Ambient Music Mixes & Recommendations
Apr 19

Dat Rayon

From Gdansk, Poland comes Dat Rayon.
I have no idea who is (or are) behind that alias, but that only adds to the mystery of this album.

"Motor City" is Dat Rayon's second full album, the follow up of the self-released "Station Wagon" debut from 2012. This time it's released by Zoharum, with a beautiful 6-panel sleeved physical edition too (limited to 300 and quickly selling out, by the way).

Mar 24

Boozoo Bajou

The music of Boozoo Bajou (German duo Florian Seyberth and Peter Heider) has always been quite atmospheric.
The three full albums (and numerous 12-inches) they have released since 2001 contained the low-tempo dubby trip-hop often called 'Lounge' - the lush kind of sounds that German musicians seemed to master exclusively.

Their latest album, "4", manages to build on all they did before, and use it as a foundation to create an album that 'transcends basic categories and expectations'.

Mar 08

Black Elk Sketches V

With core members Ian Hawgood (electronics), Danny Norbury(cello), Clem Leek (piano), and Tim Martin (Maps and Diagrams, electronics), Black Elk could be regarded as a post-classical/ambient "Supergroup".

In 2012, their first album"Sparks" was released, a beautiful collection of atmospheric tracks in various styles.

For their recent Japan tour (december 2013) a collection of "Sketches" was assembled on five different (CDR) albums, containing outtakes, unfinished tracks, live performances and ... sketches!

Feb 16

More Piano!!
Otto A. Totland; Monochromie; 3+; Federico Albanese

A seemingly random collection of albums with the piano as the main instrument...

Otto Totland - Pino

Half of Deaf Center. Also half of Nest. More introduction to the intricate piano sounds of Otto A. Totland should hardly be needed.
"Pinô" is his first full featured solo-album, packed in a beautiful gold-embossed hardcover sleeve that perfectly matches the music it contains: atmospheric, calm, intimate.

The music was recorded in Nils Frahm's (Durton) studio on a squeaky piano with a soft, velvety sound. The intimacy is enhanced by bringing the environmental sounds up front in the recording.

Feb 09

Since it was founded in 2005, the Denovali label has grown into one of the most important European independent labels, exploring different (mostly experimental) genres.
Apart from releasing new music, they also have a fine taste in finding albums worth re-releasing. Often, the re-releases are paired to the release of a new album by the same artist.

Origamibiro Collection

In the case of Origamibiro (an audio-visual collective consisting of Tom Hill, Andy Tytherleigh and visual artist Jim Boxall aka The Joy of Box), the new album "Odham's Standard" is accompanied by the release of a 3CD/4LP package called"Collection", presenting their previous albums "Cracked Mirrors and Stopped Clocks" (2007), "Shakkei" (2011), and "Shakkei Remixed" (2012).

Feb 04

More Research

With "The Latest Research from the Department of Electrical Engineering" (2011), Michel Banabila dived deeper into more experimental electronic territory he started exploring on releases like "Spherics" (2001, 2003) and "Signals from Krakrot" (2008).
The sounds on this album are radically different from his more romantic, more acoustic ethno-jazz releases, but they never lost the characteristic 'human touch'.

On "More Research from the Same Department", Banabila is vigorously searching for the heart and soul of electrical machinery, like an explorer presenting his discoveries.

Jan 26

Broken Memories - Photo: Rxist13

If one of the criteria for 'ambient' music is that you can comfortably fall asleep to it, I guess you'd better skip this particular mix. Although it starts quiet and reassuring with soothing vocal chords from Silvestrov's "The Lord's Prayer", the mood disintegrates and sometimes can become rather unsettling - depending on your own personal 'incidental memories', of course.

For reasons I can't really explain, this mix works better if you listen on speakers instead of headphones - just let the airwaves flow for maximum immersion.

Jan 13

Hymnal Remixes

In March 2013 and the months following, Benoit Pioulard (Thomas Meluch) caused quite a stir with "Hymnal", his fourth release for the Kranky label. Inspired by 'the ubiquity of religious iconography and grandiose cathedrals' he had encountered throughout a year spent in southeastern England and on the European mainland, he presented a unique mix of hazy psych-folk songs and ambient instrumental tracks, with the aid of labelmates Felix (Lucinda Chua and Chris Summerlin) and Kyle Bobby Dunn.

Almost one full year later, the 12 tracks from 'Hymnal' get extensive re-workings on "Hymnal Remixed" - a 19-track double album released on the Lost Tribe Sound label.

Jan 12

A Relation of a Journey cover

Now there's a cute little package: a 3" CD packed in a transparent geographical map, packed in a foldout postcard, packed in a beautiful black embossed paper envelope. Oh, the joys of holding a handmade DiY-artwork packages that is obviously created with love..!

Until now I had not heard of Steven M. Halliday in any way, and not much information can be found about him online, although he has "worn many hats throughout his career from producer to sound designer, musicologist to occasional film composer and consultant".
Also, I did not know anything about "A Relation of a Journey" - it was just someone's online recommendation that triggered my interest.

All the greater was my surprise when listening to this little gem: within the short timespan of just sixteen minutes, classical music, ambient drones, field recordings and experimental soundscapes merge into an adventurous musical journey.

Dec 25

"Piano Acts"
Nils Frahm; Simon James Phillips; Spyros Polychronopoulos

Nils Frahm - Spaces

Possibly the most well-known artist mentioned here is keyboard wizard Nils Frahm. Whoever has seen him perform live will definitely remember that performance clearly. His music can be extremely melodic, making it accessible to a wide audience, yet he's not afraid to search for some extremes during the process.
After each performance, people often asked him which of his albums best represented what they had just witnessed. Since such an album did not really exist, "Spaces" was specifically assembled with that question in mind. And indeed it perfectly captures a Nils Frahm performance.

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