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01.08.23 JANUARY of a m b i e n ト (REC ME) 01.08.23 DISCOGS i will consume 今年
12.30.22 2022_well: YES 1 0 0 % ||ぼest あlbum 12.28.22 2022_well: >NO< ||albums||
12.16.22 JOTW's 5s = REFURBISHXD 12.08.22 CRINGE index: BNM 2022
11.29.22 DON'T TAKE RISKS: destroy now11.06.22 Staff AOTY 2022: BREAKING SPUTNIK
11.02.22 SputRoyale: WINNER 2022 10.31.22 SPUT ROYALE: FINAL
10.25.22 SPUT ROYALE: Round 6 (½ final) 10.17.22 SPUT ROYALE: Round 5 (¼ final)
10.12.22 SPUT ROYALE: Round 4.5 (playoff)10.09.22 SPUT ROYALE: Round 4
10.03.22 SPUT ROYALE: Round 3 Group B09.29.22 SPUT ROYALE: Round 3 Group A
09.24.22 SPUT ROYALE: Round 2 Group B09.20.22 SPUT ROYALE: Round 2 Group A
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JANUARY of a m b i e n ト (REC ME)

Hello I am johnnyoftheWell and I am hereby belatedly STEALING colleaguepal AsleepInTheBack's electronic list idea! Rec me ambient albums and I shall jam this month! There's never been a phase where I haven't cursively/tangentially enjoyed ambient, but I realised that the last 6ish months have been a really rewarding period of exploring it more directly and I'd love to run with that. I'll jam an album per day - rec me and I shall make a queue!
1Tim Hecker
Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again

Jan 1st
Rec'd by: the hivemind

Suitably entry-level start to this list, I think. I'd heard bits and pieces from His Royal Heckness here and there, but figured it was finally time to plunge into a whole record (this will hopefully unravel into a full discog run time). Wasn't sure what to expect from this, especially having sampled most of the scratchier follow-up Radio Amor, but it panned out as pretty much the platonic ideal of Baby's First Ambient record. Delicate slow chord progressions and innocuous glitch collages that feel as though they're 100% on show for texture rather than rhythm; static and (synthesised?) bowl sounds building up and down for dynamics. It's proficient for sure and especially compelling through the opening run Tundra/Arctic/The Work of Art... at the very least, but I'm struggling to view much of this as particularly remarkable outside of its construction - the atmospheres soothed but did not, as it turned out, haunt me.

2Rachika Nayar
Heaven Come Crashing

Jan 2nd
Rec'd by: eleventh hr 2022 hypesquad (mainly Slex)

I've written about this a couple of times elsewhere (maybe), but essentially we're dealing with a reverb-heavy cinema-ready collection of pieces with twinkly guitar delays, occasional beats, and progressions that sometimes meander and sometimes build but always display a concerted, borderline restless need to *progress*.

The good is the whole thing is meticulously engineered; the bad is that it has as much personality as a sheet of stainless steel and has such an over-polished emphatically-digital production job that I can't immerse myself in it at all and have to rely on such boorish components as climaxes and memorable melodies (both of which fwiw are handled fairly well) for gratification. Unironic and mostly unfortunate crossover appeal with All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone-era Explosions in the Sky.

generous 3.2
3Kali Malone
Living Torch

Jan 3rd
Rec'd by: Boney, many times

**For the sake of getting the week I missed off the ground, we are gonna expediently overlook that ambient, drone and [post-]minimalism are in fact different things, don't call me*

lol I don't know why I picked Living Torch as a leftover from late 2022 to fill this space, because I've previously been emphatically glad not to have to write on it. Let's do a kid-friendly version - the secret to its success is:

PALETTE (bass clarinet and trombone providing accents over a sustained synth rumble sparks big joy)
PACING (rate of introduction of subtle developments is extremely pleasing - economical balance of great intrigue throughout this thing)
PIVOT (phwoar baby, the darkening of mood from Living Torch I to II is a treat)

Solid 2022 gem - endorsed!

