Mille Plateaux’s recent re-release of Thomas Köner’s long-form dark ambient piece “Daikan” reminded me that I should probably add it to my personal “best of ambient” selection that I’ve been “curating” over the years. 🙂
best of ambient
In this post tag (keyword) archive you’ll find my posts about my all-time favorite ambient albums. My personal definition of “ambient” is probably quite a bit narrower than that of others. I like to keep the genre definition limited to the mostly beatless stuff. If it has beats, I rather call it chill-out, or just electronica. Others also include (partially, older) sibling genres such as spacerock, new age, krautrock, shoegaze and such in the definition. Boundaries are hard to draw here, but again, if it used to be new age “back then” then it may as well be left to remain new age today. :-)
Calling it “best of” is rather subjective of course – everyone’s taste is different. I’m also fairly certain that many ambient lovers already know these albums anyway, but if there’s one of the other gem among them that you didn’t know, then this compilation has serverd its purpose!
Brian Eno – Reflection (2017)
I first heard Brian Eno’s Reflection as part of a mix titled The Pastel Theatre, on the Ambient Landscape blog, quite a few years ago. I liked that mix (still do), and it got me curious about the source material. Back then I got the 54 minute long version on CD (I rarely buy CDs nowadays).
The Angling Loser – Author of the Twilight (2013)
Author of the Twilight, the Angling Loser‘s album from 2013, was a happy and coincidental find: for the release of their follow-up album Arena of Apprehension in 2016, …txt recordings sent out a promotional email with some free-download codes for Author of the Twilight, and that’s how I ended up with both albums (and in case you’re wondering, I think “Author…” is better than “Arena…”).
Flying Rhino – Wabi (2001)
In my series about my personal “Best of Ambient” selection, this one’s an outlier: “Wabi” is a compilation (all the others so far are artist albums). But, despite the fact that there’s nine different artists contributing tracks to the compilation, the disc has a surprisingly coherent sound.
Sleep Research Facility – Deep Frieze (2007)
About time to continue the post series about my favorite ambient albums – and about time to enter the realm of Dark Ambient again. I’m beginning with Sleep Research Facility’s “Deep Frieze” from 2007.
Robert Rich/Alio Die – Fissures (1997)
Alio Die (Stefano Musso) and Robert Rich are both insanely prolific musicians with an impressive catalog of releases. I can’t really tell you how I first heard of Alio Die (Italian for “another day”, btw.) and why I ended up picking “Fissures” as one of the first albums that I bought, but it quickly grew on me and definitely deserves a place in my series about essential ambient.
Stevie Be Zet – Archaic Modulation (1993)
Stevie Be Zet’s “Archaic Modulation” is definitely on the lighter side of ambient, veering into the “New Age” genre probably. It features the at-that-time quite typical, relatively “clean” synthesizer sound that I associate with the Trance genre releases from the German Eye-Q label during its heyday (famous for Sven Väth, Ralf Hildenbeutel, and many others).
Hecq – Night Falls (2008)
Orchestral. Atmospheric. Bombastic. Intriguing. Dark. Melancholic. Disturbing. Majestic. Pulsating, glowing red. Full of emotion. Those are some of the words I’d use to describe Hecq’s 2008 album “Night Falls“.
Jet Chamber (1993)
The previous two posts covered what I consider pretty much “classic ambient” – mostly beatless, ethereal and/or droning pieces of music. In the third post of my “essential ambient” series, I’m looking at an album that is certainly different. Is it “modern ambient”, is it ambient at all? It probably raises the question what “ambient” actually is.
Brian Eno – Ambient 4 / On Land (1982)
My “first contact” with Brian Eno was through the 1997 “Space Night 3” compilation. Space Night was a late-night/early (early!) morning TV show on “BR” (Bayrischer Rundfunk, Bavarian Broadcasting) – photos/film sequences from/of Space were combined with Ambient and Chill-Out music. It was my personal “chill out hour” during the weekends after Saturday nights that turned into Sunday mornings while clubbing. The track on that compilation was “Mountain of Needles” (YouTube) from his collab album with Talking Heads’ David Byrne*, “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts“.