The mind revealing itself to itself: the TOP 100 AMBIENT ALBUMS as voted by ILX

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The votes have been counted, altogether there were around 30 ballots, and now it's time for the results...

https://www.ancient-code.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/greenland_anomaly_prv2_by_julian_faylona-db8rifx.jpg

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 10:14 (four weeks ago) link

Boo to 30 ballots. Was hoping there'd be more

groovypanda, Monday, 24 June 2019 10:16 (four weeks ago) link

Cue tired joke about how that was too swift, tempo-wise, and should instead be stretched out over several months.

pomenitul, Monday, 24 June 2019 10:16 (four weeks ago) link

99.(tie) Stars of the Lid: The Ballasted Orchestra
197 points, 3 votes.

https://i.imgur.com/GvqOGm1.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rFNL6HQ1mM

Big second on Stars of the Lid, although I think I like "The Ballasted Orchestra" better. It's like being in a scene from 2001. For 74 minutes. On heavy downers.

― Kenan Hebert (kenan), 30. huhtikuuta 2003 20:39

I want to put in a plug for "Sun Drugs" off the underrated Stars of the Lid release The Ballasted Orchestra, as it totally nails the feeling of laying​ in a wide-open field under a cloudless sky listening to the rumble of distant jet aircraft.

― bernard snowy, 19. maaliskuuta 2017 18:28

Also I still feel like I've got a long way to go before I've internalised most of their stuff, but The Ballasted Orchestra is in to my top 3 with a bullet.

― ledge, 11. joulukuuta 2012 17:44

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 10:27 (four weeks ago) link

I have a feeling that if I went back and listened to their entire discography again their early material would win out but Tired Sounds was such a formative album for me that I couldn't bring myself to vote for anything else.

pomenitul, Monday, 24 June 2019 10:29 (four weeks ago) link

Hoped for more than 30 ballots too, but stoked for the ambientness nonetheless

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 24 June 2019 10:37 (four weeks ago) link

Ballasted Orchestra is a fantastic album, but I too found it after Tired Sounds came into my life.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 24 June 2019 10:38 (four weeks ago) link

99. (tie) DeepChord presents Echospace: Liumin / Liumin Reduced (2010)
197 points, 3 votes.

https://i.imgur.com/Tktdri0.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGPZpr5H9Sk

Liumin Reduced

deepchord presents echospace - liumin, brock van wey - white clouds drift on and on (cd2 esp.)

― ILX Point Never (diamonddave85), 20. heinäkuuta 2011 2:24

after diving back into a bunch of minimal techno following the pfork IDM list, just discovered Deepchord Presents Echospace - Liumin. Great stuff here, dub/ambient techno, but there's a couple of tracks with deeply obscured disco samples that almost come out as vaporwaved house tracks. always finding more...

― Dominique, 27. tammikuuta 2017 22:16

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 10:41 (four weeks ago) link

Sorry, I forgot to add the release year to The Ballasted Orchestra, that one is from 1997.

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 10:41 (four weeks ago) link

Too low, partly through my own fault (I forgot to vote for it!).

xp

pomenitul, Monday, 24 June 2019 10:42 (four weeks ago) link

I felt conflicted about nominating that album, but the second disc is definitely ambient of the found sound/field recording kind, and the first disc shows how they made awesome dub techno out of those sounds.

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 10:44 (four weeks ago) link

I didn't vote because NOTAMBIENT. Amazing album all the same and, perversely, glad to see it.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Monday, 24 June 2019 10:45 (four weeks ago) link

I do share your reservations, genre-wise. I tried to be as much of a purist as possible in my own ballot (although I nommed 76:14, I ultimately refrained from voting for it upon hearing it again and realizing that it's nowhere near as unadulterated as I remembered).

pomenitul, Monday, 24 June 2019 10:46 (four weeks ago) link

Someone should run a study about how ambient music induces taxonomically negative feelings in listeners.

pomenitul, Monday, 24 June 2019 10:48 (four weeks ago) link

98. Hatchback: Zeus & Apollo (2011)
198 points, 3 votes.

https://i.imgur.com/pXxhJP3.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-VuU2ulc_8

picked it up today (zeus and apollo). production is super spacious. this is going to be one stoned out summer.

― so confused (blank), 28. kesäkuuta 2011 7:06

Stupidly, stupidly great. Stately and luminious and just perfectly arranged, perfectly paced... Thank you dudes SO MUCH for bringing this to my attention.

