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Ten Lovely Ambient Albums of 2017, For When You Want to Get Mellow

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 2, 2018 04:31pm | Post a Comment

10 Ambient Albums of 2017

By Michael Henning

Everybody needs to unwind at some point, whether it's at the end of a long week of work, a stressful day where things feel like they are getting out of control, or even just hearing about another frustrating development on the political front. When you start to feel the need to mellow out, these ten lovely ambient albums released in 2017 will help you to calm down and really relax. Or, if you're already pretty chill, they will help you to achieve ice cold status, like a polar bear eating an ice cream sandwich on top of a glacier.

Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society

10.  Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society - Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society (Six Degrees)

Lovely languid clouds of synthesizer melodies from this duo, which includes Bombay Dub Orchestra main man Garry Hughes. Where that project focuses on global fusion beats with eastern-influenced orchestral arrangements, this is simply two guys making simple ambient music with a large collection of synths. The mellow works on this CD are very nice for nighttime listening, or a pleasant way to start your day in a quiet introspective mode.
Secret Pyramid

9.  Secret Pyramid - Two Shadows Collide (Ba Da Bing)

Recent Brian Eno

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, October 23, 2017 05:59pm | Post a Comment

By Jon Longhi

When I was a kid I always used to hear this kind of perfect music in my head that I could never find in reality. It was this kind of gentle formless music of the spheres that didn’t have traditional drums and bass, and just kind of drifted in a timeless space. Sometimes I’d hear elements of it in Beatles songs or in musical passages by psychedelic bands. But it wasn’t until I heard a couple of tracks on Brian Eno’s Music For Airports that I finally heard something that matched what I heard in my head. Critics eventually named this music Ambient Music and I’ve been a huge Eno fan ever since I first heard those tracks.

If you’re a Brian Eno fan, the past few years have been golden. Ever since 2005’s Another Day On Earth, he’s been on a roll and has provided his fans with a steady output of material in various styles. Another Day itself was the first vocal album he’d done in years and it has a few of the best vocal tracks of his career on it. “This” and the title track are as good as any vocal song he’s ever written, and the classical music break in the middle of “How Many Worlds” may be one of the most sublime passages of music in his entire catalog.



In 2006 he released 77 Million Paintings, a generative software program. When you install it on your computer it randomly combines sounds and images so that your computer will endlessly create ambient music that never repeats accompanied by a music video that endlessly changes. If you run it through your widescreen TV you can turn your living room into a Brian Eno art installation that constantly evolves into endlessly trippy soothing vistas.

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Divine Discs of the Electronic Continuum

Posted by Rick Frystak, September 13, 2012 02:28pm | Post a Comment


I am a searcher, never quite satisfied with music and sounds that already exist. There are many like myself out there. I am consistently persuing electronics-based records like these herein that testify to the pioneering spirit of those musicians, composers and scientists in search of the newest “musical “sounds available via technology of all levels of sophistication. Throughout history the primitive object or idea will lead the way to a monumentally sophisticated one, and visa-versa, as long as one is paying attention. Take thefuzzbox for example. That thing lead a revolution of little boxes that one plugs one’s instrument into to get big, wild (and conversely subtle) effects on said instrument ranging from fuzzy distortion to multiple octave voices to…God knows what now, huge racks of processing gear for a single riff.  At the same time in another part of the culture, guys and gals in long white lab coats were fiddling with room-sized computers to get a single tone that was not produced by a musical instrument, but alas, hallehlujah, a machine did it! And other folks were stringing audio tape across rooms and cutting inches of tape recordings to compose new recordings (Musique Concrete) to make other recordings to manipulate and, well, you get it.

The sense of experimentation and the ability to manifest those ideas has never left the true creative artist. There are sonic “searchers” among us that will never be satisfied with what already exists in the known sound worlds, and it is this motivation that fuels records like these. The daring ones, without concern of peer’s criticisms or naysayer’s pessimism, have forged ahead with whatever tools available to take these ideas and run with…no, FLY with them to the edges of reality.

