Category Archives: Reviews – B

Bliss

It could be argued that Quiet Letters’ exceptionally polished blend of pop phrasing, ethereal electronics, Eastern flavours and neoclassical strings was bound to get noticed thanks to its surface attractions alone. Yet such fine craft is matched by composing and songwriting of genuine humanity and tenderness. artist: Bliss country of origin: Denmark style(s): Ambient pop, […]

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Biosphere

What makes Geir Jenssen’s brand of spacemusic, techno and environmental ambience special is that beneath the brilliant sound design and chilly surfaces is a humanity that’s intimate and sometimes deeply touching in its melancholy. artist: Biosphere country of origin: Norway style(s): Ambient techno, environmental decades active: 90’s – 10’s essential releases: Microgravity (1991, Apollo) The […]

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Hildegard Von Bingen

Composer and Christian mystic Hildegard Von Bingen lived around the 12th Century (1098-1179), but her sublime music is as subtle, spacious and transcendent as any modern ambient. artist: Hildegard Von Bingen country of origin: Germany style(s): Sacred choral essential releases: A Feather On The Breath Of God (1988, Hyperion) Canticles Of Ecstasy / Sequentia (1994, […]

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Big Chill Recordings

The Big Chill didn’t invent the chillout compilation but it did create a unique musical scene of its own in the UK. And unlike the generic blends that were being churned out by the end of the 1990’s, most of the label’s compilations of songs and instrumentals are eclectic, often surprising and sometimes wonderfully obscure. […]

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Big Bud

Drum ‘n’ bass from space…this album from UK producer Big Bud is a blinding best-of collection, part of a series of retrospective albums from genre heavyweight Good Looking Records that profiles key artists of this surprisingly diverse scene. artist: Big Bud country of origin: UK style(s): Ambient drum’n’bass, lounge, dub years active: 90’s – 00’s […]

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Between

The band Between was one of the first generation of “world music” ensembles and to this day remains one of the greatest. In its 1970’s heyday this wonderful German-based group fashioned a mystical kind of fusion music, drawing on elements of minimalism, jazz, ethnic and classical. artist: Between country of origin: Germany style(s): World music, […]

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Bersarin Quartett

I love Bersarin Quartett partly for the same reason I love Max Richter’s albums. It’s music for imaginary movies that’s far better than most soundtrack albums from actual films. Instead of cues and jarring stabs that make little sense off screen, we hear perfect realisations of how a moody soundtrack album should sound; wordless storytelling […]

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Bent

Programmed To Love (2001) by the aptly named Bent appeared at a time when acts under the ‘chillout’ banner were attracting a lot of mainstream attention in the UK, and the years have been much kinder to it than some of the other popular chillout releases from that period. artist: Bent country of origin: UK […]

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Beatsystem

In the classical avant-garde they would probably call this album musique concrete; certainly Pierce is a big enough fan of John Cage to include the late composer’s manipulated voice on several tracks. But this is contemporary ambient and more listenable than most of Cage’s tape experiments. artist: Beatsystem country of origin: UK style(s): Experimental ambient, […]

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Peter Baumann

Exactly who did what in the pioneering electronic band Tangerine Dream during its various 70’s and 80’s incarnations has always been something of a mystery, except perhaps to other electronic musicians. Given that member Peter Baumann’s first solo album Romance ’76 (1976) is one of the classic albums of Berlin-school ambient, his contribution to TD […]

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