― Clarke B., 29. kesäkuuta 2011 1:51

and it makes perfect sense as a progression from his previous stuff; he puts more emphasis on his lush, perfectionist sound design and goes further out into cosmic popol vuh territory by mostly eschewing the krautrock/disco element.

― karl...arlk...rlka...lkar..., 29. kesäkuuta 2011 6:20

Gave a no-laptop-or-other-distractions listen to Zeus and Apollo today...what a great ride that album is, so wide-ranging and immersive but at all these different levels - like, when I think of "immersive" music, I sort of assume a certain sort of depth - bass depth, but also mood - but this thing hits all these different + to my ear very subtle moods and sustains them, really fleshes them out. Tremendous tremendous record.

― pathos of the unwarranted encore (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), 17. elokuuta 2011

this album is definitely still holding up for me, one of my favorites of the year too for sure. don't want to get too REAL TALK here but it was playing in the background during some fairly traumatic/life-altering discussions for me this year and i still love it. just the right amount of melancholy and escapism, i feel like with any other record in the world the negative associations would kill the music for me but this all just keeps sounding so comforting

― a lagoon par la mer (psychgawsple), 17. elokuuta 2011 6:16

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 11:22 (four weeks ago) link

hey i remember this record! good memories

nxd, Monday, 24 June 2019 11:26 (four weeks ago) link

HAd doubts if it qualified, as I associate it way more with balearic. But the two can overlap, and it's a gorgeous album. It's in my top three of my 50 records ballot that I listen to the most.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 24 June 2019 11:28 (four weeks ago) link

97. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green (1986)
201 points, 3 votes.

https://i.imgur.com/RdorN7C.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-k9Xu5O7AY

alan i've been going through hiroshi yoshimura's discography since you recommended him, he's so wonderful

― (曇り) (clouds), 8. joulukuuta 2014 8:21

The first music you hear on Green were the sounds of a stream and bird song. Once the “synthetic” part cycles in, they played a part of an unlikely ensemble; unobtrusive, complementary of the larger, sonic vision. Brian Eno once spoke of “Another Green World“, but with Green this one somehow remains the most impressive. It must be. It’s our green world, presented in these refinements, that speak of a golden period in time when Hiroshi graced us with one astounding vision after another, culminating in this utterly sublime masterpiece. My suggestion: gather, digest, and refresh.

Diego Olivas, Fond/Sound

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 11:29 (four weeks ago) link

96. Ekkehard Ehlers: Plays (2002)
201 points, 4 votes.

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ev68XXZo6w

Look, I've had a love affair with both of these tracks for months now, but while I was listening to them again today they both kinda looked at me funny, cock-eyed like, and suddenly I just *knew*.

Seriously, I couldn't feel more strongly about music right now.

― mark p (Mark P), 4. tammikuuta 2003 5:32

i didn't realise the strings on "..cassavetes" were from the beatles until tonight.

― jed_, 22. marraskuuta 2008 2:14

Are you serious!?

From where, specifically?

― Their time's limited, hard rocks, too (mehlt), 22. marraskuuta 2008 2:56

It's a loop of a section from the intro to "Goodnight", very obvious in fact, not processed or anything. I would love to know what he does with it, exactly. One of the really fascinating things about that track is that you can't tell for sure if it's changing at all through most of it.

― Mark, 22. marraskuuta 2008 3:12

Loving the whole 'Plays' compilation despite not recognising any of the references. Glorious.

― Ctrl+Alt+Del in Poughkeepsie (fionnland), 30. syyskuuta 2018 18:39

I, er, Spotified "Goodnight" and "...Cassavetes 2" back to back two days ago, killing time at my mother's house. She was out of the room for some ten minutes but was then all "Is it still going? Wait, did The White Album have a locked groove as well?"

