Ambient / New Age Anyone?


I got a lot out of the 'Techno Anyone' thread, so I thought I'd start up one for the ambient/new age stuff. Stuff like Brian Eno (father of ambient), Patrick O'Hearn, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Shulze, Richard Burmer...

I'd like to hear everyone and anyone's thoughts on what they think are the best of the genre.

I particularly like Eno/Budd's The Pearl, Eno's 'Apollo', Richard Burmer's 'Mosaic' and 'Invention', Patrick O'hearn's 'Between Two Worlds' and 'Rivers Gonna Rise', Tangerine Dream's hard to find 'White Eagle' and Klaus Shulze's 'Dune'. I'll chime in with more later.

Any other 'must-haves'??

Chris
cdelplato
Chris,
There's quite a few that are ambient or modern classical or light electronica I would recommend...............................
Harold Budd-Luxa
Steve Reich-Music For 18 Musicians
Susumo Yokota-Sakura
Pan Sonic-Aaltopirri
Boards Of Canada-A Beautiful Place In The Country e.p.
Terry Riley-A Rainbow In Curved Air
Eno's-Discreet Music
Also David Sylvian's recent compilation of instrumentals is worth hearing-it's called Camphor.
There's a book called The Ambient Century by Mark Prendergast that's a reasonable reference book even if some of it is contentious.......
Edgar Froese, Ypsilon in Malaysian Pale
Synergy, self titled.
Ahhh, yes Ben. I have Harold Budd's 'Lovely Thunder', which is excellent. I also have most of the Eno collection. Saw Boards of Canada and Pan Sonic mentioned in the other thread - will have to check it out. I have heard some of Sylvian's recordings were highly acclaimed, but haven't heard any yet.

And Tw1, I have something solo by Froese somewhere. Most likely on vinyl. Also have some of Larry Fast's Synergy stuff - Metropolitan Suite - which is good. Fast played on Peter Gabriel's 3rd album.

Chris
Ashra's New Age of Earth may actually be the first new age album and maybe the best. I would not consider Tangerine Dream or Edgar Froese to be new age. They are really electronic even though they do some ambient and new agey music they sometimes do more rock oriented arrangements. They are some of my faves though. Along with Ashra of course. There are many others.
Chris my own opinion is that the e.p mentioned is the best of Boards Of Canada,their first album is good but not essential,their second album released this year is a pretty poor repeat of the first one.
You've actually mentioned music I haven't heard of,so I'll need to check that out.
I've spent a lot of the last couple of years checking out the Ambient genre-I eventually decided that Eno probably was still the best................
Kraftwerk's "Ralf and Florian" started me on this peaceful genre. Other favorites include: Edgar Frose-Aqua, Michael Stearns-Planetary Unfolding, Eno/Jon Hassell-Fourth World Vol. 1 Possible Musics, Harold Budd-White Arcades, John Serrie-And the Stars go with You, Midori-Bali, and most recently, Shastro-Tantric Heart
Future Sound of London's 'Lifeforms' and 'Dead cities' are two stand outs. I will post more as I recall.
Paul Shutze, Steve Roach and Robert Rich are all heavy hitters in the ambient genre, another favorite is Oyuki Conjugate.

If you check out the Boards of Canada get their new album Geoghaddi, it's their best work to date.
Rwwear - I agree that technically Tan Dream are not ambient, but for my own classifications I pretty much group all ambient/electronica together. Admittedly blurring the line a bit.

Rzemoski - I have a Stearns CD - M'Ocean which is good. Also, Eno/Hassell's Possible Musics is very good indeed. And I have heard of Serrie's 'And the Stars...' album, but never actually heard any of it - yet.

Ejlif - I know Steve Roach is highly regarded. For some reason, I have only heard a small sampling of his stuff and don't own any. Will have to rectify that, I suppose. What would be his 'definitive' work? I remember hearing something from an album called 'Dreamtime Return', and recently saw a CD in a shop called 'Streams & Currents'. I remembered that title because I am an avid fly fisher.

Chris
If you like TD(I have over 80 CDs by them)check out Steve Hillman and Dweller at The Threshold. They are both in the vein of earlier TD.

Robt.
I wonder why none mentioned Hanz Joahim Roedelius?
I bet that any ambient lover would "eat" his albums with huge appetite.
TAS released a compilation CD a few years back (long since out of print), entitled Hearts of Space. Mainly a mix of Electronica and New Age. Very well produced. I also recommend Steve Reich's recording on the Private Music lable of a work called Gaudi. It's a musical interpretation of Gaudi's architecture.
I personally tend to veer far away from anything related to the current crop of music that sits within the so-called 'new age' genre, but did listen to a fair amount of the music in the early days of the scene when I first started to get into electronic music. 'White Eagle' was actually one of the first LP's in my collection along with stuff by other folks like Klaus Schulze, Jean Michel Jarre, Ashra, and a host of other artists. A few artists/recordings I can recommend from the 'earlier days'...

