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The Innocence Mission – We Walked in Song

Innocence Mission

It’s hard to tell what it is exactly that touches me everytime I hear the songs of The Innocence Mission. Is it the pureness (innocence?) of singer-songwriter Karen’s voice, reminding me of early 10.000 Maniacs? (This connection is no coincidence: Karen and Don Peris contributed to Natalie Merchant’s Ophelia).
Is it the open, seemingly simple, acoustic arrangements played by Don Peris on guitar and Mike Bitts on bass?
Is it the combination? Does it matter, anyway? 
What really matters is that The Innocence Mission released at least TEN records, and that none of these gained any serious attention in Europe. Please, notice them! You can start with ‘We Walked in Song’ and work backwards from there…

Nest – Nest


Ambient music collectors no longer visit the local record shop to find the latest releases. Most of the times, the titles are not even stocked. Still, the genre is lively and growing bigger than it ever was. Not through the ‘old’ distribution channels and brick and mortar shops, but through the internet mostly. This weblog only covers a small tip of the iceberg of the music available.

Lawrence English – For Varying Degrees of Winter

Lawrence English

The past winter here was not very cold; it didn’t feel like ‘Winter’ at all. Australian composer Lawrence English must have foreseen this when he recorded the music for this album “For Varying degrees of Winter”, full of beautiful haunting electro acoustic music.

Arve Henriksen – Strjon

Ambientblog

On this third solo project Arve Henriksen is accompanied by two fellow Supersilent members: Helge Sten (a.k.a. DeathProd) and Ståle Storløkken. Unlike most of the Supersilent albums Strjon breathes a natural, Zen-like balance and peacefulness.
Henriksen’s trumpet-playing is perfectly balanced with the almost chilling sound sculptures accompanying it.

Pole – Steingarten

Steingarten

Looking at the cover should be your first warning. Steingarten shows the kind of castle even Disney would have considered ‘over the top’. In a landscape you could never even imagine.
The warning seems to serve a purpose, because at first casual listen this album feels far more lightweight than earlier Pole albums. We did not expect this kind of poppy electronics from Stefan Betke!
Well: time to adjust the expectations and retry.

Pocka – Uhrwerk

Ambientblog

Pocka - Uhrwerk

Good news for those of you that are fascinated by the current Buddha Machine hype (like me) : there’s a free download available of the album Uhrwerk by Pocka here.
It may not be as layered as Robert Henke’s ‘Layering Buddha’, but the sound of these Buddha Machine interpretations is very comfortable and authentic.
The recognisable Buddha Machine loops are enhanced by subtle bass guitar, piano, guitar pedals and software effects.

Michael Fahres – The Tubes featuring Jon Hassell

Ambientblog

Michael Fahres - The Tubes

Cold Blue Music, a Californian record label that everyone enjoying contemporary ambient/electronic/minimalism should follow closely, is about to release a cd called “The Tubes” by Michael Fahres.

On the title track of this fascinating album, Fahres recorded the acoustic effect of the rock tube formations on El Hierro: a breathing sound created by waves forcing air through the volcanic rocks. Mixed with Jon Hassell’s breathy trumpet playing and Mark Atkins’ haunting didgeridoo, this piece is an ode to the breath of life itself…

Greg Haines – Slumber Tides

Ambientblog

Greg Haines - Slumber Tides

In between the growing names of contemporary (post-)classic composers, Greg Haines’ debut stands out for it’s own style. It’s not trying to be too ‘classical’, because it’s more electronic than just that. But on the other hand it’s not exactly ‘ambient’ too (to continue the previous post about the ambient subgenres: we could define this music as ‘classbient’ – classy classic ambient 🙂 )

The record label Miasmah namedrops some of Greg’s inspirations: Arvo Pärt, Ryan Teague, William Basinski… If these names mean anything to you you know where to go. And dont’ forget Colleen for the sound of the glockenspiel.

This is a great cd for the dark winter days coming up!

The Ambient Subgenre Definitions

Ambientblog

On the ambient music mailing list (ambient@hyperreal.org), Stephen Fruitman recently dropped the term "piambient" as a description for ambient-piano recordings. This, inevitably, led to a list of ambient sub-genre definitions which I cannot resist to copy here:

Foambient = folky ambient
Skambient = idm-type ambient
Shambient = shamanic ambient
Harmbient = hard ambient
Oh!mbient = surprising ambient
Smarmbient = Intelligent ambient
Dumbient = Unintelligent ambient
Indumbient = industrial ambient
Dambient = dark ambient
Dimbient = slightly less dark ambient
Clambient = classically-tinged ambient
Trambient = traditional ambient
Grambient = ambient your gran might like
Mumbient = ambient your Mum might like
Flimflambient = insubstantial pretentious ambient
Jambient = ambient with an improv element.
Wambamthankyoumambient = a taxonomic domain into which you may conveniently place anything in a post-Bowie vein.

Nihilists may be referred to the Amnotbient list.
Third persons to Isbient.
Pluralists to Arebient
Minimalists to mbnt

(thanks Alan Lockett)

Ambien = non-habit forming ambient
(Brent Colflesh)

Ommbient = far eastern-tinged ambient
(Rob :: db)

Wombient – Drone ambient that simulates environments outside of the womb; music for the womb.
(Jacob Newman)

Well now I’m finally getting a map of the complete genre!
Please post your own valuable additions too.