Recommendations for expanding my ambient collection

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Paradiddle, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Paradiddle

    Paradiddle Forum Resident Thread Starter

    At HiredGoon's suggestion I'm starting a thread for "must have" ambient albums that I should check out. Here's a list of what I have so far, all of which I enjoy. Any recommendations for adding on to this are much welcomed! I figure this could be a good resource for others interested in "classic" ambient albums, as well.

    Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works Vol. 1
    Biosphere - Substrata
    Brian Eno - Music for Airports
    " " - On Land
    " " - Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks
    B. Eno and Harold Budd - The Pearl
    DJ Olive - Sleep
    Jon Hassell w/ B. Eno - Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics
    Steve Roach - Dreamtime Return
    " " - Structures from Silence
    Jonn Serrie - Thousand Star
    Stars of the Lid - The Ballasted Orchestra
    " " " " - The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid
    " " " " - And Their Refinement of the Decline
    Michael Stearns - Encounter
    Front 242 Addict likes this.
  2. yamfox

    yamfox Forum Resident

    Also, you should get Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2. I am particularly fond of the works of Oval, try 94 Diskont. Also some Future Days era Can.
    Renz likes this.
  3. gillcup

    gillcup Senior Member

    Raleigh, NC, USA
    A few recommendations:

    Tangerine Dream - Zeit, Phaedra, Rubycon
    Klaus Schulze - Timewind, Blackdance, Moondawn, Picture Music
    Fripp & Eno - No Pussyfooting, Evening Star
    Robert Fripp - various Soundscapes titles
    Cluster - 71, s/t
    Edgar Froese - Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, Aqua, Macular Transfer
    Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygene
    Peter Michael Hamel - Nada, Bardo, Colours of Time
    Harold Budd - The Serpent (in Quicksilver)/Abandoned Cities
    Michael Hoenig - Departure from Northern Wasteland
  4. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Berkeley, CA
  5. bluej

    bluej Forum Resident

    Dayton, Ohio
    In addition to Ambient 1 & 4 (already on your list), you don't want to pass up "Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror" by Harold Budd & Brian Eno, Cluster & Eno's self titled album, and their second (credited to "Eno - Moebius - Roedelius") "After the Heat."

    Also worth checking out:
    Eno's "Another Green World," which is not strictly ambient but has some really nice proto-ambient instrumentals.

    Harmonia & Eno '76 "Tracks & Traces," which is a nice blend of ambient and krautrock groove.

    Eno's newest album with Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins, "Small Craft on a Milk Sea," is excellent too and probably the best work he's done in years.

    -Simon (bluej's son)
    Sternodox and Ilovefooty like this.
  6. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend


    Very cool. I just sampled it, and learned about their business model.

    I'd be interested in subscribing, but it appears you need to listen via PC (says it needs Flash player), as opposed to Squeezebox or other traditional internet radio.
  7. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Please label the photos you post

    Austin, TX
  8. aaronfirebrand

    aaronfirebrand Well-Known Member

    I've been enjoying BVDub (Brock Van Wey) lately.

    Marconi Union's Distance, also.

  9. HiredGoon

    HiredGoon Forum Resident


    I heartily endorse these ambient events or products:

    A Small Good Thing - "Slim Westerns" -- one can imagine tumbleweeds rolling through the desert listening to this.

    Vidna Obmana - "The River Of Appearance" -- Vidna Obmana collaborates a lot with Steve Roach and Alio Die and others, but this is my favourite of his solo works. It's a simple work of shimmering keyboards and piano.

    Bill Laswell - Rasa (Serene Timeless Joy) -- a single 60min track ... the description makes it sound New Agey but it's actually a long drone with some Gamelan sounds, and Laswell's trademark bass.

    Brian Eno - Ambient 1 (of course) and Ambient 2 (with Harold Budd)

    Global Communication - "76:14" -- out Tangerine Dreams Tangerine Dream in parts. Classic. The "Pentamerous Metamorphosis" CD is also worth picking up, if you can find it, though it has more beats.