*Tangerine Dream: 'Zeit', 'Stratosphear', 'Atem', 'Rubicon'
*Klaus Schulze: just about anything between 1971-79
*Michael Stearns: 'Ancient Leaves', 'Chronos', 'Planetary Unfolding
*Ashra: 'New Age of Earth', 'Inventions for Electric Guitar'

Most of Edgar Froese's earlier solo work fits well within the genre as well as the classic ambient works of Brian Eno and the trance recordings of Terry Riley ('Persian Surgery Dervishes, 'Reed Streams', 'Rainbow in Curved Air'). Also, you may consider some of the Popol Vuh recordings such as 'Hosianna Mantra', 'Seligpreisung', 'Einsjager & Seibenjager') or some of the mid- to late-'70's recordings by Cluster. There's obviously lots of other stuff and a lot of the music I listened to back then slips my mind at the moment. I'm not too familiar with the current crop of ambient techno artists, but I know there is TONS of material within this genre out there as well. One band I can heartily recommend checking out is an Australian group called The Necks. It is certainly not new age music, but contains elements of the classic new-age 'sound' in that it serves as very atmospheric mood music, but with a heavy jazz leaning and more experimental compositional structure. I might call it trance-jazz, although their music really defies description and has morphed and evolved over the years. Check out their website at www.thenecks.com
Robert, yes I have been a longtime TD fan. Love White Eagle, Phaedra, Tangram, etc. Will check out the Threshold. Thanks.

Slipknot1 - Do you know of Reich's 'Counterpoint?' - seems I recall hearing good things about that.

Chris
Anyone remember Eno's 'ambient" speaker system instructions on the back cover of On Land? Place a "mini" speaker behind you at the apex of the main speakers and wire the "mini" to the two positive posts of your amp. The out of phase information now "enlarges the room acoustically". Did Eno unknowingly start the Home Theatre craze?
I tried this when I first got that album and I kept it intact for quite a few years. Very impressive room filling qualities, though it was not perfect for all music. Here's a link to the info from that album.

http://music.hyperreal.org/artists/brian_eno/onland-txt.html

Chris
another green world.
Chris, for a deep space experience, you must hear Michael Stearns'"Encounter". Two other titles I can recommend by Stearns are " The Lost World" and " Sacred Site"; all of which are availible on the Hearts of Space label. The sonics on these recordings are incredible. enjoy, Richard
Thanks Richard. I do have Stearns' M'Ocean, which I enjoyed, but haven't listened to in a while. Perhaps it's time to give it a spin.

Robert mentioned Dweller at the Threshold (why do I think of Piper at the Gates of Dawn when I see that?) and I checked out their site. They've got a good MP3 demo that I liked a lot.

Haven't been able to dig up much on Pan Sonic or Plaid. It seems I recall these being more toward the Techno vein.

Some other thoughts -

Kitaro. Have a few of his. Not a huge fan, but I enjoy from time to time. Can get repetitive IMO. I have a taped copy of what I believe is his best (or at least my fave) called Ten Kai. It was very obscure relative to his other titles when I got it about 15 years ago. Have never come across the CD, but would put that at the top of the heap of his stuff.

Also thinking about some other stuff -

Eno/Byrne - My Life In the Bush of Ghosts and Byrne's The Catherine Wheel, though I don't think these fall in this category. Just interesting music.

Chris
Chris-

My personal favorite of Steve Roach is "on this planet", it's a live album, but you'd never really know it, the sonics are fantastic as they are on all his albums. I also really like the collaboration album he did called "halycon days"

Steve Reich is certainly worth checking out, don't think it's ambient music though, it would fall into the modern classical category as would Terry Riley
All fans of electronic/ambient should check out Hearts of Space on one of your local PBS radio stations or visit their website at www.heartsofspace.com
Ejlif-with regard to Riley& Reich I do state on my original post that they are modern classical....although they are very similar to Ambient in mood...........
there were lots of ambient releases by solo guys from the major german synthesizer bands from the 70's--michael rother did some nice one's, as did roedelius. ex-tangerine dream guys like schultz/schnitzler/baumann/ are worthwhile. some of the offshoot stuff from agitation free members and nueronium or popul vuh are good as well. They tend to be much more in the vein of new age as opposed to the straight synthesizer groups.
...just want to remind to all ambient lovers that Roedelius is a member of german ambient project CLUSTER along with Moebius and Plank.
I used to have one of Cluster's latest albums "One Hour" which means one track on CD that lasts exactly one hour.
-- it was way too ambient and i was going crazy not understanding what's going on there and sold it after all.
michael hoenigs DEPARTURE FROM THE NORTHERN WASTELAND ON CELESTIAL HARMONIES A FINE LABEL.
I have to give a word of thanks to all of your suggestions. I have been checking out much of the stuff recommended that I had never delved into before. I got a copy of Mark Pendergrast's "The Ambient Century" from the library and have been reading sections of that excellent book. Thanks to whoever suggested it. A great history and great recommendations of individual recordings. Also have to thank whoever mentioned Orbital and Chemical Bros. Cool stuff to be sure.

