Electronic and Ambient Music Catch-All

So, we have the awesome metal thread which has been running strong for 5 years. But outside of the awards threads that I used to do, not so much on the electronic spectrums of music.

Let's see about changing that.

So, let's kick off with my absolute strongest recommendation: Boards of Canada.

I recommend absolutely everything they've ever put out, but Geogaddi is the album that's framed and hanging on my wall.

LINKS

Reviews sites for electronic music:
Headphone Commute
Igloo Magazine
Exclaim.ca
Resident Advisor

Podcasts:
Electronic Explorations
Headphone Commute Podcast
Little White Earbuds
Spartacus Roosevelt
Low Light Mixes (ambient)
Ultima Thule Ambient Radio
Rare Frequency (avant/experimental)

Oh nice. I love electronic/ambient. Great way to start the thread, I've always enjoyed Boards of Canada.

My two absolute favorites are both legends in this field but are each very, very different: Brian Eno and Aphex Twin.

Brian Eno arguably invented ambient, and his Ambient 1: Music for Airports album remains one of my favorites. Many a late night I've listened to and drifted off to sleep listening to this.

Aphex Twin can be more jarring depending on the track, but what he creates is always interesting. My favorite of his is:

I haven't been enamored with Boards of late. Feel like they've run out of ideas (or new instruments to mess with).

Love this thread already and can't wait for some good Pandora recommendations.

Mine is Ratatat -

There was a time, back in the late 90's into early 00's that Lake Trout was hands down the best band on the planet. They started out as a jazz band, but then got into DnB and their sound began to evolve. Their shows were played with live instruments along with a DJ (for a couple years). The lead singer eventually began using a loop machine to mess with his vocals. Their stuff was amazing and unlike anything I had ever heard.

As they evolved they began adding in more vocals and settled into a dark indie sound, which is when I lost interest. But during their transitional phase they were just phenomenal.

Little Things is a staple of their live shows.

#2 was another popular song.

They've got some studio albums up on Spotify and whatnot, but they were best live and thankfully the Archive has a ton of shows. 1999-2000 are my preferred years.

If you like what you're hearing, three of the members were in a side group called Big In Japan (not the punk group) and played ambient music. Basically it was a bunch of jamming and whatnot. They eventually went on to be the touring band for Unkle.

garion333 wrote:

I haven't been enamored with Boards of late. Feel like they've run out of ideas (or new instruments to mess with).

Really? Tomorrow's Harvest is one of their best records, IMO. Given their lackadasical approach to releasing, that's about covers "of late"

I've been really digging on Four Tet recently. 2013's Beautiful Rewind is fabulous, and the just released Morning/Evening is spinning at Chez Jonman too. His entire back catalog is worth digging into.

Flying Lotus is well worth checking out if you haven't. It's kind of bonkers, a touch of the free-form jazz to it, but it's rich and deep.

There's been a couple of records pop out from nowhere in the last year or two from artists that played heavily in my rotation a couple decades ago: Leftfield's "Alternative Light Source", and Nightmares On Wax's "Feelin' Good". Both are good, but not amazing.

Oh! And St Germain! Just came out with an eponymously titled record - his first in 15 years. It's great.

Couple of final shoutouts - I've just been getting into Tim Hecker - heavily on the "ambient soundscape" end of the spectrum. It's my new favorite thing to put on when I'm doing something technical and difficult. I actually saw him open for Richard Devine back in 2002. I'd never heard of him at the time, and I'd gone out to have a proper rave, and there's this guy playing swooshy wind noises. "What it this bollocks?" I thought to myself and retired to the bar until the next act came on and started throwing beats at the dancefloor for me to jump around to.

And I got to get my SQUEE on - I saw the mighty Autechre play live a couple of weeks ago as part of Decibel Festival here in Seattle. It was, as expected, f*cking fantastic. They turn all the lights off and play in the dark.

Jonman wrote:
garion333 wrote:

I haven't been enamored with Boards of late. Feel like they've run out of ideas (or new instruments to mess with).

Really? Tomorrow's Harvest is one of their best records, IMO. Given their lackadasical approach to releasing, that's about covers "of late"

Too true. I guess I meant everything since Campfire. Tomorrow’s Harvest just didn't grab me, but was definitely better than Campfire.

Jonman wrote:

I've been really digging on Four Tet recently. 2013's Beautiful Rewind is fabulous, and the just released Morning/Evening is spinning at Chez Jonman too. His entire back catalog is worth digging into.

Four Tet wrote a great pop song once.

SallyNasty wrote:

Mine is Ratatat -

I rather liked this song.

Might want to check out my mate who records as Digitonal:

garion333 wrote:

I haven't been enamored with Boards of late. Feel like they've run out of ideas (or new instruments to mess with).

IMAGE(http://replygif.net/i/796.gif)

The Campfire Headphase is probably the worst BoC release, certainly the one I listen to the least. But I thought Tomorrow's Harvest was excellent.

I have a couple things here (more to come):

Burial - Ghost Hardware

This entire album brings on the mental image of being in an alley, in a cool, windy, safe city at 3am. Papers are moving around the air, it smells like hot garbage, and the city, while still awake, suffers to stay alive only by the glow and hum of some loud cars and utility trucks. These are all things that should ruin your experience, but you also hit a moment of zen. You feel safe, and somehow internally warmed by the combination of these external factors.

damnablebear wrote:

I have a couple things here (more to come):

Burial - Ghost Hardware

+1 to this. Wish he'd release some more stuff - I've played it all to death.