    Harold Budd - "The Pearl" -- a collaboration with Brian Eno, very similar to Eno's Ambient 2, in that it is processed piano with electronics.

    Jeff Pearce - "Lingering Light" -- typical Jeff Pearce CDs are just solo electric guitar, later releases were more processed, but this is a solo Chapman Stick and is pretty good IMHO.

    Labradford - "E Luxo So" -- guitar, dulcimer, etc

    Marconi Union - "Distance" -- kinda like an electronic Labradford.

    Robert Fripp - A Blessing Of Tears -- processed guitar

    Robert Rich - "Yearning" -- electronics and eastern instruments. There's lots of other Robert Rich worth investigating as well (such as "Trances/Drones" and "Seven Veils").

    Spacetime Continuum - "Sea Biscuit" -- some great electronics and beats.

    Steve Roach - too many to list ... try "The Magnificent Void" for darker stuff, "Dust To Dust" for that western sound, "Slow Heat" for long-form beatless, "The Light Fantastic" for more 'fractal' kind of sound. You really need to go to and check out his extensive discography across a range of styles.

    There was a lot more I was going to list (such as Sun Electric's "30.7.94" and Steve Roach's "The Ambient Expanse") but these titles seem to be out of print.

    There's also tons of other stuff from The Orb, Future Sounds Of London, the Fax label, etc etc.

  10. rcb30

    rcb30 Fender Rhodesian

    Richmond, VA
    Artists I've really enjoyed discovering in the last 2-3 years -

    - As mentioned, Stars Of The Lid (especially Refinement ... Decline)
    - Eluvium - Talk Amongst The Trees
    - Hauschka - Ferndorf, and also Snowflakes & Carwrecks (technically ambient? works the same for me)
  11. Catywampus

    Catywampus Forum Resident

    The ambient genre (and its many strains) is perhaps my favorite music. I've been an avid listener for over 20 years now. In addition to the many excellent suggestions already posted above, here are some more in no particular order.

    Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook: Sleeps with the Fishes
    Vladislav Delay: Multila (Groundbreaking and frightening.)
    Loscil: First Narrows
    Belong: October Language
    William Basinski: The Disintegration Loops
    The Caretaker: Persistent Repetition of Phrases
    David Sylvian & Holger Czukay: Plight & Premonition
    Fennesz/Sakamoto: Cendre
    Rafael Anton Irisarri: The North Bend
    Jacaszek: Treny
    Thomas Koner: Permafrost
    Thomas Koner: La Barca
    Marsen Jules: Les Fleurs
    Marcus Fischer: Monocoastal
    Jochem Paap: Vrs-Mbnt-Pcs 9598 II
    Pan American: Quiet City
    Rameses III: I Could Not Love You More
    Richard Skelton: Landings
    Underworld & Gabriel Yared: Breaking & Entering [OST]
    Sylvain Chauveau: Un Autre Decembre
    Aidan Baker: The Sea Swells A Bit...
    Ketil Bjoernstad, David Darling: Epigraphs

    Also check out for interviews, spotlights, and a 24/7 streaming ambient channel.
    Ilovefooty likes this.
  12. Paradiddle

    Paradiddle Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for all the recommendations...should keep my busy for at least the next 10 years. ;-)

    BTW, in what format do folks most enjoy listening to this stuff, out of curiosity? Most of my ambient music is on CD (or even MP3s) so I can easily rip them for listening on my iPod, since a lot of this is perfect for listening through headphones at work.
  13. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident

    Thanks for the recommendations, you ambient experts.

    I just ordered these two from Amazon Marketplace:
    Bill Laswell - Rasa
    Global Communication - 76:14
  14. HiredGoon

    HiredGoon Forum Resident


    76:14 is a classic ... every home should have a copy IMHO.

    And it seems to be ridiculously cheap as well (Amazon was showing new copies for just under $6, but it seems to have jumped up to over $8 now ... but resellers have it for under $3 new).

