Archive for the ‘Ambient’ Category

Basecamp – 2 Thingz [2013]
November 19, 2013

One sent over by my much better half, Basecamp look to be doing a cracking job of meshing R&B/Dub percussions with huge sweeping synths and textured electronic landscapes. While in itself that would normally be all I need to sign up, you also have a fantastic set of vocals that really polish the track into a total cracker.

They have rather generously uploaded their entire EP to Soundcloud and while all the tracks are great in their own right, this is the standout for me. Its all about the bleeps man.

Here is the artist page with links to the entire EP for your listening pleasure, enjoy.

Carbon Based Lifeforms – Euphotic [2010]
September 4, 2012

My apologies for the intermittent posting, work and life just keeps on getting wedged between me and my tunes. Ive not even put any new tracks on the the old iPod for months.

Not a big problem though, not when you have the likes of the excellent “Interloper” album from Carbon Based Lifeforms to keep you company. This track is definately one of the standouts on this cracking album though. Rather than the almost exclusively electronic offering found on the rest of the album, Euphotic goes one step by integrating a wonderful etheral vocal track that lifts this head and shoulders above many ambient EDM offerings.

It still features the peerless layering that CBL are known for, its just that vocal and accompanying string section that make this an epic tune. Get on it, close your eyes and drift away!

Dadub – Refraction [2012]
August 8, 2012

Now this is what you call ambient electronica, a journey through some of the lushest soundscapes you can imagine. Clocked this from the Electronic Explorations podcast courtesy of Rob Booth and I strongly suggest you go subscribe.

As for Dadub, what else is there to say other than stick it on, close your eyes and let it wash you away.

Sub Sub – Past [1992]
September 29, 2011

A masterstroke of ambient/downtempo from The Doves, formerly known as Sub Sub. The whole Coast EP is a stormer and should be required listening for anyone with a passing interest in music. This is the second track on Side A and is probably the most laid back of all. Its a ridiculously simple composition, some bongos, a shaker, a snare and a catchy as hell bassline. But as with all simple things that work, the parts become so much greater than the whole.

From Discogs
This would have to be one of the finest Progressive House EP’s of 1992, if not all time! The quality of production on this entire EP is the finest you will ever come across. Classy tunes all round. Summer bliss. Both “Inside Out” and “Inside Of This” are the big stand out tunes on this EP. They’ve also, all so subtley, segued these two tunes for not stop listening bliss. The only place you’ll find the track “Inside Out” is on this EP!! “Inside Of This” is featured on Sub Sub’s CD “Full Fathom Five”. Also included on this CD is the 3rd amazing tune found on the flip side of the Coast EP titled “Past”. This tune is pure balaeric, lazing under the Ibiza sun, sipping on your favourite cocktail, bliss!! Ahhhhhhh……

Absolutely stunning EP of mellow funky beats. ‘Past’ is one of my all time favourite chill out tunes, a stunning ambient masterpiece with a sublime guitar that transports you to your favourite overseas destination. This is just pure balearic bliss throughout. As rare as rocking horse shit or you will almost certainly have to pay top dollar for this record. Sub Sub later went on to become the Doves (quite successful Indie band) but this is by far their finest moment.

Bjork – Virus [2011]
August 22, 2011

Caught this on KCRW this morning and it blew me away. Deep rumbling bass, almost Dubsteppy in its arrangement, playing underneath this ridiculously eccentric bells and vocal composition from Bjork. You have to give it a couple of listens to really let it settle in on you but once it does, its a wonderful experience. Uplifting as only Bjork can do, with that mental voice of hers with some bonkers lyrics that make sense only after the third or fourth listen. Classic, irreplaceable Bjork business.

Orbital – One Perfect Sunrise [2004]
July 18, 2011

What was supposedly meant to be Orbital’s final release, One Perfect Sunrise in fact was their last track for about four years before reforming and touring again. That said, the track definately smacks of the melancholia of a departing friend, coupled with the sweeping uplifting string and vocal arrangement that almost suggests that “Dont Worry Folks, We’ll Be Back”. It is a beautiful song however, if a *wee* bit pretentious if we’re being honest. Regardless, I think overall the track never made it as big as it should have done, its such a crowd pleasing melody that it would make the end of any set just floor a crowd I reckon. End of the night as you stand in a field with the break of dawn, this floating over the hedges? Golden.

There are a bunch of cracking remixes too, ranging from standard house offerings to cracking breaks.
Orbital – One Perfect Sunrise (Hybrid’s Stereo 8 Remix)
Orbital – One Perfect Sunrise (Reuben Halsey Upbeat mix)
Orbital – One Perfect Sunrise (Phil Hartnoll Mix)

From Discogs
This is one 12″ not to be missed. It’s the most perfect farewell single any band could ever come up with! The original Orbital mix always brings a lump to my throat – it’s so emotional and beautiful… From the amazing vocals by Lisa Gerrard to the perfect instrumentation…this is without a shade of doubt one of the best progressive trance tracks ever produced.
Stereo 8 remix on side A does not disappoint either. It’s a harder clubby take on the track, but still very haunting and atmospheric.
A truly fantastic release! Orbital will never be forgotten. But they will be HUGELY missed.

