommentAuthorTimbo
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2010
    @warren ellis - re Beta Band - sorry I did try to apologise for lack of ambient classification skills.

    I tend to think of things that musically relax the mind as ambient - foolish I know.

    I can suggest Susumu Yokota's work - I reckon it qualifies.

    @microclimate Gotan Project are good give it a whirl - or a tango!.
  9.  (8377.16)
    @ Taphead
    thank you for the kudos.

    you may also like to check out a fella called David Toop. He did an astonishing album called Museum of Fruit that was inspired by the actual Museum of Fruit in Japan.

    I'm pretty sure it's out of print but it's at the blog i pointed you to earlier.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2010
    Yum! I can't wait to mine this thread.

    Stars of the Lid
    Brian McBride
    Chris Herbert
    Tim Hecker
    Greg Davis
    Chihei Hatakeyama

  10.  (8377.18)
    David Toop's writing should be investigated by everyone here.

    The Sinking Of The Titanic by Gavin Bryars is a stunning piece of work. Just stunning.

    See if you can find the version by Philip Jeck. Don't play it late at night.

    (Also, Philip Jeck's SAND.)

    Apps: I prefer Trope to Bloom, funnily enough.
  11.  (8377.19)
    Absolutely. Toop is the godfather of writing on experimental music. His book Haunted Weather is the d's b's.

    Much as I like Jeck - ' 7 ' is my personal recommendation - i wasn't blown away by his version of Titanic. The 1990 Les Disque Du Crepuscle release with Bryars has Bryars on double bass and Alexander Balanescu on viola is just perfectly paced and beautifully played.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2010
    Christ, you guys weren't kidding about David Toop. Found a copy of Museum Of Fruit on the blog that Ian linked to and wow. I'm really digging his arrangements.

    Paul Sizer: Sadly I don't have an iPhone or an iPod touch. I decided to get myself a 150GB iPod instead so I could fill the bastard up with as much music and videos as possible.

    Warren: Haven't found any Phillip Jeck yet, but his version of a song that already has a way of making me feel empty on a bad day is even more out there, I need to find it.

    Sedge: Loving Aberdeen!