    There's some wonderful ambient CDs on the Fax label, including some classics, but since each release was limited to 500 or 1000 copies some of 'em are hard to find. I'm thinking of "Ambiant Otaku" or "Shades Of Orion" or "2350 Broadway", etc. There was a 4CD compilation called "The Ambient Cookbook" with nary a duff track, I just wish it was still in print.

    Here's a site that may be useful:

    Pynchjan likes this.
  15. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage

    Vancouver, CANADA
    Not sure if this is considered strictly ambient but along the lines of the depth and intelligence of Stars of the Lid I recommend Terry Riley's Shri Camel.

    Attached Files:

    Ilovefooty likes this.
  16. BlueSpeedway

    BlueSpeedway overground | underground

    London, England
    This is a great album, nice to see it get a mention.


    Roger Eno: Voices
    Holger Czukay-Rolf Dammers: Canaxis 5
    Front 242 Addict likes this.
  17. hutlock

    hutlock Forum Resident

    Cleveland, OH, USA
    Honestly, almost everything recommended above is great.

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the Kompakt label's Pop Ambient Series -- they've put out a compilation near the beginning of every year since 2001 (Pop Ambient 2011 is due soon, actually!) and they're a great way to get a cross-section of artists in one place.

    I would also mention that my favorite ambient albums of the last year (even though they both came out in 2009) were both on the Echospace [detroit] imprint: Brock van Wey's White Clouds Drift On and On and Variant's The Setting Sun. GOOOOOOD stuff there.
    Ilovefooty likes this.
  18. musicman9999

    musicman9999 VDC Vinyl & CDs

    Braselton, GA
    Terry Riley - Rainbow In Curved Air
  19. ralphb

    ralphb "First they came for..."

    Brooklyn, New York
    Seefeel - Quique

    I'll second:
    Wiliiam Basinski - The Disintegration Loops
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  20. brew ziggins

    brew ziggins Forum Prisoner

    The Village
    Lots of goodies recommended. Also...

    Micheal Brook/Brian Eno - Hybrid (I always recommend this one)
    Micheal Shrieve - The Leaving TimeLand - Archipelego
    Steve Roach, Jeffrey Fayman, Robert Fripp - Trance Spirits - This has been in the car CD player for the last two weeks, and I can' seem to get it out.
    Again, any number of Steve Roach discs, esp his collaborations with Robert Rich, like Strata or Soma

    I don't know if I really consider Jon Hassell to be 'ambient', but if you like Possible Musics V1, the rest of the EG albums are wonderful, as is Power Spot on ECM and, hell pretty much his whole catalog.
    proedros likes this.
  21. Lontano

    Lontano Forum Resident

    Arve Henriksen - Cartography
    Nils Petter Molvaer - Hamada
    Jan Bang - ...and Poppies from Kandahar
  22. elvotix

    elvotix Forum Resident

    Marlton, NJ
    a second recommendation for Kompakt's Pop Ambient series; I especially recommend Kompakt label owner Wolfgang Voigt's releases as GAS - there is a 4-disc box titled "Nah Und Fern" with the four GAS titles included. Look for the GAS book & cd, too.

    also, a second recommendation for Ryuichi Sakamoto & Christian Fennesz's Cendre.
  23. phish

    phish Jack Your Body

    Biloxi, MS, USA
    that gas box is awesome. i've got that one. if you like dark ambient, check out plague recordings.
  24. Steve Hillage's Radio Dome Music -an early ambient classic from 1979.
    Fishoutofwater likes this.
  25. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Please label the photos you post

    Austin, TX
    I have every single Pop Ambient collection and all are really good. That Variant is in the Deepchord/Modell vein? Brock's album is one of the best releases of the last few years.
    Although not really "ambient" the Sending Orbs label has been killing it last 5 years. More melodic and beaty like the Artificial Intelligence series from Warp. Check that last Secede album out if you can find it.

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