I listen to quite a bit of mixes in addition to making my own for multiple Soundcloud channels. Like everyone, I find good ones, but also, not so memorable ones but I’ve made a little top 5 of mixes I often go back to listen to.
The first mix, is well, a Detroit techno mix, that was recorded by a random guy on vinyl in the mid 90’s. This dudde is probably the most proper DJ I’ve heard in a long time! The days when you needed physical records to mix and beat matching wasn’t a 100 % accurate science. The mix has some technical mistakes but it makes it even more interesting in my opinion. Shame about the no tracklisting but this mix is an absolute gem and a kick ass techno mix. Lots of techno classics in there like : Hi-Tech Jazz by Galaxy 2 Galaxy, then Green velvet Destination Unknown, then it’s Slam – Positive education, a couple of other tracks I was able to ID : X-102 – Intro (X-102), Jeff Mills Step to enchantment, The bells, Cycle30 (A3-loop) again by Mills, Surgeon – Magneze, Dave Clarke – Wisdom To The Wise (Red 2) (Robert Hood Remix), The Advent, Regis, Dave Angel, all in all a throwback party in memory lane, circa 1995 ! One word : WOW ! The Martian – Firekeeper and Nocturbulous Behaviour by Suburban Knight are two Detroit classics that he threw in there. What’s even more impressive is the mix he did between the actual mix and clips from different SF movies.
The clips used are from these movies :
Galaxy of Terror
Planet of the Vampires
Battle Beyond the Stars
The second and third mixes are from Cio d’or, a German DJ who’s incredibly talented, and should be more known in my opinion. Real name Cio Dorbandt, she’s uncompromising in the music that she mixes. It’s top notch minimal mostly, but in the Boiler room (a DJ gimmick – DJs that pay to play there – that repulses me by the way, sometimes interesting though…) mix she’s adding quite a lot of melodies on top of 4/4 minimal techno. Absolute mesmerizing mix. The second mix was done in collaboration with Donato Dozzy, the famous and VERY gifted Italian producer also known for his alias Voices from the lake, hailed as the best album on RA in 2012. This mix has a stunning progression but sadly comes without a tracklist. The only tracks I was able to recognize were Dreamfish – Underwater and Monolake – Mass transit railways from the Hong kong album in 1996 on Chain reaction. The third mix on this list is a mix done for the DJ series of DJ Pete aka Substance who works at Hardwax in Berlin. If you read this and don’t know what Hardwax is then a) You’re not knowledgeable in techno or b) you’re new to genre so educate yourself and visit their site! This mix was done by Milton Bradley though, it’s a great journey into electro, old and new. The first four tracks almost gets you in Space, while the rest of the mix is solid.
Last mix is from EDM star Diplo but here in a completely different mode, totally rare groove : soul & funk. Diplo got stoned and mixed really old records for half an hour. Great mellow psychedelic mix. Jimi Hendrix, Donavan, and Jefferson airplane most notably.
1.Detroit techno Space mix
2. Cio d’or : Boiler Room TV April, 15th 2015
1) Cio D´Or _ hecto (sounds) _ Semantica 73Y
2) Plaster _ Libra _ Stroboscopic Artefacts 015
3) Irradiation _ Magnetic Monopole _ Temp Records
4) Martyn Hare _ Unforgiving (Bombardier Rmx) _ K1971
5) Cassegrain _ Distil _ Prologue
6) Moritz von Oswald _ Jam _ Honest Jon´s Records
7) N.d. _ Serial Surroundings (Poly) _ Black String Records
8) Mike Parker _ Ringing Bass _ Prologue
9) Mike Parker _ Polar Vortex _ Mote-Evolver
10) Sleeparchive _ Meson _ zzz
11) Sleeparchive _ Hospital 4 _ zzz
12) Mike Parker _ Currents _ Tsunami Records
13) Mike Parker _ Lustration Eleven (Edit Select Rmx)
14) Mike Parker _ XavRmx _ unreleased
15) Cio D´Or _ XXXIII _ Semantica 73
16) Planetary Assault System _ The Eyes Themselves
17) Heiko Laux _ Souldancer (Ray Kajioka Rmx)
18) Obtane _ Signs of Kinetic Posession (Mike Parker Rmx _
19) Paul Brtschitsch _ Sightdraft _ Fusion Records
20) Function _ Immolare _ Sandwell District
21) Shifted _ Arrangement in Monochrome _ Avianmusic
22) Cio D´Or _ tomorrow was yesterday _ Semantica 73
23) Cio D´Or _ XLIV for Mike _ Semantica 73
3. Cio DOr and Donato Dozzy–J
4.Milton Bradley : wax_treatment_podcast_035
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- 01. Exaltics: Introduction – Bunker 3091
- 02. Mayan Gold: Intergalactic Traveler – Uncanny Valley LTD 01
- 03. Boris Divider: Sentry – Tesla Electronics 001
- 04. Koova: Excess 2 – AC Records 07
- 05. Electronome: Bass Commander – Viewlexx 001
- 06. Kraftwerk: Tour De France (Kevorkian Remix) – Ballroom Records
- 07. Scape One: Galaxy Prime – Science City 21
- 08. Mr. De’: Shake It Baby (Inst) – Electrofunk 503
- 09. UR: Electronic Warfare (Re-Edit) – UR 033
- 10. UR: The Final Frontier – UR 003
- 11. Systemic: Simulation Of Live – Jactation 004
- 12. Chaos: Afrogermanic – UR 021
- 13. Arttu feat Jerry The Cat: Get Up Off It (Dexter Remix) – Royal Oak 11r
- 14. Dynamik Bass System: Electronic – Gigolo 14
- 15. Scape One: Gamma Function – Science City 21
- 16. Hashim: B2 Bonus – Cutting Records 200
- 17. DJ Derezon: A2 – FCR001 white
- 18. Beastie Boys: Intergalatic Instrumental – Capitol Records
5. Diplo : got stoned and mixed really old records for half an hour
0:00 The Freak Scene-Grok!
