ILX AMBIENT ALBUMS POLL: the voting thread. Voting ends on Sunday, June 23rd.

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Okay folks, you've nominated 728 different albums plus the Buddha Machine! Now it's time to vote for your favourite ambient pieces of all time. Here's the rules:

* The list of albums you can vote from can be found in Google Docs and Pastebin. No write-in votes.

* Send your ballots to tuomast DOT alho AT gmail DOT com. After you've sent it, I'll try to reply within a day. If you don't get a reply, post to this thread and I'll check if I've received your message.

* You can vote for up to 50 albums.

* You can send either a weighted or an unweighted ballot. For weighted ballots, you #1 album gets 100 points, your #2 gets 98 points, and so on, up until #50, which gets 2 points. For unweighted ballots, each album gets 51 points.

* Your ballot can have less than 50 albums, but the rules above still apply, so you don't any extra points to distribute within a shorter ballot.

* Voting ends on Sunday, June 23rd. I won't start calculating the ballot until Monday morning (Finnish time), so you folks from USA can vote until midnight Sunday of your local time.

That's it, now get to listening and voting!

Tuomas, Sunday, 2 June 2019 14:21 (three months ago) link

is this where I tell everyone how great the Aeolian String Ensemble record is?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgUqeWhbV4

Ambient Police (sleeve), Sunday, 2 June 2019 15:00 (three months ago) link

Bump!

Tuomas, Monday, 3 June 2019 07:09 (three months ago) link

Listening to the alva noto xerrox 1, it is glitchy hissy static but also very good.

All the Xerroxes are really good. My fave is 3. I dunno that I'd put it in the noise jukebox tho.

Sassy Boutonnière (ledriver), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 03:54 (three months ago) link

Bumping again.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 13:51 (three months ago) link

I waded through it today, and it's such a daunting nominations list. So much to discover still. Think I will indeed vote weightless, as NV pointed out, if there's one fucking poll that doesn't warrant a weighted ballot it's this ambient one. Wish I had a billion years to sort through and get acquainted with and love the albums I don't already know.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 19:57 (three months ago) link

^^my thoughts exactly

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 20:14 (three months ago) link

I searched 'Kyle Bobby Dunn' on ilx today and saw your glowing rec in the noms thread! :) It is so so beautiful.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 20:27 (three months ago) link

This Aeolian String Ensemble record is great indeed!

If there's one record I feel needs to be heard it is this one - it's Thorn Hoedh, in 1993, doing with slow, melancholic orchestral music (I hear Wagners Parzival overture, Bruckner and I'm pretty sure Mahler) what The Caretaker twenty years later would repeat with old ragtime 78s.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGHkxqey6RE

Siegbran, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 20:29 (three months ago) link

^^ see, these are the recommendations I desire from this thread. Thanks!

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 20:42 (three months ago) link

There is no way I can digest all the albums I didn't already know, and I easily had 50 that I definitely did know and love. (And for what it's worth, I'm in the camp that thinks it's okay to have broader definition of ambient.)

Anyway, sorry to all the other albums. That said I'm excited to see what makes it into the final results and will be chasing down everything that's new to me.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 22:30 (three months ago) link

Dang, I missed the nomination period for this, but checking the list, it seems like nearly every significant and minor album I'd vote for is on the list! Nicely done, everyone. Going to be hard to put together 50, but definitely will have no problem with 25-30.

octobeard, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 23:39 (three months ago) link

stanning for my all-time favorite:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S3owK3pN64

(the first 22 minutes are a bit drummy but also necessary)

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Wednesday, 5 June 2019 01:28 (three months ago) link

I have that Woob album and the 1995 one too, but I've never really warmed up to them. To me they feel like a collection of popular early 90s ambient tropes with nothing unique or original about them.

Tuomas, Wednesday, 5 June 2019 09:24 (three months ago) link

1194 might get my #1 vote

but everybody calls me, (lukas), Wednesday, 5 June 2019 09:29 (three months ago) link

however the main point i wanna make is that everybody who ignores this album is fucking up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FggRhbVrBVw

but everybody calls me, (lukas), Wednesday, 5 June 2019 09:29 (three months ago) link

doh i forgot to nom any susanne brokesch durrrrrr

massaman gai (front tea for two), Wednesday, 5 June 2019 09:37 (three months ago) link

I nominated Bohren and Der Club of Gore - Black Earth and it's not in the Pastebin

Detective Picacho (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 5 June 2019 18:32 (three months ago) link

Oh, I must've missed that. I'm sorry. I edited the Google sheet to include it, and here's a new Pastebin link with it:

https://pastebin.com/N3CgEGMV

I'll ask the mods to change the Pastebin link in the opening post.