Fortunately, labels like Creel Pone, EM, Wergo, DGG, edition RZ, Sub Rosa and many others have lovingly reissued some of these treasured  discs and simultaneously introduced new audiences to these sounds and accompanying legend. These LPs below are all original issues that Amoeba has miraculously acquired over the past 6 months and I present these as a sort of holy offering by clicking these titles and being taken to Amoeba.com for purchasing. Truly, these are sacred documents.
 

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This Moment's Glory With ECM Records

Posted by Rick Frystak, March 4, 2012 05:56pm | Post a Comment
ECM Records has always been one of my favorite labels, peerlessly rich in variety and deeply honest with it's mission and intent of quality. I remember my first ECM LP was an unplayed white-label promo copy of Terje Rypdal's What Comes After, which really set me up to fall in love and get on board with the vision of Manfred Eicher, the label's owner and director. The sound on that record, with it's reverberant, creamy echo and crystal clear, dissonant music and the impression it made on me shall never be forgotten (and I can revisit it at will). Was this Jazz music? Rock? Classical? I didn't care at all to label it, only to consume as much as possible of this new sound, and start down the path to discovery of each title I could find in my town and towns around Los Angeles.

Of course, I didn't love everything that the label released, but I always listened with very open ears. Just the cover art direction alone still fascinates me and is the subject of multiple design books. Manfred has also become the preeminant Classical music producer since I've been a listener, not an easy coup, resulting in a perfect fit with his sound and the composer's vision. It still applies that ECM is a creative energy second to none with no cliches, no boundries, and no borders as to what can be done within it's domain, Year after year, which totals over 40 now, the ECM label has been there for me, re-igniting my passion for music, and with a quality like no other.

Here, fellow travellers, are some of my favorties of this moment's newest CD releases form this wonderful treasure. Click on the titles to see if they are available for purchase at Amoeba.com.

And what's your favorite ECM release?

Visit www.ecmrecords.com

 
Boris Yoffe
Song of Songs
ECM 2174

Mr. Yoffe writes impressive volumes of music and this record unveils his lovely genius in the form of exquisitely floating, pensive and dissonant sound for string quartet and 4 voices. Integrating many short pieces assembled to form substantial moods and direction, Yoffe is, to my ears, a major “new” composer of interest. Hovering harmonic heaven in an audioworld somewhere stylistically between Takemitsu and Gesualdo.



Enrico Rava Quintet

Tribe
ECM 2218

Italian trumpeter Rava triumphs once again with this set of gorgeous, bubbling Euro-jazz spirit. Haunting yet accessible. Nostalgic yet cutting-edge melodic storytelling with jabbing, sensuous improvisation. Pianist Giovanni Guidi astounds with his sensitive, harmonic chops. Unique rhythm-section affects equal innovations of the very memorable sort. Mr. Rava never ceases to impress as he continues to write his own legend.  5 stars.


 Gurdjieff Folk Intruments Ensemble
Music of Georges I.Gurdgieff
ECM 2236
Fascinating and sonically splendid collection of late 19th century spiritual music performed by this wonderful 15-member group.  Ethnic potpourri ascending to heights imagined by the composer, with ouds, duduks, santur, tar, saz etc. The flowing continuity of all this with the simplicity of Gurdieff’s composition is entrancing.  Pass the kif.




 Stefano Battlaglia Trio
The River of Anyder

ECM 2011

Stefano delivers a modal style, like a mini-raga, on his piano as this trio pushes and pulls around him to create a glorious coming-together of emotions. The nuance and attention to each sound give this music a unique, spellbinding style. Interplay between the trio fuses the sound into one entity. 5-star sound.




 Ricardo Villalobos/Max Loderbauer
Re:ECM
ECM 2-CD 2011/12

An amazing record. The guys took titles in the ECM catalog, and cut them up and sliced and diced them into new pieces of their own with only said ECM catalog as their sound sources. Small dramas play out with mystery and intelligence. What's that sound? And that? One of the best ambient/concrete/ electronica records I've ever laid ears on. The bar has been reset.



 Keith Jarrett
Rio
ECM 2-CD 2198/99

Keith's in love, and he calls his sigificant other each night before he steps on stage. It shows, as this is one of his best solo piano records he's ever played. ECM rushed it out so we could dig it and I do very, very much. Supreme chops, style, world wisdom, jass knowledge, all in a dramatic improvisation. Breathtaking. Go here.