This record is worth owning for the awesome JDS remix of Orbital’s ‘Acid Pants’ alone. Reminiscent of the Chemical Brothers at their stomping best only better, this is probably his finest moment. An absolute monster of a tune that builds and builds into a frenetic ‘hoover’ climax, and a tirade of furious ‘live’ drum samples and frenetic 303-style squeaks and squiggles. This tune is a jaw dropper that fans of any of the contemporary hard dance genres will go absolutely nuts for!

The Alpines – Cocoon [2011]
July 11, 2011

Now this is what im talking about, huge sweeping vocals and lush all encompassing synth. Nothing quite beats being wrapped up in a huge orchestral blanket of electronica and Cocoon has this in spades. I hadnt ever heard of The Alpines before about an hour ago and im now hooked. Catherine Pockson has a pitch perfect vocal range that lends itself perfectly to Bob Matthews arrangements. The components for the most part are simple but refined making the whole sound far more engaging than any one part. Its pretty hard to find that balance I think, doubly so in this kind of “Pop” tinted electronica. Such a refreshing sound, I hope they absolutely dominate when this is released.

Taken from The Guardian, New Band Of the Day, 15th Dec. 2010
Alpines are one ice maiden with a powerful voice and one musician with an impressive keyboards arsenal. Catherine Pockson’s vocals hover – yell, blare, sigh – somewhere between the torchy melodrama of Clare Maguire and the nu-goth stridency of Zola Jesus, with some of the sublimated blues of Beth Gibbons and quivery excitedness of Elly Jackson, with maybe a smidgeon of the ethereal airiness of Liz Cocteau. It’s very much a voice for now. Bob Matthews, meanwhile, creates music that drifts between eras and genres: it moves at a trip-hop pace, utilising some of the same post- or neo-dubstep production techniques heard on the xx album as well as clanging beats not heard since the days of “metalbashing” when groups such as Test Department would attack stages with pneumatic drills. Matthews, who wasn’t even born when Einstürzende Neubauten were busy collapsing new buildings, takes some of that industrial noise and puts it in a pop context, which is thoughtful of him, because we rather value our hearing.

Imagine La Roux redoing In for the Kill as a funeral dirge and you’ll have some idea of what Alpines sound like. Unlike La Roux, however, this isn’t just a vehicle for the female frontwoman while the male synth whizz takes refuge in anonymity. They both want to be adored, as Ian Brown would have it, although he would have said “wanna” – suburban kids Pockson and Matthews are far too posh to apocopate. They’re bright, too, with plenty of ideas. They call what they do “night pop” and they’ve got all sorts of arty plans for presentation and packaging. Catherine writes a blog detailing her intentions for Alpines imagery and her love of French visionary painters. You can also see how Alpines music was used in a film by photographer Rankin for designer Hannah Marshall’s catwalk show during fashion week. “The blog captures my ideas and influences on our aesthetic as a whole,” she told us recently. She also sent us some random images that “represent the colour spectrum for all future Alpines designs” and some pictures of the star Nebula because “it is the combination of the electric and the ethereal, which I love”. You’ve got to applaud their ambition. What’s that sound? That was us, applauding.

Astralasia – Aloo [1994]
June 27, 2011

A beautiful piece of Psytrace from 1994, with more a focus on the relaxing nature of Goa rather than the up all night with your head full of madness rocking out. Simply breathtaking in its execution, it retains a decent amount of beat so you dont get bored. The strings are just phenomenal, all encompassing and lush. Total perfection.

From Discogs
‘Aloo’ really does make this cd worth tracking down and it is only available in this format to my knowledge unfortunately. First heard it only within the last few months on a rather anonymous digital-only radio station called ‘Chill’, appropriately enough, a station with no dj waffle but with a playlist that sounds like someone’s iPod on permanent shuffle; however this track would always be a welcome re-appearance.

The title track currently sounds a little dated but ‘Aloo’ offers timeless wholesome uplifting ambience that really is a joy to hear; smiles all round when played I assure. ‘Zero Celsius’ whilst of the same gentle ambient persuasion, and by no means a dud track, nevertheless after ‘Aloo’ sounds rather average by comparison.

The title of this release is an Arabic term meaning “hashish eater” and is the origin of the English word “assassin” – I don’t know if that’s relevant to this release but it’s a great bit of trivia! The title-track Hashishin is a 130bpm dance track with a positive vibe and a cheerful “to a better place” refrain – it’s nice enough, maybe slightly poppy, but the key track on this EP is the second one. Aloo is quite simply a totally divine piece of floaty, trancey, beat-led chill-out music. This fades into the equally chilled Zero Celsius giving you a quarter-hour of very pleasant and relaxed listening …whatever you’re eating. 😉

Alien Mutation – Alqa [1994]
March 17, 2011

Yet another corker from the extremely prolific Jake Stephenson, this time solidly planted in the ambient side of electronica. But much like the A side, Starship Heart Of Gold, this track is all about the layers and morphing soundscapes. The middle of this track is absolutely transcendental! Completely and totally LUSH on all levels.

Ready For Dead – Ready For Dead (Ambient Mix) [1993]
March 17, 2011

Now this is what im talking about, a classic ambient track with a huge progressive house slant. Reminds me of some of my all time Guerilla and R&S favourites. Its superbly layered with several soundscapes moving together in unison while that unrelenting bassdrum keeps the track from getting stale. The string section in the middle is just awe inspiring, an absolute joy to rock out too. The regular mix is a lot less floaty and a lot more banging than this version with a face tearing acid number, its a great AA 12″ if you can find it.

Ready For Dead – Ready For Dead (Original Mix)