4Park Jiha
The Gleam

Jan 4th
Rec'd by: arf's Sirom review

Ditto everything on the Kali Malone disclaimer except this is more contentious. Park Jiha's latest is a post-minimalist Korean folk that, for all its glacial progressions, is decidedly non-ambient in the way each and every chiming / scraping tone is foregrounded to command as much attention as possible - this record is full of moment-to-moment contours! The reason that I'm sneaking it onto this list is that each and all of these do carry the impression of puncturing an ambient reverie that sits as an undercurrent beneath the whole thing, and it's doubly gorgeous as such. Overlooked album.

5Beverly Glenn-Copeland
...Keyboard Fantasies...

Jan 5th
Rec'd by: the RYM ambient pop chart (somewhat inaccurately - this is basically a new age record with ambient appeal)

Was initially turned off from this, and there's good reason for it: the first half of this is big bland! Beverly Glenn-Copeland's synth tones and husky croon are lovely throughout, but her early pieces remind me of everything otherwise immemorable I've heard from prog electronic/new age artists whose melodies bear the unmistakable character of proto-aircon musics. With the exception of the utterly gorgeous major 7th vibes on "Old Melody", this thing is a real pentatonic workhouse, but it takes until "Slow Dance" and the fantastic closer "Sunset Village" for the record's counterpoint to start catching my ear. Once we get there, things are golden. Keen to hear more of this

First three songs solid 3
Last three songs hard 4
6Steve Reich
Music for 18 Musicians

Jan 6th
Rec'd by: lol r u kidding

Ditto everything from the Kali Malone disclaimer, except I feel that the suggestion you can listen to this as ambient music isn't all that controversial (even if far from a full reflection of this thing's strengths). Anyhow, been meaning to check this for yonks, and while my first listen was a little unfocused, it didn't take long to click. Absolutely magical composition, beautifully intricate progressions, meticulously polished performance, wonderful atmosphere confirmed classic chef's kiss. Cannot wait to jam this in every library I ever visit.

Musick To Play In The Dark

Jan 7th
Rec'd by: Longtime curiosity

Coil so far have been a group that I respect and occasionally find highly intriguing, and while this hasn't levelled that impression up, it's certainly drawn me a little further in. I was surprised by how un-sparse, for lack of a better word, this is - the arrangements and weave of melodies on the fantastic highlight "Red Queen", say, are immediate as hell and ever-changing. Closer and co-highlight "The Dreamer Is Still Asleep" feels like a darker adjacency to the ambient dub stuff I've come to love, with a *super engaging* piano hook - full marks to both.

My suspension of disbelief has a temperamental relationship with this kind of spoken word, something the opener fell foul of, but my main gripe is with the way "Broccoli" bets all its chips on a surprisingly sentimental monologue that packs not nearly enough substance to sustain 9 minutes, only to lead into the outright test of patience that is "Strange Birds"' glitch collage. Overall a less consistent deal than I expected - feels like a Collection of Pieces hence the t/b/t - but with much room to grow.

Solid 3.5 (for now)
8Dedekind Cut

Jan 8th
Rec'd by: Mort.

This one loves its empty space and also its cheeky switchups - three full tracks of distant are-you-sure-you're-listening and then in it goes with a lovely long mix of progressive electronic, nature recordings and good ol' throat chanting ("MMXIX"). Worth it just for that imo, though the drasticness of its gear shifting gives it a bit of an unwanted contrast between gripping things happening and, uh, waiting for them to happen again. Second half is a bit of a hodgepodge - not sure how well the record as a whole hangs together as a whole or how consistently it rewards listener patience - either build that reverie or don't y'know.

