Kelpe
Run With the Floating,
Weightless Stillness

(Drut, 2020)

Earlier this year, Kel McKeown regained the rights to an old Kelpe record (2010’s Margins 12”) and reissued it on his Bandcamp page with a revealing note: “This is what I used to sound like.” No kidding. While that EP revolves around neon-lit rhythms and laser-cut dance loops, Run With the Floating, Weightless Stillness — […]
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Biosphere
Dropsonde
(Biophon Records, 2020)

The latest Biosphere LP to receive a proper reissue through the producer’s Biophon imprint may not be his most iconic effort (Cirque and Substrata land on more far more best-of lists), but that doesn’t make it any less essential. First teased in 2005 on Touch, the record started out as a six-track survey of slow-moving film […]
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Concentric Records
On… Insen and
Trans-Millenia Music

In the spirit of Concentric Records’ recent self-titled playlist, Simone Merli (Soundwalk Collective) and Luca Calo (Born In 1986) also broke two of their favorite ambient records down in detail. Both set the scene for the label’s opening gambit (the three-part compilation Profile of the Lines) beautifully, as if they’d just been asked to reveal […]
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Andrew Tuttle On…
Playthroughs

Words ANDREW TUTTLE There’s definitely recent albums I could just as easily write about, but I want to allow myself more years with them, so I’m going to write about a record that I’ve had well over a decade to get acquainted with. I couldn’t tell you exactly when I first heard Playthroughs (Kranky, 2002), […]
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Steve Roach
Structures From Silence
(Fortuna, 1984)

It doesn’t take long for Steve Roach to lull most listeners to sleep — or at the very least, a semi-comatose state — on Structures From Silence. Originally released in 1984, and expanded into an essential three-disc edition 30 years later, this is as good as the ambient icon gets — three lush, synth-led pieces […]
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Roger & Brian Eno
Mixing Colours
(Deutsche Grammophon, 2020)

When it comes to ambient music, there’s often a fine line between dreadful and devastating, boring and beautiful. Brian Eno has ridden it for a while now, beginning with his bedridden 1975 breakthrough Discreet Music. Largely inspired by a hospital stay that left him listening to music at a level so low he couldn’t perceive […]
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Nils Frahm
Empty
(Erased Tapes, 2020)

It’s hard to think of a more intimate, and raw-sounding Nils Frahm record than the one he released last Saturday to celebrate Piano Day. Dropped without warning — like a tree falling in a forest with no one around — Empty was originally played on a solo upright piano in the summer of 2012 as […]
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Kazuya Nagaya On…
Triodion

Words KAZUYA NAGAYA I’m not really sure if I could call this ambient music. It is essentially contemporary music, but it would be fine to call it that in a broader sense. All of Arvo Pärt’s albums enthrall me with their overwhelming beauty: Tabula Rasa, Alina, Arbos, Te Deum. But I picked Triodion (Hyperion, 2003) […]
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