― Nag! Nag! Nag!, 1. lokakuuta 2018 12:21

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 11:46 (four weeks ago) link

Another two great records that didn't make my ballot.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 24 June 2019 11:48 (four weeks ago) link

That Ehlers album is fantastic. The John Cassavetes track is all time.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Monday, 24 June 2019 11:55 (four weeks ago) link

cool, a bunch of stuff I don't know! I have heard the Ehlers and some SOTL but not that one

Ambient Police (sleeve), Monday, 24 June 2019 13:55 (four weeks ago) link

95. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: Tides (2014)
201 points, 5 votes.

https://i.imgur.com/Ex3Term.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMKBKjmM5xE

btw, pulled up the kaitlyn aurelia smith on spotify
first thing i heard were birdsongs and wind chimes
immediately saved that shit

― brosario nawson (m bison), 17. tammikuuta 2015 6:22

kaitlyn aurelia smith: tides - you just woke up and you can float above the heap of thoughts on suspended waves of synthesis for a little while, calmly

― home organ, 18. joulukuuta 2015 7:13

Grounded in the work of these early electronic artists, the album feels like a natural extension of their meditative project. Its production is also predicated on practical use. It was produced originally as a soundtrack for Smith's mother's yoga classes. The slow modulation of the Buchla simulates breath on "Tides III," while sustained resonance on "Tides V" builds hypnotically. It is, in a word, relaxing.

Arielle Gordon, Resident Advisor

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 13:57 (four weeks ago) link

Does anyone know what happened between the original release of Tides and its reissue this year? I got it from Bandcamp in 2014 or 2015, and back then it had ten tracks, but at some point it disappeared from Bandcamp (thankfully I'd saved my copy on the hard drive), and then this January it was rereleased there with the final track ("Tides X") missing. What's up with that?

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 14:01 (four weeks ago) link

Looks like I need to hear that Ehlers record!

Siegbran, Monday, 24 June 2019 14:02 (four weeks ago) link

Anyway, as much I've enjoyed Smith's journey into synthpop/IDM freakiness, I wish she'd do another pure ambient album like this one day. Tides is the one record of hers to which I return the most; the RA review criticises it for being too new agey and too functional as yoga background music, but to me that's just a plus, and I don't even do yoga.

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 14:04 (four weeks ago) link

imago to thread if to thread he would.

pomenitul, Monday, 24 June 2019 14:06 (four weeks ago) link

A Life Without Fear is my favourite Ehlers but it can't reasonably be dubbed ambient.

pomenitul, Monday, 24 June 2019 14:07 (four weeks ago) link

and I don't even do yoga.

lol Tuomas. Never considered KAS for this poll, even though I do enjoy her music.

Everyone should hear that Ehlers record, you too Siegbran!

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 24 June 2019 14:10 (four weeks ago) link

I voted for the Deepchord album, and although I was aware there might be complaints that it wasn’t ambient enough it was a vote for the second “reduced” disc.

There were other ones I voted for that might also raise eyebrows but they’re ambient to me!

I am using your worlds, Monday, 24 June 2019 14:33 (four weeks ago) link

I... forgot to vote. This weekend was particularly busy.

I nominated Deepchord - Immersions, which is amazing too.

Evan, Monday, 24 June 2019 14:38 (four weeks ago) link

some of my choices were grandfathered in from a time in my life when A. I had not reified "ambient" and B. there was no Internet to argue about it on

frex Future Sound of London's Lifeforms, which is a superposition of definitely and definitely not ambient

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Monday, 24 June 2019 14:48 (four weeks ago) link

Yeah this is from around the time that the term IDM did not exist yet and all this stuff (FSOL, Global Communications, Autechre, Aphex Twin, beats-era-Biosphere) was called ambient.

Siegbran, Monday, 24 June 2019 15:02 (four weeks ago) link

I think my first exposure to 'ambient' was around 92/93 and it was some swirly, beat-driven Namlook excursion into the heart of the sun/inner space so I guess I am being daftly proscriptive about what is/what isn't ambient on here, really. So it goes.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Monday, 24 June 2019 15:05 (four weeks ago) link

it's interesting how this lasted only briefly before the more complex/abrasive stuff was shoved under the IDM label, and the laidback beats stuff became "downtempo".

Siegbran, Monday, 24 June 2019 15:08 (four weeks ago) link

Time Recordings' Em:t series was big for me in this respect, they rejected the "dance music" label that electronic music had, but also weren't into abrasive or glitch stuff... often focused on an evocation of place, which is a foundational aspect of the best ambient works for me. Like you could call it the Ambient 4: On Land branch of the family.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Monday, 24 June 2019 15:12 (four weeks ago) link

I would argue that FAX records carried on with that inclusive early-nineties spirit of ambient right until Pete Namlook's death and the label's folding in 2012. Though sadly the audience for their releases gradually dwindled, even though they kept on releasing quality music throughout the years; some of the albums from FAX's final years are just as good as their '90s classics.