9oedipus apartment complex
The Blissful Sounds of Miracula

Jan 9th
Rec'd by: Sloth

This isn't so much ambient as vanilla prog electronic packed with stock DAW instrument tones and a bunch of unimaginative chord progressions. "Maybe" is a cute vapory Bjork remix that brings vibes and "Reprise" has a pretty exciting development (not what I signed up for, but you bet I'll take it); otherwise, this fits the background music brief better than most things. Never worse than inoffensive, but back to the wilderness of interchangeable Bandcamp projects it goes...

generous 3.0
10Ricky Eat Acid
Three Love Songs

Jan 10th
Rec'd by: GmemberKills

WOW WHAT A CRAZY DAY LOADS OF US NEARLY DIED THIS LIST ALMOST WENT DOWN anyway, there is a lot to like about this! Feels wonderfully organic, layers layering gently over layers and voice samples soothing twinkles twinkling ASMR stuffs building and ebbing and mmming and even the occasional four-to-the-floor pulse to give things a lift - meticulously conceived stuff through and through. How much of it do I actually like? Am honestly unsure, but this is good and I do vibe it for insomnia hrs. Would love to love it more, maybe I shall one day!


Jan 12th
Rec'd by: Boney

Julee Cruise is apparently smiling on us from ambient heaven!! The opener absolutely nailed that sense of gorgeous melodramatic/mystical rapture that I associate with *those moments* in Twin Peaks: breath=taken!! The vocal mix in the second and sixth tracks is also very pleasing, but I found that the rest of it largely mined the same synth + string palettes at a glacial rate for diminishing returns. Shame - voices on this are a knockout and the whole thing verges on special but doesn't quite deliver as a whole. Still good stuff though, also appreciate how it feels like a somewhat shadowy album of light with disarming moments of darkness (that sixth track mmyes). Good rec, good stuff

12Stars of the Lid
And Their Refinement Of The Decline

Jan 12th
Rec'd by: Asleep

PRELUDE: dammit this is karmic. thought The Tired Sounds Of was dec but not enough to revisit in a hurry, and was praying no-one would rec this...

BLURB: The day has come, the deed has been done, and reflections are wriggling over my skim mmm let's see. This record, on the most basic level, feels uncommonly responsive to listener attitude and investment (yes this is true for all music yada yada, but this offers an uncommonly broad + expansive canvas of yourshit_projection). Put it in the background and it's vaporous nothing-music; pay close attention for a short while and it's teeming with gorgeous counterpoint and subtle dynamics; pay close attention for a long while and you will *laugh* bitterly at yourself for tuning into near-silence for two entire hours. What to do?

Well, unlike The Tired Sounds Of (the aural equivalent of a broken radiator in its most innocuous form, for 123 minutes at that), this one at least feels like a record you can Make Something Out Of! There are highlights (looking at you, Even If You're Never Awake, aka the Sigur Ros experience reimagined for drippy cornballs of both patience *and* relative refinement); there are distinct moods ("Another Ballad" is oppressive and dense; "Humectez" is mopey wistfulness for Satie groupies; "Tippy's Demise" is appropriately tragic and surprisingly cathartic - we have a ready-made emotriangle right there); and, prerequisite #1 of expediently chartable albums, there are even skippable duds ("The Mouthchew" meh). Heavens be praised! In short, it's a landscape I already feel much more confident in and am consequentially keener to continue exploring.

Conclusion #1: this album is good and I like it in a way that will quite likely be meaningful and enduring on some level.

*However* I am still not sold on how much of this album's greatness lies in its specific ability to indulge my considerable short-term stress (#postgraduate #essay #crisis) and poor sleeping habits, and how much is merely inherited from those two things' undoubted maximalism. Is it a good canvas? Is my subconscious just a really fuckin good artist? Is this good because it's good nothing-music or *cowardly* because it panders to an audience of flighty anxiety attacks? Hmm.

Conclusion #2: TIME WILL TELL!!