Chris
I began my career in a record store during the 80's and bacme interested in "new age" music through the rock door of Genesis, Pink Floyd and on to Tangerine Dream. Although much of the 80's releases were pablum, there are a few which i still listen to, and consider indispensable...

Tangerine Dream - Tangents(boxed set)73-83 - Collection of tracks from, IMHO, their most creative period. Initially starting out as ambient, this period showcases their elaborate compositions, using the sequencer as a center piece. Remastered and virtually "re-recorded" using more modern equipment with the same programming. Worth owning, even if you have all the albums. Comes with an interesting book with Monique's out-of-this-world photography and a history of the "box-of-frogs" that has been their line-up.

Suzanne Ciani - Neverland - combination of acoustic piano and synthesizer that entertains with terrific melody. Good sonics.

Dancing Fantasy - Midnight Blvd - Deep Bass, rolling rhythms that work well as driving music, and sexual noises! ;)

Edgar Froese - Stuntman - TD founder solo albums definitely reveal the dominant composer status. Stuntman is more melodic than the ambient works such as Aqua.

David Hayes - Sunbathing in Leningrad - very atmospheric guitar with a haunting coldness to the album. Takes you on a trip to a very unique neighborhood. I received this as a promotional cassette from the record label when it was released in 1988. It has been out of print for sometime, but my periodical visits to Amoeba in SF finally unearthed a copy on CD.

Michael Hedges - Aerial Boundaries - Does anything have to be said about this one? Ragamuffin is worth the price of the disc, alone.

Max Lasser's Ark - Earthwalk - Another atmospheric acoustic guitar gem. Another that is out of print. Another dug out of the dollar bins at Amoeba. Just remember to stop the disc before the last track. Somehow the wife ended up reciting a poem. If you are anywhere near the SF bay area, head in to Amoeba with a list and prepare to spend hours there. Probably the best place on earth to explore this genre of music, and to locate a basketfull of out of print classics.

Adrian Legg - Guitars and Other Cathedrals - Guitars for Mortals - These two albums mix the old english folk with a completely unique brain pattern exclusive to Mr. Legg. The first album displays an effortless mastery of the guitar. Very intricate & meticulous (although not quite "Fripp"ian). After some comments about his technical prowess on display, he released the second album with a decidedly melodic bent ranging from some comparably aggressive strumming to civil war era nostalgia (after the gig) all the while tapping the progressive vein.

Happy Rhodes - Many Worlds are Born Tonight - A progression from her earlier works, this album displays a wide array of electronic style only surpassed by her inhuman vocal range. These compositions are well rounded, melodic and address fundamental emotional issues. Full Range sonics.

David Sylvian/Holger Czukay - Plight & Premonition - Spooky! Eerie! Listen to this one with the lights off and be completely freaked out by your own imagination. Track 1 - "Giant Empty Iron Vessel" leaves you stranded on a moonless night in the middle of a dead-calm ocean. Track 2 - "The Spiralling of Winter Ghosts" sounds just like it reads... icy, chilled to the bones. Perfect soundtrack to REALLY scare the trick-or-treaters, and the entire neighborhood.

Synergy (Larry Fast) - Metropolitan Suite - One man orchestra, Larry Fast, composes melodic arrangements during the period when synthesized orchestral works seemed self indulgent and amazed at their ability to be something they are not. Metropolitan Suite is music first, and only as an aside, is it entertaining to know that this is one man creating this soundscape.

Favorite TD albums - Stratosfear, Force Majeur, Exit, Tangram, Sorcerer (sdtrk), Livemiles, LeParc, and even Lily on the Beach for the track "Too Hot for My Chinchilla".

Andreas Vollenweider - White Winds just edging out Down to the Moon.

George Winston - Autumn - Definitely the stand-out for me and usually the one i recommend first. December is also 80% strong.

Quite a few more to mention at a later time from Jean-Michel Jarre, Serge Blenner, and others.