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 15:24 (four weeks ago) link

Plays was a new one for me from the nominations thread, really impressed on first listen and I'm sure it'll grow on me.

I love Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith but haven't heard that particular album.

Gavin, Leeds, Monday, 24 June 2019 15:58 (four weeks ago) link

94. Meg Bowles: The Shimmering Land (2013)
201 points, 3 votes, 1 first place vote.

https://www.megbowlesmusic.com/img/Shimmer1000px.jpeg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctOuviFsVf4&list=PL7CHOwWwIsi9pbsRPYwvgJYKdD68_1FQE

Meg Bowles is one of my favourite ambient artists, it's always nice when people discover her music. I've said it before here, but IMO she would be more acclaimed if her albums weren't self-published and labelled (by herself, admittedly) "new age". The sort of hippie elements a lot of new age artists have are completely missing from her music, mostly it's just pure cosmic synth drones. (Personally I love corny hippie new age too, but I do understand why those elements alienate people.) If her records were published by an established ambient label, they'd probably be considered classics of the genre.

― Tuomas, Saturday, February 2, 2019 12:49 PM

Liking the Meg Bowles album. I think 'new age' would have seemed like a pejorative up until a couple of years ago but that sound is unexpectedly coming into vogue it seems.

― mirostones, Saturday, February 2, 2019 2:31 PM

Shimmering Land is the arena where tone poems meld into a galactic National Geographic of the spaceways before coming back to meditate in Earthly deserts. Everything, however, has a very very slow underlying pulse, and the listener is set within strange lands in order to contemplate what lies on the other side of so-called civilization and progress, places where Nature reigns supreme in all her brooding mystery…and not all that impressed with human beings while inviting consciousness to shed its limits and bask in primal oneness.

David N. Pyles, FAME

(Sorry about the self-quote there, but ILX doesn't have too many posts about Meg Bowles.)

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 16:24 (four weeks ago) link

Hmm, looks like that Youtube link didn't work, here's another one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctOuviFsVf4

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 16:24 (four weeks ago) link

This was my number 1 vote. Ambient music serves many uses in my life, but probably the most important one is that it helps me relieve stress and calm down. And ever since that album came out 6 years ago, it's been my top choice when I'm feeling anxious or stressed and need some music to take off the edge. There's no gimmicks or "wow!" moments, just some beautiful, serene soundscapes. So I couldn't anything else but put it on the top of my list for what it's done for me.

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 16:28 (four weeks ago) link

Oops, sorry, there was a typo with The Shimmering Land, it got 202 points, not 201.

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 16:36 (four weeks ago) link

Interesting. I'll be sure to check it out.

xp

pomenitul, Monday, 24 June 2019 16:36 (four weeks ago) link

Tuomas I really appreciate doing a top 100 here instead of 77 or 50

Ambient Police (sleeve), Monday, 24 June 2019 16:37 (four weeks ago) link

I've never even heard of this, I'm intrigued.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 24 June 2019 16:38 (four weeks ago) link

Will check it out too. Also reminds me that I bought a Lucette Bourdin album on Bandcamp after your recommendation and then forgot to include it when I voted, despite really enjoying it :(

I am using your worlds, Monday, 24 June 2019 16:39 (four weeks ago) link

i woke up on Sunday morning and my first thought was: "I forgot to include one of my favorite albums on my ballot."

So, everyone, please please please spend time with David Behrman's On the Other Ocean.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Monday, 24 June 2019 16:44 (four weeks ago) link

Also, this Meg Bowles record is gorgeous, thank you Tuomas

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Monday, 24 June 2019 16:46 (four weeks ago) link

93. 2814: 新しい日の誕生 (2015)
202 points, 4 votes.

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a4099353330_10.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9L4q-0Pi4E

I’ll be satisfied when 2814 is a brand and I can buy a faded T-shirt with the cover of 新しい日の誕生 on it at target

― calstars, Saturday, March 3, 2018 12:17 AM

2814 isn’t vaporwave. More like ambient phaser slush

― calstars, Thursday, May 10, 2018 5:54 AM

新しい日の誕生 sets itself apart with a vivid, picturesque scope and wide ambient landscapes. The dominant theme here is drift. Sometimes the duo deal in drone—like on "テレパシー" where they luxuriate in a constant tone for over 10 minutes, savouring every miniscule tonal change and decay across the lengthy runtime. And decay is another prominent aspect that separates 新しい日の誕生 from the pack. Where vaporwave is often resolutely digital and clinical, the duo indulge in Basinski-like looping.