1:36 The Dutch Rhythm & Steel Show Band-Down By The River (Neil Young Cover)
3:55 Donovan-Get Thy Bearings
5:45 The Common People-Soon There’ll Be Thunder
7:55 Jimi Hendrix-Hey Baby
12:45 Dorothy Ashby-For Some We Loved
16:30 Rotary Collection-I Am The Black Gold of the Sun (Hey Love)
23:00 US69-2069 (A Spaced Oddity)
28:00 Jefferson Airplane-Today
31:00 United States of America-Cloud Song
34:00 New Live Trio-Empty Streets
Originally defined by Basic channel and later Chain reaction, Dub techno came from the Berlin techno scene and then spread to Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and now even Russia with acts like Advanced dreams for instance. When it came out, the music wasn’t labeled dub techno though. The origins of dub techno can be traced back to King Tubby and Lee Scratch Perry who were then picked as influences by the BC crew : Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus. The difference is that these two producers produced a dub-infused techno genre that had as much roots in dub reggae as it had in techno music. Experimentation by Basic Channel combined rhythmic elements of minimal techno with the dub recording process and effects of Jamaican dub reggae.
The scene was heavily centered around the record store Hardwax (which was established by Mark Ernestus) : also in the beginning some of its early iterations can be traced in the compilation Tresor II – Berlin Detroit – a techno alliance, which saw the release of some of the early incarnation of dub techno such as Lyot remixed by Maurizio.
Then, as soon as 1995, Chain reaction, a label as equally important as Basic channel, started releasing records by Monolake, Porter ricks, Various artists, Vainqueur, Scion and Substance. Soon, Rhythm & Sound began releasing some amazing singles around 1998 but the sound also somewhat became known in the new millenium by labels such as Mille Plateaux who released compilations such as Clicks n’ cuts and glitch music appeared with luminaries such as Kit Clayton or Kid 606 not too far into dubby territory. Marc Leclair, aka Akufen was somewhat associated with that scene. Nowadays there are people in France, Iceland, Russia, Ukraine, and Germany making dub techno tracks. You’ve heard about Deepchord and Echospace but here are 20 tracks that defined the genre and are bona fide classics in my opinion (in no particular order) :
1.Basic channel : Phylyps track / Radiance III / Quadrant dub / 1993 / Basic channel
Choosing a favorite BC is like choosing a favorite Kratwerk or Pete Namlook record. Although BC has far less releases, they are nonetheless quintessential and are genre defying. It’s incredible to realize that these tracks were made in 1993 or 1994. I bought the steel CD for the first time in around 1998, 1999 or 2000 on the legendary Forced Exposure website. At that time, my main and sole interest towards BC was to have the remix of E2 E4 called Basic reshape. It was close to 7 or 8 years later that I started buying the individual 12 inches. Phylyps track triggers a powerful bassline and a towering kick drum that flows in an out with perfect usual German accuracy. Quadrant dub is a slow dubby track, like being immersed in the sea. Radiance has a very soothing melody, and always gets me. Insane timeless classics that will never be outdated.
2.Maurizio : M-6 / 1996 / Maurizio
Maurizio is in fact Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus also known as Basic channel. M6 was released in 1996 on his own label. It has a unique groove and is pretty much 15 years in advance in a era where his music was rather classified as techno or minimal, not even dub techno. Deep, moody and but also very danceable. Total benchmark record.