Good Hunting!

patrick &B-{>
Thanks for your detailed comments Patrick.

I should share the unlikely way in which I got started listening to the genre. Bought a copy of XTC's 'Black Sea' LP, got it home to find the record inside the sleeve was Tangerine Dream's 'Tangram'. Had to check it out before returning to the store. I was amazed. Decided to wait until the next day so I could tape a copy of the album. And so it began....

I also have many of the same feelings as you on the discs you reviewed.

Stuntman is very good. As is Klaus Schulze's 'Dune'.

TD - love Phaedra, Rubycon, White Eagle, Exit, Tangram, Stratosfear...

Fast's Metro Suite and Hedges Aerial Boundaries also excellent.

Haven't been able to get my hands on Sylvian's Flux & Mutability or Plight & Premonition. Both highly regarded.

Several new ones I've 'discovered' include Constance Demby's Novus Magnificat and Michael Brook's Cobalt Blue. PG's Long Walk Home soundtrack is not quite what 'Passion' is, but that's a tall order. Worth a listen.

As for Jarre - Oxygene, Rendezvous, Zoolook...

Keep 'em comin'....

CD
I really enjoy atomspheric–ambient(both electronic and organic–acoustic) music and have many such titles in my collection. Some of my favorite artists are: Robert Rich, Steve Roach, TUU,Stephen Micus,Spool,O Yuki Conjugate,Koi,some Bill Laswell stuff. Two individual titles that stick with me are: "Afterglow" by Hoppe', Tillman &Weater and "Hidden World"by Serrie & Stroutsos. Many native american flute discs fit in here as well I feel.
Serrie's 'And the Stars Go With You' is a classic ambient/electronic/space recording.

CD
I have read some really awesome suggestions. My favorites are anything from Isao Tomita and Eddie Jobson. For ambient music, I would have to go with Spacetime Continuum.
Michael Garrison from bend, oregon had some excellent early albums. He was big on the sequencer's and those early albums have no vocals and he really was pretty good in that 77-80 timeframe and they're actually fairly well produced.
Wish I would've seen this earlier.

Michael Stearns-Sorcerer

Michael Stearns-The Storm

Pete Namlook-Air I&II

Global Communication-76:14

Steve Roach-Magnificent Void

Steve Roach/Vidna Obmana-Shadows Of Ascension

Lustmord-The Place Where The Black Stars Hang

Lustmord-Metavoid

Robert Rich/Lustmord-Stalker

Robert Rich/Alio Die-Fissures

Robert Rich-Seven Veils

Irresistible Force-Flying High

Deep Listening Band-Sanctuary

Coil-Stolen & Contaminated Songs

Coil-Time Machine

Tetsu Inoue-Organic Cloud

Tetsu Inoue-Ambiant Otaku

The Fax record label(Pete Namlook) in general

I could go on for hours so I'll stop for now.

Thomas Koner-Teimo/Permafrost
Wish I would've seen this earlier.

Michael Stearns-Sorcerer

Michael Stearns-The Storm

Pete Namlook-Air I&II

Global Communication-76:14

Steve Roach-Magnificent Void

Steve Roach/Vidna Obmana-Shadows Of Ascension

Lustmord-The Place Where The Black Stars Hang

Lustmord-Metavoid

Robert Rich/Lustmord-Stalker

Robert Rich/Alio Die-Fissures

Robert Rich-Seven Veils

Irresistible Force-Flying High

Deep Listening Band-Sanctuary

Coil-Stolen & Contaminated Songs

Coil-Time Machine

Tetsu Inoue-Organic Cloud

Tetsu Inoue-Ambiant Otaku

The Fax record label(Pete Namlook) in general
Thomas Koner-Teimo/Permafrost

I could go on for hours so I'll stop for now.
Wish I would've seen this earlier.

Michael Stearns-Sorcerer

Michael Stearns-The Storm

Pete Namlook-Air I&II

Global Communication-76:14

Steve Roach-Magnificent Void

Steve Roach/Vidna Obmana-Shadows Of Ascension

Lustmord-The Place Where The Black Stars Hang

Lustmord-Metavoid

Robert Rich/Lustmord-Stalker

Robert Rich/Alio Die-Fissures

Robert Rich-Seven Veils

Irresistible Force-Flying High

Deep Listening Band-Sanctuary

Coil-Stolen & Contaminated Songs

Coil-Time Machine

Tetsu Inoue-Organic Cloud

Tetsu Inoue-Ambiant Otaku

The Fax record label(Pete Namlook) in general

Thomas Koner-Teimo/Permafrost

I could go on for hours so I'll stop for now.