Andrew Ryce, Resident Advisor

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 16:49 (four weeks ago) link

Table is Table, don't worry, your favourite album might show up anyway. :)

Tuomas, Monday, 24 June 2019 16:49 (four weeks ago) link

One thing I've taken from this poll is a newfound appreciation for Music For Airports. I've enjoyed Eno's other ambient albums but MFA always just sounded a bit dull to me. With this type of music there is of course a fine line between something being deep/immersive and just plain boring and I felt that it was on the wrong side of that. I gave it another chance after the poll results and for some reason now I get it, so that's good

paolo, Thursday, 4 July 2019 08:41 (two weeks ago) link

It seems like ambient's become quite a lot more popular over the last few years. I'm wondering if that's because people are more stressed than they used to be or is it just the way that trends in music work (or a bit of both). I certainly use it for self-care when I'm not feeling great.

paolo, Thursday, 4 July 2019 08:44 (two weeks ago) link

I'd say it's the opposite? People work less and less, more time for relaxation, slower lifestyles etc. Spas, wellness, yoga, all booming. Ambient is the soundtrack to that.

Siegbran, Thursday, 4 July 2019 10:16 (two weeks ago) link

People work less and less

uh this is patently false in most of the world

sleeve, Thursday, 4 July 2019 14:58 (two weeks ago) link

if there's any driver here it's "stress" about the end of the world actually happening in front of our eyes

sleeve, Thursday, 4 July 2019 14:59 (two weeks ago) link

https://ourworldindata.org/working-hours#the-decline-of-working-hours-per-year-after-the-industrial-revolution
(and this is just for workers, add to that aging populations with more and more retirees)

Siegbran, Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:21 (two weeks ago) link

n 1980, the average worker clocked in 38.1 hours per week, which isn't that much below today's weekly average. However, back then, the typical worker only put in 43 weeks of work over the course of a year for an annual total of 1,638.3 hours. In other words, we're now spending roughly an extra 173 hours per year at our jobs in one way, shape, or form.

And that number doesn't even tell the whole story. Because an estimated 40% of U.S. employees regularly work more than 50 hours per week, and 20% work more than 60 hours per week, there are plenty of folks out there who might easily come close to hitting the 3,000-hour mark year after year (keeping in mind that these are the same people who are likely to forgo vacation time to meet deadlines and stay ahead of work-related obligations). And that could spell trouble not just for their physical health, but their productivity.

https://www.fool.com/careers/2017/12/17/heres-how-many-hours-the-average-american-works-pe.aspx

sleeve, Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:23 (two weeks ago) link

Siegbran and his Refinement of the Decline (of Working Hours)

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:23 (two weeks ago) link

I don't know, but the combination of (more free time to enjoy long-form art) + (rise of relaxation/mindfulness/yoga) + (more old people who like slower music) looks like a perfect storm for ambient music to me.

Siegbran, Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:26 (two weeks ago) link

oh I totally agree! I just think your perspective is a bit Euro-centric here and doesn't seem to match the actual data

also, stress :)

sleeve, Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:27 (two weeks ago) link

it’s cause people don’t listen to music anymore, they just put it on

brimstead, Thursday, 4 July 2019 18:01 (two weeks ago) link

just kidding

brimstead, Thursday, 4 July 2019 18:01 (two weeks ago) link

hence all the “is this ambient” talk. maybe it doesn’t matter if it’s all ambient now anyway

brimstead, Thursday, 4 July 2019 18:04 (two weeks ago) link

Personally I'd say that ambient music has more in common with self-care tools like ASMR or guided mindfulness exercises than other types of music in terms of how I use it to relax and/or deal with stress. It's mainly functional music for me.

I went to see O Yuki Conjugate and Zoviet France recently and it was like some kind of group relaxation session. It made me feel more like I was listening to ASMR than on a night out.

paolo, Thursday, 4 July 2019 18:47 (two weeks ago) link

wow that's an amazing double bill!

sleeve, Thursday, 4 July 2019 18:57 (two weeks ago) link

I reckon it's more that the web just facilitates bringing affinity groups together. I certainly don't see any day to day evidence of more people listening to ambient music, but my internet interactions might lead me to think that way. Dunno.