Tuomas, Thursday, 6 June 2019 06:53 (three months ago) link

Btw, I've only received one ballot so far, hope there'll be many more. :)

Tuomas, Thursday, 6 June 2019 06:59 (three months ago) link

Still listening!

Siegbran, Thursday, 6 June 2019 08:50 (three months ago) link

yeah I have two weeks! I haven't even thought about it yet

Ambient Police (sleeve), Thursday, 6 June 2019 13:44 (three months ago) link

My top ten will be easy enough, but the next twenty will require some listening!

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Thursday, 6 June 2019 13:54 (three months ago) link

Btw, I've only received one ballot so far, hope there'll be many more. :)

― Tuomas, Thursday, June 6, 2019 Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

lol maybe I’ll exert more influence over this poll than I’d thought. Stars of the Lid ftw.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Thursday, 6 June 2019 16:16 (three months ago) link

I fully expect my fridge to win through the power of write-in votes, ILM don't let me down.

Siegbran, Thursday, 6 June 2019 17:39 (three months ago) link

Recently I’ve read about how both la monte young and Richard D James we’re heavily inspired by being beat the hum of electricity, particularly near electrical towers. Fridge buzz is classic ambient imo

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Thursday, 6 June 2019 17:45 (three months ago) link

After starting to piece together a list, a couple glaring omissions from my past attempts at building my own personal ambient top 10 or top 20:

Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow
Voice of Eye - Vespers

Both artists had other works nominated, but these two are pretty seminal for them, respectively. Surprised about the Hammock omission in particular... Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow is not only one of their best, but easily the most "ambient" of all their releases. I've not yet heard Voice of Eye's Transmigration, so perhaps that can potentially place on the lower end of things.

In any case, for those who haven't yet heard it, check out They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow:
https://open.spotify.com/album/7gi9H6xQKjHG4KlPn9bYsS?si=T1T9dt2KS9iGUC8mYpQ1YQ

octobeard, Thursday, 6 June 2019 21:04 (three months ago) link

Voice Of Eye is a great example of one I need to spend more time with, I really liked their "early" 2LP that came on VOD, but haven't re-listened to it in years

Ambient Police (sleeve), Thursday, 6 June 2019 21:08 (three months ago) link

Recently I’ve read about how both la monte young and Richard D James we’re heavily inspired by being beat the hum of electricity, particularly near electrical towers. Fridge buzz is classic ambient imo

One of those "Trance-Europe Express" compilations from the early nineties, which came with a large booklet of interviews and other articles, had a tongue-in-cheek guide to various electronic music genres. IIRC all the other genres had longer texts to explain them, but ambient defined with just one sentence: "Could be your refrigerator." :)

Tuomas, Friday, 7 June 2019 06:32 (three months ago) link

My finds so far have been Dreamweapon and Hymnvs. Both brilliant.

There's a bunch I'd stan for, not least the Laraaji/Blues Control album.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3jB7kp8LU-I

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Saturday, 8 June 2019 14:09 (three months ago) link

Laraaji's laugh at the end of that track...

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Saturday, 8 June 2019 14:09 (three months ago) link

my first pass through (not even counting the vast amount I don't know) gave me 127 albums on a longlist...

Ambient Police (sleeve), Saturday, 8 June 2019 22:29 (three months ago) link

Laraaji used to do laughter workshops!

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Saturday, 8 June 2019 23:00 (three months ago) link

I think an ILM poster may have gone to one?

brimstead, Sunday, 9 June 2019 01:09 (three months ago) link

Bump! Three ballots in so far.

Tuomas, Monday, 10 June 2019 10:30 (three months ago) link

Ambient voters just kinda drift toward the finish line

but everybody calls me, (lukas), Monday, 10 June 2019 10:33 (three months ago) link

I would so go to that Laraaji workshop/camp thing.

octobeard, Monday, 10 June 2019 15:59 (three months ago) link

I have my ballot pretty much done, I just feel bad because there must be several albums in the nom list that I would vote for but don’t have time to preview :-(

brimstead, Monday, 10 June 2019 18:29 (three months ago) link

I mean preview all the noms to see which ones I would want to hear in full

brimstead, Monday, 10 June 2019 18:33 (three months ago) link

Spent the day listening to Jon Hopkins' Late Night Tales, would have nominated it if I'd known about it last week!