3.Model 500 : Starlight (Echospace unreleased mix C1) / 2008 / Echospace
One of my favourite techno releases. The original Starlight is an understated Metroplex classic from 1995 but the echospace crew demonstrated that Detroit techno can also have a techy feeling. As you’d expect from a label known for rejuvenating dub techno, the various interpretations, mostly involving Steve Hitchell or Rod Modell, may technically form a remix suite but the process calls to mind the time-honoured dub techno tactic of “reshaping” the original piece into infinity through dub techniques. It has the dub techno minimal accuracy but also Detroit techno’s characteristic textures. As an ambient DJ my personal favourite is the Echospace Dub. Techno for people with depth and perfect for driving at midnight in an empty highway.
4.Porter ricks : Port of transition / 1996 / Chain reaction
Released on the Chain reaction compilation in 1998, I first ordered this CD on Forced exposure. Port Of Transition sounds like music Drexciya would make – if they’d be making dub techno or minimal instead of electro, a real epic techno track full of ocean deep squelches. Not very melancholic, mostly minimal, and groovy. This track has a thundering bassline. Truly a shame that these guys split instead of making more music.
5.Tony Allen : Olé (Moritz von Oswald rework) / 2007 / Honest Jon’s Records
Tony Allen was the drummer of the late Fela Kuti, dubbed the African James Brown. Olé is an impressive mix of afro beat and dub. Brian Eno dubbed Tony Allen as one of the most influential drummer of our time. Moritz von Oswald, on the other hand, founder of Basic Channel was one of the most influential producers of techno music in the 1990s. In the 1980s he was percussionist for Palais Schaumburg. Von Oswald’s records are characterized by 4×4 beats with dubby basslines infused with syncopated synth pads slowly modulated over time, almost like a heartbeat slowly pulsating. On this record, Moritz Von Oswald has has remixed Tony Allen languidly in a building organic house, very much in line with his Rhythm & Sound productions, but more uplifting in mood with rolling percussion, lovingly phased guitar and unintrusive vocals.
6.Akufen : Architextures / 2000 / Hautec
Akufen aka Marc Leclair released this EP on Hautec in 2000, and the label has now folded. So this EP sells for about 150 $ on discogs!!! It’s a deep and very raw glitchy dubby spaced out techno before “My Way” but without the gimmicks too often used on that afromentionned album. Another track that has been used to death on mix cds : think of Swayzak’s Groovetechnology.
7.Monolake : Cyan / 1996 / Chain reaction
Monolake’s Hongkong album is an impressive journey that has stood the test of time. Even 18 years after its inception, it still sounds fresh. The opening track, Cyan, starts with ambient noise, like a recording of an insect farm, and glides seamlessly into a deep, minimalism. Warm synths and a very smooth bassline. Bloody essential. Anything Monolake have released or Robert Henke in solo is worth checking out in my opinion.
8.Yagya : The salt on her cheeks / 2012 / Kilk records
Although the album The Inescapable Decay of My Heart was heavily criticized for its use of vocals, I think the project is quite interesting and works well as a whole. Besides, it’s quite funny that a lot of people said Ringing sounded like the material Yagya had put out earlier but criticized this album for being too vocal. Another well mastered album on CD, shame it has no vinyl though? But it’s full of melodies and emotions and for me, The salt on her cheeks is a track that’s just simply sublime. So silk yet smooth in its execution.
9.Rhythm and sound : Carrier / Smile / 1998 / Rhythm and sound
Really difficult exercise is choosing a favorite R&S track. Maybe Carrier for the finesse Mark & Moritz displays in their production. Smile was made with Savage and it sounds like Mickey Dread doing minimal house yet very rootsy in terms of dub [and not so much techno but rather dub reggae] : you can tell Moritz von Oswald used a traditional mixing board while doing this. Kind of like the one he sold on Ebay a while ago ? Simply out of this world! Timeless stuff.
10.Deepchord : Vantage isle ( Spacecho dub II extended mix) /(Echospace spatial dub) / 2007 / Echospace
If you are new to dub techno or minimal techno well Deepchord is a force to be reckon with. Essential music but expansive as hell on wax…Every track on the compilation is stunning in their use of dub delays. But the Spaceecho mix, which last for a good 10 minutes, is just simply epic. Sheer deepness. Every track remixed on that CD is unique and made to explode your speakers.