I remember first getting into Richard Skelton back in 2010 and buying one of the 200-limited runs he produced (with pine cones and little bits of moor detritus included) and realising I legitimately knew in real life 10 people who owned one and internet-knew another 25. I could have been forgiven for thinking everyone was listening to Skelbo.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Thursday, 4 July 2019 19:58 (two weeks ago) link

Loving that Caretaker album. Not sure how I'd not come across it before.

Reminds me a lot of playing Bioshock

groovypanda, Friday, 5 July 2019 09:21 (two weeks ago) link

I was always underwhelmed by anything Aphex Twin

ilm jive mind (FlopsyDuck), Friday, 5 July 2019 13:18 (two weeks ago) link

One for the musical controp thread.

pomenitul, Friday, 5 July 2019 13:22 (two weeks ago) link

For maximum impact, that is.

pomenitul, Friday, 5 July 2019 13:22 (two weeks ago) link

SAWs I and II, and Polygon Window are nice... the rest, meh. Not my thing. SAW I though, so pretty. SAW II is just weird, it's like a book of ambient paint swatches. Good weird though, I like it a lot too.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Friday, 5 July 2019 14:01 (two weeks ago) link

i do think the resurgence of ambient/new age has something to do with changing lifestyles, but at least in the US, it doesn't have to do with working fewer hours. if you click that link siegbran posted above with the weekly work hours data and then manually add the united states, we here in the greatest country on earth are going in the opposite direction of europe, with more and more weekly work hours since the 1960s.

however, i do think work has something to do with it. at work, i listen to almost exclusively instrumental music, much of it "ambient". when i'm on the bus or train to and from work and i'm able to get a seat, i listen to ambient while i read. ambient is my work and reading music, and it's easier than ever these days to do make that happen via streaming. maybe more and more people are catching on to that? beats me.

but obviously there's more going on to the resurgence than just work. part of it is probably just the cyclical nature of taste

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Friday, 5 July 2019 16:33 (two weeks ago) link

Ambient is great for office work, it rewards inattention, the hours accommodate listening to long-form works, and bonus: sometimes people come to your office and don't realize there's music playing but get disturbed by the "weird noises" and leave you alone.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Friday, 5 July 2019 16:41 (two weeks ago) link

interesting how it ends up being a class thing

budo jeru, Friday, 5 July 2019 16:49 (two weeks ago) link

working retail I just had to hear Coldplay and the National over and over

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Friday, 5 July 2019 17:12 (two weeks ago) link

you guys, it's the "self care" epidemic amongst people who have time to even pencil in a yoga class between hustles.

or is the "sound bath" an older phenomenon than I'm aware of?

maffew12, Friday, 5 July 2019 17:16 (two weeks ago) link

new age as a genre has had the self-care element since the 70s, although they didn't call it that then

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Friday, 5 July 2019 17:17 (two weeks ago) link

xp it's really a shame how thoughtless the sound design is in most public / commercial spaces

budo jeru, Friday, 5 July 2019 17:20 (two weeks ago) link

true.

in all seriousness though, yoga with no music is the best yoga.

maffew12, Friday, 5 July 2019 17:20 (two weeks ago) link

xp it's really a shame how thoughtless the sound design is in most public / commercial spaces

i completely agree. the urbanized world sounds like shit

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Friday, 5 July 2019 17:22 (two weeks ago) link

i feel really fortunate that i get to pick my own music at work. it's one of the only reasons that keeps me at this otherwise nauseating job. unfortunately, though, putting on ambient would mean i wouldn't hear 98% of what was playing (kitchens are loud) and it would also be sort of unacceptable / not super morale boosting. i think that partly explains why i have a lot more to say here about the stooges and ac/dc and not so much harold budd

budo jeru, Friday, 5 July 2019 17:23 (two weeks ago) link

consider open headphones or ear clips?

similar situation here. A delicate balance.

maffew12, Friday, 5 July 2019 17:25 (two weeks ago) link

i mean you just cannot be a line cook and wear headphones

budo jeru, Friday, 5 July 2019 17:28 (two weeks ago) link

ohh I only work next to one! Been a while since I was inside, blasting Deerhoof. They loved me.

maffew12, Friday, 5 July 2019 17:46 (two weeks ago) link

Brilliant poll and rollout, everyone. I'm sorry I did not contribute.

I will surely be referencing this list for many months to come. Thank you!