Haven't listened to much Boards lately, I had a phase years ago where I think I overdid it and played those albums to death. I have been into Tycho recently, they have a similar, but more soothing IMO sound.

Maq wrote:

Might want to check out my mate who records as Digitonal:

Gave it a quick listen. Pretty good stuff.

I'll second pretty much everything listed here so far (especially BoC and Burial) and throw Yppah into the mix. New album came out just a week or two ago...kind of a bucolic, psychedelic thing with shades of Tycho and Chemical Brothers...

Amon Tobin is another one of my favorites:

Well this year he released an EP, Dark Jovian, which is more of a beat-less space ambient album (one he wrote "after binge-watching space exploration films"):

More cool stuff:

Culprate - Whispers (Part 1)

I just found out about this recently. I still have yet to figure out what this album is really going for, but this track is a great opener.

Ray Lynch's "Deep Breakfast" was my first foray into ambient. My uncle bought this self-produced, self-published album when Ray Lynch was selling it out of his apartment in California back when I was 12. When he got back with it we all sat down in his living room, listened, and marveled. It's been my go-to album for chilling and relaxing for more than 30 years, and now my children listen to it too.

Here's a link to the whole album on Youtube. Enjoy!

Added some links in the top post to review sites and podcasts. Feel free to suggest others to add.

I'm here for the drums.

Jonman has my eternal gratitude for turning me on to Venetian Snares, which out-Aphex Twin/Squarepusher'ed anything I could have imagined existed. I don't like everything VS does, but when I do, it's perfect. This is exemplative:

If synthwave falls under this banner, then thanks also to the cyberpunk music thread for turning me on to that, and darkwave in particular. Pertubator may be the best, but I'm also wearing out GosT and Dan Terminus:

Gravey wrote:

Jonman has my eternal gratitude for turning me on to Venetian Snares, which out-Aphex Twin/Squarepusher'ed anything I could have imagined existed.

Woot! You're welcome, man

I kinda burned out on him a couple years ago and haven't been keeping up with his continually prolific release schedule. But when I plug my phone into the stereo in my wife's car, it always starts playing the first song it finds alphabetically, which is this.

Makes for a good wakeup first thing in the morning.

Also, note to self. When letting your mother-in-law borrow your car so she can take your mother antique-shopping, maybe don't leave the stereo cranked to ludicrous volume with a Snares CD in there....

The one album with a Hungarian title that Venetian Snares has is also very good. Like, very good.

One of my favorites.

damnablebear wrote:

The one album with a Hungarian title that Venetian Snares has is also very good. Like, very good.

I refer to that one as "Rossig Skillet Hzzrgggle-zzz"

On a related "push the 'all the drums' button while having a Hungarian sounding name" note, I really like this track by Hrvatski - shame the rest of the album is kinda bobbins.

And of course, Bogdan Raczynski, who put out some bonkers albums of drum machines being abused back in the day.

Jonman wrote:
damnablebear wrote:

The one album with a Hungarian title that Venetian Snares has is also very good. Like, very good.

I refer to that one as "Rossig Skillet Hzzrgggle-zzz"

And henceforth, it shall be known!

damnablebear wrote:
Jonman wrote:
damnablebear wrote:

The one album with a Hungarian title that Venetian Snares has is also very good. Like, very good.

I refer to that one as "Rossig Skillet Hzzrgggle-zzz"

And henceforth, it shall be known!

Yeah, that's my favourite VS album. I always appreciated that someone put the IPA pronunciations for the titles in the Wiki article.

Jonman wrote:

Couple of final shoutouts - I've just been getting into Tim Hecker - heavily on the "ambient soundscape" end of the spectrum.

Harmony in Ultraviolet is f-ing awesome. I need to listen to his newer releases.

I can't think of a scenario where the best track to listen to isn't by STS9. Soothing, yet filled with energy, they mix electronic sounds with a jam band vibe that's as much at home playing in my office in the morning as it is on my nightstand before bed. Their songs take a bit getting into sometimes, but they're masters of building up into something worth waiting for.

The most approachable STS9 is their album "Ad Explorata". It's a good introduction to their stuff if you're curious or not used to it.

Artifact feels more experimental, and has more of a chill vibe

And Peaceblaster is probably my favorite, with a lot of energy despite staying true to it's core. IMHO, if I ever make a game worth licensing music for, this would be my first choice.

You, sir, may like what I posted about Lake Trout.

STS9 is also best live.

Where I grew up there was no access to electronic music. No radio station played it. No store around me stocked it. No one to let me know that there were artists actually creating albums full of these things. Movie trailers hooked me. The Hackers trailer had a riff (that I later learned came from an Elastica track) that melted my brain. The stores carried soundtracks, so I ran out and bought it on that alone. (A few years later I would actually watch the movie)The soundtrack didn't have that track, but lots of other meaty drops and beats. So for a few years I would buy movie soundtracks if I felt they would contain my kind of music. The Mortal Kombat Movie soundtrack was a goto for a really long time.
This track went on every mix tape/cd for years.

(I would later learn that it's an instrumental version when I bought the Traci Lords album hoping for more of the same. I had no idea how things worked. Someone handed me a DJ mix-tape once and I honestly didn't realize that they just mixed the transitions, and maybe sampled a little bit... made for an awkward conversation when they asked me later what I thought.)
Then I went to college and my girlfriend's brother had a big screen TV with this blasting during a party.

That girlfriend also gave me a Prodigy sticker that at the time I had no context for and probably pretended to know but wasn't that into because I couldn't let people know just how ignorant I was at the time.... that album is now one of my favorites.