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Monday, 10 June 2019 19:48 (three months ago) link

Ambient voters just kinda drift toward the finish line

otm, i'm letting my list grow organically and unobtrusively

Vape Store (crüt), Monday, 10 June 2019 19:58 (three months ago) link

I have my ballot pretty much done, I just feel bad because there must be several albums in the nom list that I would vote for but don’t have time to preview :-(
There's still almost two weeks before the deadline.

Tuomas, Monday, 10 June 2019 20:53 (three months ago) link

I'm 100% going to vote but just letting everything float about before leaving it right until the last second.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Monday, 10 June 2019 20:58 (three months ago) link

Grateful Dead is ambient right?

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 10 June 2019 21:14 (three months ago) link

if you're far enough away from them, yes

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Monday, 10 June 2019 21:28 (three months ago) link

is grayfolded ambient? Never heard it myself

brimstead, Monday, 10 June 2019 21:56 (three months ago) link

Voted!

paolo, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 08:17 (three months ago) link

I went through the nominations doc at the weekend and my initial shortlist came to 47 albums - there are loads of things on there I've never heard so I'm going to explore it a bit more before voting (will try to give anything mentioned in this thread a go too).

Gavin, Leeds, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 09:26 (three months ago) link

time to finish up my ballot I suppose

Vape Store (crüt), Saturday, 22 June 2019 23:16 (two months ago) link

voted!

Vape Store (crüt), Sunday, 23 June 2019 02:04 (two months ago) link

Just voted. Like many have mentioned; I'll mostly end up voting for the stuff I nominated (or would have if someone hadn't beaten me to it). I only came up with, I think, 36 votes. My main thing is that ambient music tends to be a "singles" thing for me, so I ended up sort of halfheartedly voting for albums that I really only love one or two songs off of. Regardless of how this poll turns out; what a treasure trove of music to check out. It's sad how hard it is to find some of this music.

beard papa, Sunday, 23 June 2019 02:09 (two months ago) link

Voted! thanks to whoever nominated ABoneCroneDrone and Seconds In Formaldehyde. The former I had forgotten all about and the latter is a great new discovery!

brimstead, Sunday, 23 June 2019 03:37 (two months ago) link

every album on my list is a stone cold classic

brimstead, Sunday, 23 June 2019 03:37 (two months ago) link

will vote tonight!

Siegbran, Sunday, 23 June 2019 09:09 (two months ago) link

I agonised over my ballot for a good while and then thought 'fuck it, it's everyone else's I'm interested in' and made my peace.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Sunday, 23 June 2019 09:17 (two months ago) link

Voted (feebly and inadequately).

pomenitul, Sunday, 23 June 2019 10:10 (two months ago) link

Sending my ballot tonight

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Sunday, 23 June 2019 14:17 (two months ago) link

I'm down to 50 finally, just thinking abt placement

Ambient Police (sleeve), Sunday, 23 June 2019 14:41 (two months ago) link

Today is the last day to vote... I won't close the poll until I wake up tomorrow morning, which should be aroung 6AM GMT, so you still have 13 hours to vote.

Also, when you send your ballot, remember to mention in the message whether it's weighted or unweighted. I've answered all emails with ballots I've received so far, so if you've sent one but haven't gotten an answer from me, let me know in this thread.

Tuomas, Sunday, 23 June 2019 16:12 (two months ago) link

I sent an unweighted ballot yesterday and didn't get a confirmation. Mine is a little skimpy at fifteen albums. I had some criteria in mind for deciding what was ambient and what wasn't, but thinking about my ballot I didn't really apply them consistently — broadly I was thinking of an emphasis on space and/or texture over melody and rhythm, but even under those broad guidelines (which don't really equate to "functional as background music") some tuneful things snuck in.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Sunday, 23 June 2019 16:43 (two months ago) link

What is this other genre that some of you think these other artists ought to fall into, if not ambient? Too spaced out and atmospheric to be electronic, too melodic to be avant-grade. If I were to vote these albums into any poll, it would be this one.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:24 (two months ago) link