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Friday, 5 July 2019 18:11 (two weeks ago) link

Most recent Fax discovery: Namlook and Richie Hawtin's From Within I. Veers into NOTAMBIENT in places but is damn fine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWNk6Olt5Kc

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Friday, 5 July 2019 18:21 (two weeks ago) link

For those interested, I re-sorted the results by decade:

1960s (2 albums, 0 in the top 20)
41. Miles Davis: In a Silent Way (1969)
74. Raymond Scott: Soothing Sounds for Baby Volume 1: 1 to 6 Months (1964)

1970s (13 albums, 3 in the top 20)
3. Brian Eno: Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978)
16. Tangerine Dream: Phaedra (1974)
17. Brian Eno: Discreet Music (1975)
33. Fripp & Eno: Evening Star (1975)
36. Tangerine Dream: Zeit (1972)
39. Vangelis: L'apocalypse des animaux (1973)
40. Harmonia & Eno '76: Tracks and Traces (1976 (issued 1997))
44. Fripp & Eno: No Pussyfooting) (1973)
50. Brian Eno: Music for Films (1978)
52. Iasos: Inter-Dimensional Music (1975)
70. Popol Vuh: In den Gärten Pharaos (1971)
75. Charlemagne Palestine: Strumming Music (1974)
80. David Behrman: On the Other Ocean (1978)

1980s (20 albums, 7 in the top 20)
2. Brian Eno: Ambient 4: On Land (1982)
7. Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois & Roger Eno: Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks (1983)
9. Laraaji: Ambient 3: Day of Radiance (1980)
14. Harold Budd / Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: The Pearl (1984)
15. Steve Roach: Structures from Silence (1984)
18. Manuel Göttsching: E2–E4 (1984)
19. Pauline Oliveros / Stuart Dempster / Panaiotis: Deep Listening (1989)
21. Arthur Russell: World of Echo (1986)
22. Laurie Spiegel: The Expanding Universe (1980)
24. Harold Budd / Brian Eno: Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror (1980)
25. Brian Eno: Thursday Afternoon (1985)
26. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Music for Nine Post Cards (1982)
31. David Hykes & The Harmonic Choir: Hearing Solar Winds (1983)
49. Jon Hassell / Brian Eno: Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics (1980)
51. Harold Budd: The White Arcades (1988)
64. David Sylvian / Holger Czukay: Flux + Mutability (1989)
69. Constance Demby: Novus Magnificat: Through the Stargate (1986)
83. Henry Flynt: You Are My Everlovin / Celestial Power (1986)
97. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green (1986)
81 (tie). Syntonic Research Inc.: Environments 2: Tintinnabulation (Special Low Frequency Version) (1987)

1990s (26 albums, 6 in the top 20)
1. Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1994)
6. Biosphere: Substrata (1997)
11. KLF, The: Chill Out (1990)
12. Orb, The: The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld (1991)
13. Global Communication: 76:14:00 (1994)
20. Gas: Königsforst (1998)
27. Future Sound Of London, The: Lifeforms (1994)
28. Gas: Zauberberg (1997)
34. Éliane Radigue: Trilogie de la mort (1998)
38. Susumu Yokota: Sakura (1999)
42. Windy & Carl: Antarctica (The Bliss Out, Vol. 2) (1997)
45. Slowdive: Pygmalion (1995)
53. Autechre: Garbage (1995)
54. Thomas Köner: Permafrost (1993)
61. Oval: 94diskont. (1995)
68. Robert Rich & Lustmørd: Stalker (1995)
71. n/a: Symphonies of the Planets 1: NASA Voyager Recordings (1992)
76. Spacemen 3: Dreamweapon (1990)
84. Windy & Carl: Depths (1998)
56 (tie). Chapterhouse / Global Communication: Blood Music: Pentamerous Metamorphosis (1993)
56 (tie). Tetsu Inoue: World Receiver (1996)
66 (tie). Earth: Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version (1993)
66 (tie). Stuart Dempster: Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel (1995)
81 (tie). Woob: Woob 1194 (1994)
89 (tie). Steve Roach: The Magnificent Void (1996)
99 (tie). DeepChord presents Echospace: Liumin / Liumin Reduced (1997)