11.Carl Craig climax ( Basic reshape) / 1994 / Planet E
Released on Carl Craig’s Planet E label, the Basic reshape uses the reverse effects heavily. Basic channel made that remix in 1994. A long 13 minutes track. One of the best vinyls I own. Not too far from the E2 E4 Basic reshape remix but this version, close to 15 minutes, takes dubby techno to epic proportions in my opinion. asic Reshape features Basic Channel’s very free takes on two of Carl Craig’s projects, originally released seperately from each other on his own Planet E label. The Basic Reshape of “The Climax” (originally released in 1991 on Retroactive) first appeared on the 2001 reissue of this milestone in Carl’s work. For those of you who don’t know it, this is definitive, driving, hypnotic club music that rebuilt the tribal mastery of the original into a logic-defying display of bass shuffles and aquatic percussion that kills us every time it’s aired – just awesome. “Remake” Basic Reshape from 1994 relates to “Remake Uno/Duo”, Carl’s sample-based re-interpretation of Manuel Göttschings epochal E2-E4. Basic Channel take a radical, abstract, sample-free approach with a breathtaking slow motion groove under a multilayered sound sphere. Those of you who don’t own either or both of these absolutely classic pieces – get busy, it just doesn’t get much better than this. Killer track.
12.In Aeternam Vale : Ultrabase / 1990 / Minimal wave [Repress : 2013]
Ultrabase was released in 1993 and could very well be the first dub techno record to be released. In Aeternam Vale are French guys: Laurent Prot, Pascal Aubert, Chrystelle Marin. Centred around figurehead Laurent Prot, In Aeternam Vale started releasing records back in 1983. Allegedly recorded by French underground pioneers In Aeternam Vale in 1990, echoing synth chords and suitably bleak chords and true or not this record is bloody essential.
13.Rhythm & Sound w/ Cornell Campbell – King In My Empire / 2001 / Burial mix
This very well maybe the dub techno number feature in most DJ mixes. I remember being on Fabric (Tyler Stadius) ; Joris Voorn’s Balance 014 ; Intrusion RA.153, and so on. It has a very slow pulsation even if the BPM registers high; this track is smooth as hell. Typical Berlin sound and also more akin to electronic reggae.
14.Cv313 : Substraktive / 2007 / Echospace
313 is the area code in Detroit. CV313 is a moniker used by Rob Modell (aka Deepchord) and Stephen Mitchell aka Intrusion. The label Echospace has a plethora of dub techno classics. Subtraktive is a 15 minutes tracks that’s beatless in the first 7-8 minutes. Once the kickdrum slides in, it’s almost like a mix between two tracks. Cold like winter but enough echoes to keep you blissful.
15.Round Four : Find a way featuring Tikiman / 1998 / Main street records
Round Four features Tikiman aka Paul St-Hilaire from Jamaica. It has probably the thickest dubby bassline I’ve ever heard. Even on CD this track just wrecks any dancefloor. It was used on Richie Hawtin’s groundbreaking mix cd ‘’Decks, efx and 9090’’ as it was the last track of the mix. Mix made with an uncanny talent and pure intention! More like electronic reggae than techno but anyway just pure timeless music.
16.Various artists aka Torsten Pröfrock : No. 8 / 1999 / FatCat Records
The # 8 track was released on this CD in 1999 that I also bought on Forced exposure. While the Autechre mix is also quite good this tracks is one of epic experimental proportion. Slow, deep and immersive music. It’s just one loop but that damn repetitive loop is filtered with all kinds of effects that burst in and out for a good 18 minutes. I’ve included this track on the famous Modifyer mix in I did for Reyna, which you check on Soundcloud.
17.Spiral dub : Abeyance / Reverie / 2010 / Insectorama
I have no idea who Spiral dub is and quite frankly I don’t care. But this EP from 2010 has some gorgeous dubby vibes and with a nice shimmering lush melody. It’s definitely two tracks that are essential, they sound very deep but retain some dubby elements in the mix like echo & reverb.
18.Theorem : Cinder / 1998 / M_nus records
Theorem’s work in the late 90’s still sounds great nowadays, and very avant-garde. The work of Canadian Dale Lawrence on M_nus, who released 5 EP’s in the late nineties, it paved the way for stuff like Pendle coven. If some other material was more clicks n’ cuts, this one is a groovy 4/4 dubby track with a gorgeous soundscape. A very lively record that’s very pulsating and wrapping in its looping.
19.Trentemoller vs. DJ Lab : Rauta (Girls remix) / 2009 / Echocord
I grew really tired of Trentemoller’s antics and his pop star behavior. He got known for his electronic EPs and LP but he seems to think of himself now as the latest incarnation of a Danish Jack White. In order words : he sucks ! He truly has jumped the shark. But he’s made some nice EP’s in the past. This one was released on Echocord, a label founded in 2002 in Copenhagen, Denmark by the Danish DJ Kenneth Christiansen. A long epic dub techno track that has a steady groove. Nonetheless, his first album is classic but I really preferred him on The last resort, released in 2006 on Poker Flat.