^^^I don’t mean that to sound antagonistic, just sharing my logic for why I chose some artists that others here seem to be struggling with whether to include or not.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:31 (two months ago) link

yeah, i have no idea. for example, tangerine dream. i really like both Phaedra and Zeit. somehow, i decided that Phaedra was not ambient enough (the pink floyd 'on the run' section about 5 minutes into the title track, in particular), but Zeit would qualify. but what is Phaedra? it's...electronic music? in a very different way, i also couldn't figure out whether morton feldman's Piano & String quartet is top of the line ambient, or not ambient

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:37 (two months ago) link

anyways, i will try to keep this in mind when we're all complaining about Tired Sounds of Starts of Lid placing high (which is one of my all time favorites, and which i didn't vote for because i don't think of it as an ambient album even though much of it is ambient and i've zoned out to a million times)

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:39 (two months ago) link

STARTS OF THE LID

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:39 (two months ago) link

A lid startler if ever there was one.

pomenitul, Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:40 (two months ago) link

Same but Phaedra: yes, Zeit: no :) It's so arbitrary, and I like that.

Shame 'Music for the Rothko Chapel' wasn't nominated. I'd hit that as ambient. Piano & String too classically classical for me?

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:41 (two months ago) link

Same but Phaedra: yes, Zeit: no :) It's so arbitrary, and I like that.

Heh, it's the other way around for me.

pomenitul, Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:42 (two months ago) link

Zoning out, music escorting you to a personal and highly particular ambient zone = ambient, to me. So I voted for Tired Sounds.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:43 (two months ago) link

I sent an unweighted ballot yesterday and didn't get a confirmation.

Hmm, I wonder what's up with that... Did you send it to the address below?

https://i.imgur.com/yyJzfhr.jpg

Try to resend it to that address and report in this thread when you've done it, let's see if it gets through.

Tuomas, Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:43 (two months ago) link

i forgot to nom that jon gibson two solo pianos w/ bonus tracks disc AND suzanne brokesch NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

massaman gai (front tea for two), Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:43 (two months ago) link

Shame 'Music for the Rothko Chapel' wasn't nominated. I'd hit that as ambient. Piano & String too classically classical for me?

yeah, i'd definitely vote for Rothko if it was there! my fav morton feldman (that i've heard - still exploring!), and yes, definitely more 'ambient'

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:45 (two months ago) link

I'm with "Zeit: ambient", "Phaedra: not" camp, and voted accordingly. To me Phaedra has a bit too much sense of direction to count as ambient, whereas Zeit feels like floating in space. But I do understand the case for Phaedra being ambient too, and probably some other albums I voted have even more direction than that, it's not clear-cut.

Tuomas, Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:47 (two months ago) link

Zeit is definitely ambient to me. Phaedra is too propulsive. And Stars of the Lid has to be ambient, dunnit? Not sure where else I'd place it. Emobient, maybe.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Sunday, 23 June 2019 18:07 (two months ago) link

The only albums I sort of regret nominating and voting for are the two Growing albums. In both cases the first tracks are epic drones, and that’s what I think of when I think of them. But subsequent tracks really aren’t remotely ambient. Oh well. If I’m the only one who voted for them in the end you can strike them.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Sunday, 23 June 2019 18:11 (two months ago) link

^^ I've had that, where in memory or in 'feeling' records are ambient to me, but when listening w/ this poll in mind I think: wait, no, actually...

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Sunday, 23 June 2019 18:12 (two months ago) link

Yeah, that happened to me too, I had to scrap a couple of albums from my ballot cos I remembered them as being ambient based on how they begin, but upon listening to them I realised they got way too progressive later on.

Tuomas, Sunday, 23 June 2019 18:15 (two months ago) link

that was my reaction to listening to 76:14 again, i was surprised how beat-heavy a lot of it was

Vape Store (crüt), Sunday, 23 June 2019 18:28 (two months ago) link

Ah thanks, Tuomas; I did manage to mess up your email. Ballot re-sent! Got your confirmation.

What is this other genre that some of you think these other artists ought to fall into, if not ambient? Too spaced out and atmospheric to be electronic, too melodic to be avant-grade. If I were to vote these albums into any poll, it would be this one.

At the risk of sounding naïve, does "electronic" necessarily mean beat-based music? I guess I think of electronic as encompassing what used to be called IDM as well as a lot of ambient and whatever is called new age and even synth pop; i.e., it's really broad. New age vs. ambient was one of the divisions I was thinking about, where it seemed like Vangelis' L'Apocalypse des Animaux is more definitely new age than ambient, but where some new age is ambient enough. Another category is noise, where Fennesz's work occupies both noise and ambient territory (I voted for one of his, and not the most ambient among them!).

