The Ambient Music Guide blog

Reviews of new stuff I like + posts on random other music topics.

Discover Ambient (April-May 2021)

My picks of new album and EP releases from the zone without borders. Jean Michel Jarre, Deep Space Network, Secret Of Elements, Mysteries of Science, Grasz & Schultz, David Wright, Frizzell & Duque, Owl, Moderna Records, Archon Music. Beats & groove Mysteries of Science ‘Mysteries of Science’ (Re:discovery Records) Deep Space Network ‘Big Rooms’  (Re:discovery […]

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Discover Ambient (Jan-March 2021)

My picks of new album and EP releases from the zone without borders. Boozoo Bajou, Castlebed, Gold Lounge, Lorenzo Montana, Iasos, Healing Sound Project, Bålsam, Biome, One Million Eyes, Cofaxx, Nigel Mullaney, Jacob David. Beats & groove Boozoo Bajou ‘Lambique EP’ (Apollo) Germany’s exotic lounge maestros Boozoo Bajou are back after a long absence with […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Woob

WOOB Suite 59201/Lost Metropolis (Bigamoebasounds) Hypersleep 10 (Bigamoebasounds) Cyberpunk and dystopian science fiction loom large in much of the recent work of British composer Paul Frankland aka Woob. At the quiet end of the spectrum stands the fictional Lost Metropolis Hotel, the thematic core of his album Suite 59201, which I should note has since […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Spirituals ‘For Those You Love part II’

SPIRITUALS For Those You Love part II (Doumen Records) While music is just one outlet for American graphic artist, sound designer and composer Tyler Tadlock aka Spirituals, this exceptional EP/mini-album is no casual affair. Using cycling synth phrases, pensive piano figures, rich droning strings and found sounds, his instrumental music is fashioned with a remarkably […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Slow Dancing Society ‘The Disappearing Collective Vol. 1’

SLOW DANCING SOCIETY The Disappearing Collective Vol. 1 (Past Inside The Present) On The Disappearing Collective Vol. 1 the American composer Drew Sullivan aka Slow Dancing Society moves away from his signature post-rock miniatures in favour of haunting, suspended drones with occasional fragments of piano. The results are frequently sublime. Fans will understand it’s a […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Saphileaum

SAPHILEAUM Samosi (Constellation Tatsu) Imaginary Treasure Mountain (Nyame) Samosi a magnificent work of tuneful, luminous, beatless ambient by Georgian composer Andro Gogibedashvili aka Saphileaum. Among seven excellent tracks, the weirdly-titled “Glorified Wiseman In Pantherskin” stands out: a devastatingly sad and beautiful harmonic progression wrapped in misty synthetic bliss. At its considerable best, comparisons between this […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Sam Rosenthal & Projekt Artists ‘Tim, Where Are You Now?’

SAM ROSENTHAL & PROJEKT ARTISTS Tim, Where Are You Now? (Projekt) This year marked the centenary of the birth of LSD and DMT guru Timothy Leary (1920-1996). This tribute album celebrates his chemically-fueled flights into expanded consciousness and it’s a multi-coloured wonder, focused on spacey electronic music-of-the-spheres with Eastern drone influences and retro sounds like […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Merrin Karras

MERRIN KARRAS Northwest Passage (A Strangely Isolated Place) Silent Planet (A Strangely Isolated Place) While club-orientated music on the techno and house tips is probably what Irishman Brendan Gregoriy is better known for, his recently birthed ambient alias Merrin Karras doesn’t sound like a side project. These uniformly excellent albums on US label A Strangely […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Mathieu Karsenti ‘Downstream Blue’

MATHIEU KARSENTI Downstream Blue (Slowcraft) British experimental musician James Murray’s excellently-named Slowcraft label was initially created for his own work, but has branched out in recent years to include others. 2020 saw seven new albums in a new series called Lifelines that offers “vital and consoling works” in the spaces between modern classical, post rock […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Manchuria ‘Shades’ EP

MANCHURIA Shades EP (Marsiglia Records) The fabulous debut release from young Italian trio Manchuria blends grainy electronica with Krautrock-style keyboard jamming and noisy shoegaze rock crescendos. The roughly layered keyboards of “Where Im Going” build slowly over a slow groove to a distorted crescendo. “Etangs Noirs”  and “No Mercy” are both dark, chunky trip hop […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Denovali Records