20.Rhythm & Sound w / Koki : Rise & praise (Vainqueur remix) / 2006 / Burial mix
Released in 2006, on the Burial mix label, the See Mi Yah (Remixes) saw Ricardo Villalobos, Carl Craig and legendary Francois Kevordian remix R&S. For me the tip top remix is the one by Vainqueur aka Rene Lowe, also involved in the Berlin Hardwax record shop. That remix almost goes in ambient territory.
For further references, you might wanna check my Dub tech mixes, volume I to IV (volume V is finished and will be put out in January 2016) on Soundcloud :
TOP AMBIENT RECORDS OF ALL TIME PART II : 11 TO 30
Part 2 of some of the most essential ambient records of all time. Part 1 can be found here. As I did the first part 5 years ago, my taste in ambient has evolved quite a bit since then. I became aware that some readers rightfully pointed that I forgot Lifeforms which is a total brain fart I ll admit. I have since became a fan of Loscil, Mick Chillage (and his Autumn of communion project with Lee Norris aka Norken) A lot of people wrote me to ask for a part two so here it is. I’ve put number 11 to 30 here and number 31 to 50 is in another post on the blog and can be found here. My list was inspired by my personal taste but also 2 surveys done by hyperreal.
11) FSOL : Lifeforms / 1994
What can be said about Lifeforms that hasn’t been said before ? It’s an epic ambient-techno album that has stood the test of time. Truly gorgeous samples such as Klaus Schulze AND Ozric Tentacles. The album is mixed and is meant to be listened from start to finish, so seamless. It has a couples of samples from b-movies like Millenium (You will awake now, remain calm) and Repo men (Miller explains the weirdness in the world). It’s probably one of the most well reviewed album of his genre and by countless of people all around the world. The peak of FSOL career.
But the greatness of Lifeforms lies in the fact that, much like great sampling artists like DJ Shadow or DJ Premier, FSOL were able to grasp just a few seconds of a Andrew Grossart lush track and make it into an even bigger, more brooding track. The atmospheres here are dark, sharp, crisp, and cunning. They were meticulously crafted with dexterity and ingenuity. Those samples here often only last 5 or 10 seconds. To take these quick snippets and make them into epic ambient-techno tracks takes some bloddy geniuses. The vision, the artwork, the seamless, floating tracks that makes this album flawless as a whole ; when combined (Much like Bytes by BDP), it’s sheer brilliance.
Other breaktaking samples :
Ill Flower : at 1min10 : samples The Venus Wearing the Space Uniform Shining in Florescent Light Color by Tomita
Omnipresence : at 0,01 samples Airlight by Klaus Schulze here.
Flak samples : at 0,06 Paul Williams and Andrew Grossart Shining Ice here.
Flak also samples : at 1,01 William Thomson and Trevor Nightingale Cloud Formations here.
12) Robert Rich : Somnium
Robert Rich, is an American composer that made music for the last 30 years and release a DVD release called : Somnium, a single continuous track separated into three parts, a 7-hour sleep concert recording. For the record: this is the longest piece of continuous music ever produced. Over 7 hours of Robert Rich’s best, beautiful ambient works. the music on this album was composed to influence the dreams and pre-REM hypnogogic visions of the listener. For this purpose it is suggested that the volume be kept down to the threshold of perceptibility, ideally with speakers surrounding the listener’s bed. Rich also recommends this album for conventional listening. For a brief period at the beginning of the album there is a slightly more active texture while the listener adjusts the volume and settles down to sleep. As the music progresses it slowly drifts through a variety of electronic drones as well as acoustic source material and nature recordings. The third and final track gradually fades into a morning atmosphere filled with bird songs.
Water effects drift in and out of heavenly chords. Birds sing and nature calls. This piece of music is wonderful, absorbing ambience. There is nothing decayed or dead here; everything is working in harmony. Changes in sound are so subtle that you find yourself in different landscapes without realising it. Part 1, a perfect countryside walk which lasts for days. You slowly venture into a mutating forest… Part 2: a visit to underground caverns filled with sparkling crystals and unknown wonders. Part 3, you are floating through space on an endless voyage to nowhere, occasionally being brought back down to Earth to enter calming forests with the alluring sound of birdcall brushing your conciousness. In order to allow for the album’s seven-hour length it was released on the DVD-video format instead of DVD-Audio. For insomniacs or just ambient heads alike…Essential.