A basic problem I have is that the albums I like best on the noms list don't necessarily seem purely ambient (i.e., I love Phaedra and voted for it but the arguments against it above make sense to me... but I don't love Zeit, so I didn't vote for it).

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Sunday, 23 June 2019 18:29 (two months ago) link

Actually, Chinaski's solution to this problem was probably better than mine. Still, I'll be pleased if anyone else votes for Tierbeobachtungen.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Sunday, 23 June 2019 18:40 (two months ago) link

I’ve always thought of Biosphere’s Patashnik as ambient but there’s surprisingly little material without beats on it.

Siegbran, Sunday, 23 June 2019 18:47 (two months ago) link

Patashnik definitely is some kind of a ambient/techno hybrid, as was Microgravity before it. To me, Substrata is the first true ambient album by Biosphere. For a guy who's known as ambient musician first and foremost, Geir Jenssen certainly has done a lot of music based on beats and rhythms. He even released an EP a couple of years ago, The Petrified Forest, which is an obvious throwback to that Patashnik sound. It's a great record, but again, it doesn't sound sound ambient enough for me to have nominated it.

Tuomas, Sunday, 23 June 2019 18:58 (two months ago) link

Voted

groovypanda, Sunday, 23 June 2019 19:56 (two months ago) link

Departed Glories is the one for Biosphere

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Sunday, 23 June 2019 22:27 (two months ago) link

voted!

Siegbran, Sunday, 23 June 2019 23:11 (two months ago) link

voted!

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Sunday, 23 June 2019 23:16 (two months ago) link

Departed Glories is the one for Biosphere

You don’t have to choose just one though! 50 votes, plenty of space.

I’m also surprised at how many people feel this way about DG. Doesn’t reach the heights (or depths) of Substrata or Cirque for me, but maybe I need to open my ears.

but everybody calls me, (lukas), Sunday, 23 June 2019 23:17 (two months ago) link

(also had many instances as noted upthread of "shit, I should have nominated ambient album x)

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Sunday, 23 June 2019 23:19 (two months ago) link

^^ same here.

Voted!

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 24 June 2019 00:07 (two months ago) link

voted with a split ballot, it turns out I can in fact pick only 25 ambient albums that are truly close to my heart

the only new one I included was one of the Voice Of Eye noms, I love that double LP of early stuff that VOD put out but had never checked out the later stuff.

I'd like to attempt a Spotify playlist of all the noms, but can't guarantee anything

Ambient Police (sleeve), Monday, 24 June 2019 00:14 (two months ago) link

There is a Spotify playlist

Vape Store (crüt), Monday, 24 June 2019 00:51 (two months ago) link

oh I missed that! thanks.

Ambient Police (sleeve), Monday, 24 June 2019 01:11 (two months ago) link

damn I coulda been shuffling all this time

Ambient Police (sleeve), Monday, 24 June 2019 01:12 (two months ago) link

for reference cuz I don't think it was linked in this thread:

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4fPPFJHHNihMjlO9GVEs6F?si=hVKygUYXRJSuCafBZrfzlQ

Ambient Police (sleeve), Monday, 24 June 2019 01:15 (two months ago) link

The voting is now closed, thanks to everyone! I'll start the results rollout later today or tomorrow.

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 05:13 (two months ago) link

top 3 albums I slightly regret including on my ballot:

Belong - October Language (soothing noize ≠ ambient!)
Slowdive - Pygmalion (too pop! parts of it have a backbeat and proper hummable melodies!)
Tangerine Dream - Phaedra (too much chug-a-chug-a sequencer action!)

my ballot started out super purist, but then I got the notion of voting for 50 albums by 50 different artists, so I ended up padding it out with some stuff that wasn't a perfect fit, oops

anyways, here's some great cosmic horror ambient that idk if anyone else voted for:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YE9RPDgCn2w

(Tholen - Sternklang)

tandoor vittles (unregistered), Monday, 24 June 2019 14:47 (two months ago) link

Results rolling out here: The mind revealing itself to itself: the TOP 100 AMBIENT ALBUMS as voted by ILX

koogs, Monday, 24 June 2019 15:27 (two months ago) link


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