2000s (21 albums, 4 in the top 20)
4. Stars of the Lid: The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid (2001)
5. Gas: Pop (2000)
8. William Basinski: The Disintegration Loops (2002)
10. Stars of the Lid: Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline (2007)
23. Oneohtrix Point Never: Rifts (2009)
30. Bohren & Der Club of Gore: Black Earth (2002)
37. Tim Hecker: Harmony in Ultraviolet (2006)
43. Eluvium: Talk Amongst the Trees (2005)
47. Dead Texan, The: The Dead Texan (2004)
55. Fennesz: Endless Summer (2001)
60. Alio Die: Aura seminalis (2008)
62. Loscil: Plume (2006)
63. Boris: Flood (2000)
79. Biosphere: Cirque (2000)
87. Keith Fullerton Whitman: Playthroughs (2002)
91. Richard Skelton: Landings (2009)
96. Ekkehard Ehlers: Plays (2002)
72 (tie). Deathprod: Morals and Dogma (2004)
77 (tie). Vladislav Delay: Multila (2000)
89 (tie). Tod Dockstader: Aerial #1 (2005)
29. Autechre: NTS Session 4 (2018)

2010s (18 albums, 0 in the top 20)
32. Various Artists: I Am the Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America, 1950–1990 (2013)
35. Caretaker, The: An Empty Bliss Beyond This World (2011)
46. Winged Victory for the Sullen, A: Atomos (2014)
48. Tim Hecker: Ravedeath, 1972 (2011)
58. Max Richter: Sleep (2015)
59. Ryuichi Sakamoto: Async (2017)
65. Gigi Masin: Talk to the Sea (2014)
85. Justin Bieber: U Smile (800% Slower) (2010)
86. Loscil: Endless Falls (2010)
88. Oneohtrix Point Never: Replica (2011)
92. Labradford: Fixed::Context (2010)
93. 2814: 新しい日の誕生 (2015)
94. Meg Bowles: The Shimmering Land (2013)
95. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: Tides (2014)
98. Hatchback: Zeus & Apollo (2011)
72 (tie). Terekke: Improvisational Loops (2018)
77 (tie). Ian William Craig: A Turn of Breath (2014)
99 (tie). Stars of the Lid: The Ballasted Orchestra (2010)

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Friday, 5 July 2019 18:45 (two weeks ago) link

awesome thank you

maffew12, Friday, 5 July 2019 18:48 (two weeks ago) link

Oh shoot, that last Stars of the Lid album is supposed to be 1997, not 2010. I hope that doesn't mean I fouled up others.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Friday, 5 July 2019 18:49 (two weeks ago) link

Well, now the entire list is completely invalid.

j/k, this is awesome, thank you!

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Friday, 5 July 2019 20:42 (two weeks ago) link

i used to work in a very special sector of retail, and the music was perhaps one of the only redeeming qualities of the job, alongside the copious free stuff. (i worked for a notoriously pricey luxury skincare brand from Australia in their brick and mortar stores in SF).

i played SotL endlessly, and we also listened to lots of Hammock, Andrew Chalk, and the soundtrack to The Proposition. all of this was on a work iPod at some point.

later, when i was able to choose from "stations," i often played the "postpunk" station and could be found slathering face cream on rich folks while rocking out to Kitchens of Distinction lol

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Friday, 5 July 2019 21:58 (two weeks ago) link

good work/music crossover there

would this be a skincare brand people tell fables about

mh, Saturday, 6 July 2019 02:20 (two weeks ago) link

Vitamin Aesops?

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Saturday, 6 July 2019 06:44 (two weeks ago) link

xposts yes, that company.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Saturday, 6 July 2019 15:49 (two weeks ago) link

chill out stores

mh, Saturday, 6 July 2019 22:40 (two weeks ago) link

Discovering so many great new records thanks to this thread. You guys knocked it out of the park again.

Van Horn Street, Monday, 8 July 2019 01:55 (two weeks ago) link

https://imgur.com/w3eE03K

na (NA), Monday, 8 July 2019 20:23 (two weeks ago) link

This thread continues to reveal riches. My latest find is Pentamerous Metamorphosis which, with the garden full of late, golden light, is just about perfect right now.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Sunday, 21 July 2019 19:34 (yesterday) link

I've been slowly working my way through the top 100 and so far my number one discovery is Apollo which I would have had in the top three of my ballot if I'd heard it befor voting. I picked up the reissue on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing as well, so that was nice.

It comes with a bonus disc of new material from Brian and Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois which is well worth checking out. This was a pleasant surprise as I've not been too impressed with Eno's work from this century (not that I've heard much of it).

paolo, Monday, 22 July 2019 08:20 (two hours ago) link


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