Robert Rich : Somnium / Hypnos : 2001 : Part 3 (Divided here in IV parts it is the part IV) 144:45 minutes
13) Lustmord : The place where black stars hang
Dark as hell, “The Place Where the Black Stars Hang” was first released in 1994 on Side Effects, via Soleilmoon and while the earlier Lustmord album “Heresy” gave birth to the dark ambient genre, it is “The Place Where the Black Stars Hang” that defines it. It’s a work regularly cited by critics, audiences and musicians as being amongst the very best and most influential albums of its decade. The album has a more nuanced feeling of space and detail than ever before. Based on recognition established through recordings such as “Black Stars”, Brian Williams, the man who is Lustmord, went on to provide music and sound design for numerous major motion pictures, with credits on over 40, including The Crow, The Negotiator, Pitch Black, The Saint and Underworld. The track Metastatic resonance especially stands out as track that sounds like an endless void or a vortex taking us into another dimension.
14) Shades of orion 2 / Fax +49-69/450464 / 1995
If Aliens listened to music this is what they would be bumping in their spacecrafts. I’ve been playing this endlessly i don’t know how many times by now since it landed on my collection. The whole album is mixed, seamless and the sound is hypnotic and puts you right to the edge. A spiritual album that takes the listeners on a dazzling journey. Clearly one of FAX best albums. A prime album with no beats, and a deep collaboration between Pete Namlook and Tetsu Inoue.
15) Electro harmonix : Electro harmonix / 1994
Probably my favorite FAX release especially for Morphing clouds, one epic ambient track of 47 minutes that morphs and uses a soft swirling synth and shifting atmospheres that come back and forth. A truly great collaboration between two great artists : Jonah Sharp aka Spacetime continuum and Tetsu Inoue. The album only has 3 tracks : Morphing clouds, Replay and Floating sync.
16) Higher intelligence agency & Biosphere : Polar sequences / 1995
This is a live recording from the 1995 Polar Music Festival, in Tromø Geir Jenssen’s hometown. Recorded on the top of a mountain above the town, the music uses only samples sourced locally – people speaking at the festival, the cable car which brought people to the performance, the melting snow and ice, et cetera.
The result is a stunningly accomplished and balanced piece, musically, technically, emotionally. It bridges uplifting, glacial sounds with a dark moodiness without ever becoming tired and clichéd, neither natural nor electronic, but somewhere out on its own. An absolute essential for all ambient heads and discerning listeners out there. This album is without any doubt one of the greatest electronic piece in music history. Pure electronic bass and drum with floating sounds that come from any side around you. A true masterpiece.
17) Autumn of communion : Autumn of communion
Sadly the last album on FAX, as Pete Namlook died soon after. I e-mailed Peter one month before it came out in 2012 and he send me a copy of this gem. We had agreed for an interview but in the mean time he passed away. A testament to the quality Mr. Namlook put out there on his label. It’s a beautiful journey from Mick & Lee, very reminiscent of 90’s ambient-techno such as James Bernard, Air Liquide, and Namlook’s output itself. You can see that a lot of endeavors went through this album, it’s very mature but yet so smooth in its execution. Analog synths and very warm soundscapes. I am posting a preview but if you’re an ambient buff, you owe it to yourself to buy this album.
18) Biosphere : Cirque
Each Biosphere album has its own atmosphere. Microgravity sounds more aquatic to, Cirque is more dubby, Autour De La Lune (which means Around the Moon) is composed with bits of silence from the space. Le “Grand Dome” sounds like being trapped in a deep, frozen fjord. Towards the end the listener will still be floating on the Arctic Ocean. This album was inspired by the true story of a young North American explorer (Chris Mac Candless) who lived a brutal dream of ascetism but fatally lost himself in the dense forests of Alaska. I would like to specify that words you can weakly listen to in the 2nd track are in french. The man is talking about northern lights and the return of the sun, seemingly during an exploration in the North Pole. Originally, to me Biosphere’s best release was Substrata & in every respect it still remains a classic but Cirque just has that something extra, a real journey into the glacial sound that Biosphere creates, a journey that one takes with the explorer to which it is inspired from.
19) Robert Rich & Lustmord : Stalker / 1995
I found about this nice collaboration between dark ambient and music film artist Lustmord and Robert Rich entitled Stalker, in 1995. One of the greatest dark ambient albums ever. The album is based liberally on Andre Tarkovsky’s 1979 film of the same name, and the mood of the film is captured admirably by Rich and Lustmord. But any resemblance to the arc of the film seems almost inconsequential, as the compositions stand well alone from any existing pretext.