The Golden Morning Breaks

Jan 13th
Rec'd by: Ghandhi

Classical guitar and a load of chimes - how quaint! I guess you'd call this an ambient chamber solo project of some description, but more importantly it's shockingly emotional for a Ghandhi 4.5! I found the closer and, in particular, "I'll Read You a Story" deeply affecting pieces full of haunting delicacy. At its best, this record feels like a pale hand gripping a piece of china, held at such an angle as though it might fall to the floor at any given moment (this is a shit simile I am tired). At its worst, it's a little bland but doesn't overstay its welcome. The latter side dominates its runtime, but the highlights here are easily among the most enthralling pieces I've heard from this list so far.

14Keith Fullerton Whitman

Jan 14th
Rec'd by: sona

ONE SONG! ONE LONG SONG! One long song of many sections! This starts out as a rather drab ambient/glitch piece (honestly made me think of an extremely threadbare version of the Whistleblower sound), which did not thrill me and somewhat dragged for 15 mins or so, but then the waves of thick distorted floatational silvernoise come rolling in and we are good. Sort-of. I dunno - enjoyed most of this, but question whether it was worth the set-up.

3.3 for now, will have to reevaluate at some point
15James Ferraro

Jan 15th
Rec'd by: Ryus

Need another pass at this one, brb

EDIT: Okay so this deepens my vibe with Jim Ferrari, whereby I think he's a cool artist and appreciate his ideas without drawing the kind of nourishment I'd ideally like from them. This whole thing feels subtly restless and out of focus to the point that I questioned whether the flac I downloaded was dodgy (still need to verify, but enjoyed the effect enough not to prioritise). I actually quite like how discontinuous this is between individual pieces - given the thrumming and churning going on in the background all the while, it feels like chillout music for ADHD kids who like their bleeps. Glad to have heard this, even if the Vibe evaded me at times.

16Tuluum Shimmering
These Flowers in Dawn's Twilight...

Jan 16th
Rec'd by: Hyperion

Okay, this is a 3.5 hr psychedelic folk record made up of 6 songs, and I freely chose it from hyp's rec'd artists because I am an idiot.

Or am I?

The (very modest 15ish min) first track was exactly the kind of drone-folk I was actively hoping this would avoid and the (still sub-30 min) second track drove me briefly insane one I realised I was not responding as hoped to the drone and turned It The Fuck Up while out in public, but I vaguely appreciated the hysteria in the moment. So far, so okay.

And then the hour-long third track was one of the most blissed out things I have heard in a LONG damn whole and I loved it

Fourth track was almost as long but much harder to get into - I think the length was especially warranted on this one, as it took me 10ish mins to immerse into the loop, but once there it was just another good jam. Lovely.

Fifth track was under 20 minutes and I can no longer remember things of that brevity

Sixth is another longboi and potentially the most chill of the lot, man I can't wait to go back to the third and find out.

*SO*, after a pretty forgivable start that I neither loved nor hated, this turned out to be a wondrous dream of light and peace and TIME and repetition and I am so, so, so glad I didn't wimp out from it. Genuinely felt myself floating at around the one-two hour mark and cannot say that any other album here has reached my spirit that way. Dunno if I'll ever jam this again as a whole, but I would absolutely throw the odd track on to kill an hour if I wasn't sure which Entire Album to play instead and wanted to chill.

Would 4.0 it, but fuck this deserves better than that maudlin Stars of the Lid flimflam

4.3 (would have been in my top three and maybe AOTY if I'd heard in 2019)

Jan 17th
Rec'd by: calmrose

What kind of gas is Gas I need to know because my soul INHALED this. Some of the best ambient beats I've heard (and the beatless stuff is just gorgeous), lovely album YES

18Jana Winderen
Energy Field

Jan 18th
Rec'd by: Space Jester

it is raining there is wind this album feels like it offers an umbrella but i am unsure how to channel that? big energy

19Steve Roach
Structures From Silence

Jan 19th
Rec'd by: Viriathus and Kompys

Oh Y E S ! "Reflections in Suspension" is everything I've ever wanted from ye olde ambient-new age-space superjunction and impeccably gorgeous through and through. Absolutely magical track. The rest isn't exactly a step down, though I did question how much nourishment I drew from the t/t's many, many minutes (multiple repeats and tests were levelled in its direction and the results are inconclusive). This is exactly the kind of record I was hoping to net from this list though - great rec.

