Tag Archives: ambient

Dreadfully Obvious Classics #2 – Selected Ambient Works Volume 2

saw2A few years back I wrote an email to a friend who had asked for an Aphex Twin recommendation. For whatever reason I closed my email to her with the following line:

Burroughs was the Venetian Snares of magickal sodomy. SAW2 wears a rubber glove.”

Now, that doesn’t make a damn bit of sense whatsoever. The first half – maybe? I can see the argument if you’re fresh out of some of the mid-70s work, all done up with wire hangers and metaphors and executions. The second half is totally pointless and I’m really sorry, A., because that wasn’t even remotely helpful.


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Tim Hecker – An Imaginary Country

heckerWhile this hasn’t actually been released yet, the internet is full of things, such as these words:

I’ve never been up in Tim Hecker‘s urethra before but this particular work is hot to death. Drone upon drone upon drone, but done in short bursts. An epic drone for people who had tried drones before but just couldn’t put in the time required to get their slow lean on. Take a pattern, repeat it, shift it, and build a song from the spaces between. “Paragon Point” and its slow-motion arena rock guitar solo is my personal high point, but things bounce forward quickly enough so that each song is a bit of a larger moment.

The mood is tranquil; the water is warm; the valium was cheap. Go enjoy your bath.

I shall go to the store and buy this on March 10. As a compact disc. Or I might get it on bleep.com. Regardless, money shall be paid.

In the meantime I hope these words of praise suffice.

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Biosphere & Higher Intelligence Agency – Birmingham Frequencies

birminghamHigher Intelligence Agency kinda sucked. That’s being a bit harsh, as they did help shape the concept of “ambient dub” but on the other hand, it’s also an information-free concept.

Silly terms are what they are – silly – but Colourforms is almost ok for what it is, though I’d recommend Global Communication first (and last, really). They had the snap and the style, whereas HIA always had a bit too much cheese. Like Shpongle.

Preemptive disclaimer: I know you did a lot of DMT and Shpongle is very important to you but sometimes the truth hurts. They’re mediocre at best and you damn well know it. Continue reading

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Coil – Time Machines

eskaton10I would like to think that among friends and neighbors my odd tastes are balanced by the acceptance that I know some of what I talk about – at least some of the time. So when I say unto you, dear people, do not listen to this album while driving, I am not merely engaging in some kind of erratic hyperbole, nor am I buying into some kind of homoerotic masculinist cult approach to “penile soundscapes” and the like. I am instead buying into the idea that distracted people moving a two thousand pound death machine are a hazard, both moral and physical.

I will go further than this – sensitive people do not mix well with this sort of music, especially if they are given to drug taking or nervousness. I spent enough time in my late teens and early twenties babysitting people who thought it would be fun to “trip out” but didn’t reckon on having to deal with their mind thrown up on a drive-in movie screen twice the size of the universe. Either they hadn’t been told, dealt only with the fratboy mindset or they’d simply chosen to ignore warnings from reasonable, responsible people, and as such got themselves into a corner with The Fear and had no way out. Not that it isn’t fun to tell someone that everything will be ok every two minutes for an hour and a half, of course, but – ok, I’m kidding. It’s not fun at all.

This piece of work is like The Fear in album form. Either you deal with it or it deals with you. Continue reading

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Eno/Budd – Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror

ambient_2_mirror_lThere are two kinds of people in this world – those who like Brian Eno’s ambient and soundscape works, and those who like his glammy escapades with Roxy Music or his own arty outings. I don’t mind some of Here Come the Warm Jetsthe title track is pretty neat – but for the most part his involvement with rock music was never as interesting as his invention – or mere formalization – of both an aesthetic and a genre.

Roxy Music always made my teeth hurt, even though they were gone before I was born, and I know people love Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy but I’ll be damned if I can understand why. Maybe you had to be there? Hugely influential (just ask TV On The Radio), and Eno has always been a talented producer, but the sum of all parts still leaves me cold.

We can all agree, however, that anyone who can save Fripp from completely disappearing up his own ass is a kind of saint. Continue reading

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Biosphere – Microgravity, Patashnik and Substrata



Unless you’re willing to pay 30 bucks or more, you’re not going to find a physical copy of Microgravity. Since no one buys music anymore, this isn’t really an issue. But read on, and we shall explore why the damn thing is worth $8.91 from the iTunes store or an even ten bucks from bleep.com, to keep it truly, really and really truly real.

These days Biosphere is all about the ambient; an icy ambient that’s filled with coldness and ice cubes and other words that mean “weird and somewhat spooky.” Dude even climbs mountains in his spare time and samples the mountain sounds after he’s done climbing it – the musical equivalent of screwing a supermodel and then tattooing your name on her neck in your own blood.

Drifting beyond the “the arctic sound” of recent albums (though Autour de la Lune is so minimal as to be nearly inaudible) is a past when Geir Jenssen was an ambient techno badass. Seriously! If The Orb were a drug-addled maniac, Biosphere was the methodical cop who would burst into the interview room, kick over a chair and pin Alex Patterson into the corner all in one fell swoop.

Do not fuck with Biosphere.

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