SANKT OTTEN Lieder Fuer Geometrische Stunden (Denovali) SUBHEIM ΠΟΛΙΣ aka Polis (Denovali) SAFFRONKEIRA & PAOLO FRESU In Origine (Denovali) ROBIN SCHLOCHTERMEIER Spectral (Denovali) KILIMANJARO DARKJAZZ ENSEMBLE I Foresee The Dark Ahead If I Stay (2011, reissue on Denovali) To my ears, the strength of German-based indie label Denovali Records is that there is no single […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Jonas Munk ‘Minimum Resistance’

JONAS MUNK Minimum Resistance (Azure Vista Records) Danish guitarist Jonas Munk does striking and beautiful things with the electric guitar using pedals, reverb and delay, mining a vein of post-rock ambient comparable to artists like Belgium’s Stratosphere and America’s Jeff Pearce. Minimum Resistance is probably his most weightless effort to date, in that it contains […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Howard Givens & Craig Padilla ‘The Bodhi Mantra’

HOWARD GIVENS & CRAIG PADILLA The Bodhi Mantra (Spotted Peccary) Spotted Peccary label founder Howard Givens and longtime American synthesist Craig Padilla pair up for this profoundly deep release. The Bodhi Mantra, named after the Sanskrit word for enlightenment or awakening, is an epic work of psychedelic drone-based ambient with powerful extended harmonies that spread […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Seb Taylor

KAYA PROJECT Remixed: Body​ Mind​ ​Soul Part 1 (Bandcamp) HIBERNATION Organic Technology (Bandcamp) It’s a rare year when British multi-instrumentalist and electronic producer Seb Taylor doesn’t release something good under one or more of the various aliases he’s been using since the mid 90’s. The polished, tuneful pan-global downtempo of his Kaya Project alias continued […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Halftribe ‘Cloud Dreaming And Shadows’

HALFTRIBE Cloud Dreaming and Shadows (Shimmering Moods Records) British composer Halftribe’s 2018 opus For The Summer Or Forever was an exquisite, ethereal tribute to the warmest season, mixing fragments of keyboards, guitar and sundry other instruments with static, hums and decayed sounds. Those hazy, cycling melodies are back on Cloud Dreaming and Shadows and just […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Gregory Paul Mineeff ‘After Today’

GREGORY PAUL MINEEFF After Today (Cosmicleaf) Australian Gregory Paul Mineeff’s fine new album sees the Greece-based Cosmicleaf label taking another successful departure from the psychedelic downtempo beats it’s best known for. The often beatless After Today is awash in electric piano lines, meshed with minimalist synth pads and textures and some weird phrasing using tape […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Cosmic Americana

LUKE SCHNEIDER Altar of Harmony (Third Man Records) GOLDEN BROWN Flora and Fauna of the Uncanny Valley (Bandcamp) NORTH AMERICANS Roped In (Third Man Records) Whether or not ‘cosmic Americana’ is actually a thing, I’ll borrow the tag anyway because it perfectly captures the spirit of these gently psychedelic and distinctly American-flavoured instrumental releases. Altar […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Forest Robots ‘After Geography’

FOREST ROBOTS After Geography (Wormhole Records) American composer Francisco Dominguez aka Forest Robots makes nature-inspired ambient music, but there aren’t many experimental nature-inspired albums like After Geography. It’s a hushed landscape of plinks and plonks and occasional melody lines, some played on marimba or xylophone, cast upon a bed gentle washes and atmospheres. What makes […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Dronarivm label

ENRICO CONIGLIO & GIULIO ALDINUCCI Stalking The Elusive (Dronarivm) TAPES & TOPOGRAPHIES Inoculations (Dronarivm) Stalking The Elusive is a work of pretty astonishing elemental power, a first-time collaboration between Italians Enrico Coniglio and Giulio Aldinucci. It lifts environmental samples from mundane environments – households, airports and so on – and seems to reimagine them as […]

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Best Albums of 2020: Endless Melancholy ‘A Perception of Everything’

ENDLESS MELANCHOLY A Perception of Everything (Sound In Silence) This collection of grand, hazy, lo-fi tone poems from Ukrainian composer Endless Melancholy feels like a summation of his quest in the past decade to translate beautiful sadness into wordless sound. His personal style is already well-established – bittersweet melodies from samples and synths dipped in […]

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