20David Sylvian and Holger Czukay
Plight and Premonition

Jan 20th
Rec'd by: Viriathus

LISTEN #1: was on a floor mattress in total darkness in the creepiest room in my family home after a day of travel (don't ask questions). Was tired but threw this on last thing at night. First half immediately gripped me and, though subtle in its spookiness, was the most unsettling experience I can remember having with music since I fell asleep with shuffle on and ~woke up to an uncharacteristic moment of sleep paralysis beautifully scored by Aphex Twin's Gwarek2. Unlike that time, I absolutely loved this! Felt like my subconscious was being lead down some shadowy path drawn in an innocuous art style like wherever Winnie the Pooh goes where he has nightmares. Was absolutely hooked, assumed that I would 4.5 this immediately after hearing the second half, and then immediately fell asleep before it started. 5/5 classic

LISTEN #2: this time in broad daylight, wide awake. Am v glad I had listen #1 to draw on, because I would have struggled to pick up on this thing's aura with nearly the same level of fixation. Made it to "Premonition"! Was unconvinced by "Premonition"! Oh gosh...

LISTEN #3: turns out "Premonition" is lovely and I was a fool. Great album, love the change in tone between the two pieces, dig both a lot individually.

21VVV x Sangam
Tomorrow Comes

Jan 21st
Rec'd by: Dewi

Well it's vaporous alright. Palatable NPC ambient, not getting much character from this beside ye olde retrofuture slow motion metropolitan concrete neon sunsetshit (the sun is neon it is red). Hmmm

22Sam Kidel
Disruptive Muzak

Jan 22nd
Rec'd by: granite

tl;dr for anyone who hasn't heard this, it's a 20-min piece of parody--background-muzak ambient interspersed with presumably real recordings of irl call centre workers reacting to it being played down the phone at them.

You might think that it's more of a Concept Art deal than 'actual' music, but you'd be wrong because the track is also included as an instrumental, but then (as the Quietus' v enjoyable read points out) you'd *still* be wrong because the instrumental version is branded as the "DIY" edition, for you to make your own disruptions! Y'geddit?


1) I love how *gettable* this is - sure, it hinges around the conceptual conceit, but the way it's presented is so straightforward and repetitive that it never feels like the listener is particularly distant from Sam Kider's humour and enterprise.
2) The ambient music is lovely and holds up on its own terms - gimme those rolling synth pulses all day bby. Appreciate the subtle accents that develop throughout the piece
3) That said, I've gotta admit that I like this album more for its intellectual satisfaction than for its role as music. The idea that music as innocuous as this could be implemented disruptively is a great bit and I love how far the alb doubles down on it, but it feels more like the audio-recording-of-that-experiment is just proof that these-things-did-occur-in-realtime than that it's the most essential part of the venture. Doesn't feel like something that will reward repeats all that much either

Gets a solid 3.5 as a MusicThing for me, but this definitely warrants the righteous 5.0 granite has bestowed on it
Elegy for the Victors

Jan 23rd
Rec'd by: Dedex

Lovely dreamy ambient that goes through all the motions of the things lovely dreamy ambient does with nary a foot put wrong, but never really rises above that brief for me. Nice stuff anyway.

The Place Where The Black Stars Hang

Jan 24th
Rec'd by: Sharenge

I am listening to this right now at high-ish volume in a very bright cafe and feel like I have done something incredibly wrong.

^this, I think, was basically correct. As with Heresy (though perhaps moreso), I don't have any serious critiques to land on the music here, but I neither loved it nor found the Extremely Creepy Vibe interesting enough to want to give it the full darkroom treatment. There's a very clear, focused vision throughout this and I don't mind being filtered by it - not something I need in my life, but am glad I checked.