20) Brian Eno : Apollo : Soundtracks & atmosphere / 1983
Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks is an album by the British ambient musician Brian Eno, released in 1983. It was written, produced, and performed by Brian Eno, his brother Roger and Daniel Lanois. Music from the album appeared in the films 28 Days Later, Traffic, and Trainspotting, whose soundtrack sold approximately four million copies. This music was originally recorded in 1983 for a feature length documentary movie called “Apollo” later retitled For All Mankind, directed by Al Reinert . Eno said of the album : …. Well, I love that music anyway…. What I find impressive about that music is that it’s very concerned with space in a funny way. Its sound is the sound of a mythical space, the mythical American frontier space that doesn’t really exist anymore. That’s why on Apollo I thought it very appropriate, because it’s very much like “space music“
23) Steve Hillage : Rainbow dome musik / 1979
Released after ‘green’ in 1979, this album of what was then considered experimental electronic music, now called ambient. It is a seminal document in the field. More joyous and uplifting, and more engaging principally than others experimenting in the field at the same time, these two performances contain beautiful and melodic synth textures over which Hillage provides some liquid guitar work. It would take 12 years before Hillage would pursue this direction again in System 7 and climb the electronic heights. This is a whole album of mostly sweet, gentle, soothing and high toned new-age music. Recorded for the London Festival of Mind Body and Spirit which played in April of 1979, it is a very trippy, yet consistent recording – Hillage often on glissando guitar as well as that distinctive Gong (and Pink Floyd) delayed echo-rhythm, as well as keyboards, accompanied by Miquette Giraudy on keys, synth and Tibetan bells. In fact, the first composition, “Garden of Paradise” is very soothing and meditative. For me this is perfect background accompaniment for doing things around the house – like cooking and cleaning or artistic activities, but its a bit too intense to read to or concentrate on something else with. A spaced out ambient classic.
24) Loscil : Endless falls / 2010
A rainy concept album but my fellow Canadian Scott Morgan from Vancouver. Subtle and powerful, persistent with being imposing Loscil’s “Endless Falls” is another beautifully crafted sonic experience. Waves of soft sounds come and go, while subtle details create a sense of rythm and texture. My highlights are “Lake Orchard”, a kind of slow motion trance, and the deeply emotional “The Making of Grief Point”. Stylistically speaking this album resembles previous Loscil works, but at the same time it is a new and unique experience which I highly recommend. Meditative, focused and highly therapeutic. Quite simply stunning in his results but his musings are so simple.
25) Pete Namlook & Richie Hawtin : From within 1-3
A wicked collaboration between the spacy synths of Namlook and the 303 acid lines of Richie Hawtin. The album has long, delving soundscapes and build ups. Incredible dense layers from volume 1 to 3. I originally bought the 3 cd’s in 2000, but to think they were released a few years just tell about how forward thinking they were – and still are, to this day. The beauty of this collaboration is they have completely different styles that really complement each other. Plastikman was quite keen on using the Roland TB-303. But here we have Namlook adding more sonic depth. Alone it may not work out, but together their gestalt does vault to the “awesome” level. The outstanding voyage that is ”A million miles to Earth” reminds me of my endless nights of solitude, whilst studying at the university. All 3 CD’s were lined up in my stereo, focusing on boring matter but often daydreaming of the landscapes I could see while I delve into the music…
26) Brian Eno : Ambient 4: On Land / 1982
Ambient 4: On Land is a 1982 album by British ambient musician Brian Eno. It was the final edition in Eno’s ambient series, which began in 1978 with Music for Airports. On Land is a mixture of synthesizer-based notes, nature/animal recordings, and a complex array of other sounds, most of which were unused, collected recordings from previous albums and the sessions that created them. Despite the music’s dark leanings, it is in a sense still highly ambient in that the tracks tend to blend into each other and thus fulfill all of Eno’s original expectations of what the term means. Eno also had something to say about how music—this album in particular—should be listened to. In the liner notes, he suggested (even going so far as to draw a diagram) “a three-way speaker system that is both simple to install and inexpensive, and which seems to work very well on any music with a broad stereo image”.
27) John Foxx : Cathedral oceans / 1997
Cathedral Oceans (after 2003 also referred to as Cathedral Oceans I) is an album of ambient music by John Foxx, ex-leader of new wave band Ultravox and synth pioneer. Released in 1997, it marked Foxx’s return to the music scene after an absence of seven years. It was also his first solo album since 1985’s In Mysterious Ways. The album’s artwork consists of collages by Foxx himself, overlaying various pictures and textures with the faces of statues. Cathedral Oceans is a long ongoing project by Foxx, the first recordings that appear on this album were made as early 1983. In 1987 Cathedral Oceans material was played live by Foxx in various buildings, gardens and cathedrals in England and Rome. As a result of the long genesis of the album it does sound somewhat fragmented in places, but the overall effect is soothing, almost pastoral ambience created by extensive usage of reverb and echo coupled with gregorian chanting.
28) Vangelis : Blade runner / 1982
Blade runner is by far my favorite movie of all time. And its soundtrack is also my favorite of any film ever released. It is mostly a dark, melodic combination of classical composition and synthesizers which mirrors the futuristic film noir envisioned by Scott. The original soundtrack release was delayed for over a decade, until 1994, despite the music being well-received by fans and critically acclaimed—nominated in 1983 for a BAFTA and Golden Globe as best original score.
