Here’s a relatively new release for your listening enjoyment. This is Ian Hawgood’s Mysterious Shapes and Remembered Rivers, which makes one think of China Crisis’s Difficult Shapes and Passive Rhythms. It came out in 2022. He does a song with Stijn Huwels, with whom he’s done a lot of great music, and Friends We Found, who I know nothing about, but will. It’s just great ambient music. That’s all.
Category: Ambient Music
Ambient Sunday: Thursday or Friday edition, depending on where you are right now
Being that we’ve veered a bit from Sunday, let’s veer a bit from traditional Ambient. Susumu Yokota‘s “sakura“. It’s an amazing record by a young man that I came across in 2014 and started following him and he died suddenly in 2015. It was a really strange feeling. I had the same experience with Mitch Hedberg. But this record is just a stellar example of what this man created. Check him out! If you’re into that sort of thing.
Ambient Sunday: 3
Biosphere is the nom de plume of Geir Jenssen, a Norwegian electronic musician and composer. He lives in a place called, Tromsø, which is within the Arctic Circle; in other words, way the fuck up there. You can see how someone living in such a achingly dark and cold place could create the sort of Ambient music he does. (Of course, they do have some long, long summer days.)
Substrata is his masterpiece. As I’ve mentioned before, talking about Ambient music isn’t easy, so it’s hard to even tell you why I believe this is so. It’s haunting, has lots of overdubbed old recordings of voices and even singers, chilly effects, and yet remains (often) really quite upbeat. So, there you go; A masterpiece.
There are more than one Biosphere-named artists out there – just an FYI. I will definitely be sharing more of his work as I go through my favorite Ambient albums.
Ambient Sunday: 2
Rest in peace, Mr. Sakamoto. So my ambient Sunday 2 will step back to what I consider the first, and maybe still best, Ambient album ever. Brian Eno’s Ambient One Music for Airports. I bought it after having bought Here Come the Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain and Before and After Science, and I honestly thought there was something wrong with my turntable. I fucked around with it a little bit and it slowly dawned on me that this was exactly what it was supposed to be. I learned just how brilliant Brian Eno is. 1/1 is sublime.
Ambient Sunday: 1
Ryuichi Sakamoto “async”
I’ve always wanted to share some of my favorite ambient albums, but it’s such an odd thing to share, right? It’s really hard to talk about – Ambient music is, one tends to lots of new age sounding adjectives, and so I will mostly just post the album and encourage anyone who wants to search it out and listen to it.
I learned today that Ryuichi Sakamoto died. He’s one of my top four, for sure, musical artists. He’s on constant rotation for me, partly because he has dozens and dozens of great albums – from early Yellow Magic Orchestra, his poppier solo work, and his own Ambient, soundtracks and piano albums, to his many, many albums created with other artists. It breaks my heart to know he’s no longer with us, but he definitely left us with lots of amazing music with which to remember him.
Note that sometimes albums I call Ambient are called electronic or some other genre elsewhere. It’s a hard one to nail down, for me they range from classic Ambient, such as Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports (which I always assumed would be my first Ambient post), to more experimental Ambient music that moves beyond the soft mellow chill of classic Ambient. This one shows up as electronic on my Apple Music, I would call it experimental Ambient. I just happened to be listening to it yesterday when he passed. I love this record.
It’s called “async”, by Ryuichi Sakamoto.