25Geinoh Yamashirogumi
Ecophony Rinne

Jan 25th
Rec'd by: DadKungFu

A lot of this went over my head on first listen, but mmm I'm glad I gave it a few repeats - absolutely enchanting unpredictable music of light, and not something I'm keen to subject any further to the cruel prison of words.

26A Winged Victory for the Sullen
A Winged Victory for the Sullen

Jan 26th
Rec'd by: hesp

Aight, gonna kick up some dirt while I marinate on the many charms of Ecophony Rinne. This thing gave me Stars of the Lid vibes approximately 20 seconds after hitting play, which in turn was approximately 20 seconds before I learned that it was a successor project of one of the members.

This is convenient, because the basis for my Vibe is also directly descended from Stars of the Lid. Draw up an expedient dichotomy of things I do/don't like about Stars of the Lid and:

GOOD - huge sombre fogginess; subtle use of counterpoint; pacing sluggish to the point that emotional overtones are rarely overbearing; melodies generally aren't too strident; overall inclination towards oblique who-cares-what-it-originally meant comfort space, hence the wide scope for user projection I highlighted back on #12

BAD - the emotional overtones in question and (where relevant) track progressions are overly maudlin in a way that makes me imagine and feel compelled to identify with an audience of maudlin sadboys whose #1 musical requirement is a superslowmotion rewind effect on their apparently equally maudlin ghost umbilical cords, by which they hope to crawl right back into their mother's womb and vegetate ad infinitum to these comfort songs of life-is-what-you-make-of-it (in this case, not very much at all) yeah, suffice to say that A Winged Victory for the Sullen aligns about as squarely as possible with the BAD end of things. Stars of the Lid for people whose favourite Sigur Ros record is Takk: not a combination I'm keen to fuck with any further. Those melodies are just too damn kitsch and the whole package feels melancholy in an uncomfortably clearly defined and overall prescriptive way. It's craftful in the same way as a 2D soundtrack for a bleak existential drama and very much lacking the sophistication of on-screen performances needed to ground the affect. Unlike Stars for the Lid, I am unprepared to offer my IRL profile as a surrogate thank you very much you cheapskates.

Mushi Mushi

Jan 27th
Rec'd by: WRYN

Problem #1: Could not find this on slsk, so went for Mushiness instead (since it apparently contains all the same tracks?)
Problem #2: This is ambient? Not buying it lol (same tier as people who'd have Meat Beat Manifesto in that ballpark - those heavy beats are v much the star of the show here)

GOOD THINGS: this is still an alright creepy techno thang hmm okay

28Svaneborg Kardyb
Over Tage

Jan 28th
Rec'd by: Josh D.

this vanilla background jazzmusic is not ambient. it is fine.


Jan 29th
Rec'd by: Sniff

If there's any one record on this list that embodied every preconception I had about ambient music before getting my toes soggy mid-2022, it's this. There are notes, everything is grey and translucent and usually beautiful, time does not exist, chordpads waft etcetc.. Awesome: I like ambient now(?!). Last track in particular is absolute heaven and going straight onto the expanded ambient mix I'm going to make as soon as I've finished this month, shit d a m n. Xiexie YOU very much Sniff !

New Age of Earth

Jan 30th
Rec'd by: protokute

Good news is that this is one of the coolest records ever ! Bad news is that my favourite bits aren't ambient ! Unconcerned ! The synth tones on here are timelessly fantastic and I love'em - shit is Thousand Knives Of -tier for wtf cannot believe this came out in the late 70s. Impeccable stuff gimme Sunrain on repeat forever thank you - this record cured my hangover and made my day :] :]


Jan 31st
Rec'd by: dbizz

Perfect note to wrap up on: ambient dub techno that landed right into my comfort zone! Enjoyed this at times a little and at others lots and lots - maybe felt a bit diffuse at points, but I was all too happy to drift to it. Mmmyes!

32Nala Sinephro
Space 1.8

((fuck knows when, but bookmarked))
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