Arriving 12 years after the release of the film, in 1994, the soundtrack to the 1982 futuristic noir detective thriller Blade Runner was as bleak and electronically chilling as the film itself. By subtly interspersing clips of dialogue and sounds from the film, Vangelis creates haunting soundscapes with whispered subtexts and sweeping revelations, drawing inspiration from Middle Eastern textures and evoking neo-classical structures. Often cold and forlorn, the listener can almost hear the indifferent winds blowing through the neon and metal cityscapes of Los Angeles in 2019. The sultry, saxophone-driven “Love Theme” has since gone on as one of the composer’s most recognized pieces and stands alone as one of the few warm refuges on an otherwise darkly cold but beautiful score.
Fans of Ridley Scott‘s groundbreaking film (as well as those interested in the evolution of electronic music) will warmly take this recording into their plastic-carbide-alloy hearts.
Vangelis wrote this music to perfection, capturing all the emotions and feelings you need to feel when you are looking at a beautifully atmospheric electronic landscape capable of highlighting the weirdness and the beauty. The music also captures well the epic proportions of the special effects. No other soundtrack that I remember have managed to capture quite as perfectly the rich imaginary of science fiction and the sense of otherworldly metaphysical angst. Aphex Twin, Global Communications, FSOL and DJ Krush are just a few of the names that owe something to this historical album. The overall impression is of a dark and troublesome future with brief glimpses of hope and great beauty. As a musical score this truly captures the moods and feelings inspired by reading the novels of Philip K Dick, far more than any other adaption of his material to date. An album that showcased how important the right music & sound effects are to make a memorable film.
29) Tangerine dream : Phaedra / 1974
This 1974 masterpiece from Christopher Franke, Edgar Froese, and Peter Baumann ebbs and flows with richly dark soundscapes of electronic sounds and synth. Phaedra was a progenitor for much ambient–and some dance–music, influencing such artists as Steve Roach. After listening to Phaedra it’s easy to understand why. The signature pulsing of thick, beautiful Tangerine Dream synth falls across the ambient treasures here, pulling along the orchestral dreamscape before oozing aside for thick washes of expansive sound. The now-classic title cut is both soothing and ghostly, throbbing with subtle sequences and twisted metallic calls before diving into a swamp of nightmarish whistles and hoots. “Mysterious Semblance” soars and swoops like a lovely electronic eagle, bringing tripped-out light and cosmic dignity to the collection. This and the follow-up Rubycon are juicy pieces to the Tangerine Dream pie. This is the first Tangerine Dream album to feature their now classic sequencer-driven sound, which launched the Berlin School genre. It also earned the group a gold disc in seven countries, and yet in their native Germany it sold barely 6,000 units. Writing in his 2000 Ambient Century, Mark J. Prendergast describes the title track: “At over 17 minutes it conveyed feelings of the cosmos, of giant suns exploding, of huge ocean movements, of mythological lands, of eddies and drifts. Layer upon layer of futuristic sounds piled one on top of the other until the whole thing climaxes in some interstellar void.”
30) Manuel Göttsching : E2 E4 / 1984
E2-E4, was recorded in 1981 but released in 1984, and was not the first solo recording album by Manuel Göttsching but his 5th after Inventions for electric guitar, followed by New age of earth, Blackouts and then Dream and desire. The album itself consists of a minimalistic hour-long progressive electronic track that is subdivided into single tracks according to the stage of the song. The second half of the record is notable for Göttsching’s guitar playing. The album is named after the most popular opening chess move, 1. e4. Maybe its legendary status is due to the fact that as the story is sometimes told, Göttsching stopped in the studio, while touring with Klaus Schulze, and invented techno. In a concert mood, in december of 1981, he entered his studio armed with only a korg synth and a guitar, his favorite asset. And then, he started playing. He improvised. But thanks for us, he decided to record the whole thing on the spur of the moment. And an hour of music was born. But he did not even intended to release it. After many reflections, doubts and afterthoughts, and only after the counsel of usual pal Schulze and especially three years later, he decides to publish the session. E2 E4, covered with a chessboard on cold and brown, sees the light and its light changes the course of history. E2 E4 is the most compelling argument that techno came from Germany. And even more so than any Kraftwerk album. Over a heavenly two-chord synth vamp and simple sequenced drum and bass, Göttsching’s played his guitar like a percussion instrument, creating music that defines the word hypnotic over the sixty minutes of the single track. Nonetheless, even though E2-E4 is very famous within young people (Say Carl Craig and Derrick May) and most notably of the DJ generation and those who like minimalistic music, it is not as much known by those who love Krautrock.