ambient Archive

Free Planet Radio: Music from Alpha to Delta

For 17 years now, instrumental trio Free Planet Radio has been making its compelling brand of world music, suffusing jazz and pop forms with elements drawn from musical traditions around the globe. On its latest album, Stillness, the Asheville-based group takes a slightly different approach, crafting an album of contemplative, near-ambient compositions. Free Planet Radio

He Comes From Planet Jarre, Part Three

Continued from Part Two … Because a great deal of your work is instrumental, I’m curious about the inspiration for the pieces. Do you start with a non-musical concept, such as an emotion or story idea that serves as a catalyst for the song? Or do you start instead with a melody or a melodic

He Comes From Planet Jarre, Part Two

Continued from Part One … This may be a difficult question to answer. What do you see as uniquely French characteristics in your work? I think it’s maybe not that difficult. We should not forget that electronic music had nothing to do with the U.S. at the beginning. It has nothing to do with jazz,

He Comes From Planet Jarre, Part One

Last fall I had the honor of interviewing Jean-Michel Jarre for the second time (the two features based on our 2017 conversation are here and here). This second interview again resulted in two separate features; one ran in Stomp & Stammer; the other on Rock and Roll Globe. Here now is the full 2018 interview,

Album Review: The Orb — No Sounds Are Out of Bounds

Whether it was an association they originally wished for or not, the Orb were pegged early on as a sort of modern-day answer to Pink Floyd. Though the project (Alex Paterson and collaborators) has always been about more than ambient, dance-oriented space music — hey, they’ve worked extensively with reggae icon Lee” Scratch” Perry —

Album Review: All India Radio — Space

From the outset, All India Radio is all over the map. The name suggests a group from the Indian subcontinent, and the music draws clear inspiration from British late-period psychedelic/space rock (most notably Pink Floyd) and late-late-period American psych revival (specifically Flaming Lips). After all that, All India Radio is actually an ambient/chillwave group from

Jean-Michel Jarre on Making the Most of Music Technology

Jean-Michel Jarre built his music reputation on the strength of a series of groundbreaking 1970s albums. His second release, 1977’s Oxygène pioneered the use of analog synthesizers in a melodic context, and is widely viewed as an enduring influence upon today’s electronica artists. But Jarre remains busy with music today, and his approach isn’t stuck

Album Review: Ryan Summers — ii

Picture this scene in your mind’s eye: a desolate, windswept landscape, mostly monochromatic and largely devoid of detail, yet with ominous pockets of darkness that suggest an unknown danger lurking just out of sight. What might the soundtrack for that scene be? Ryan Summers’ ii provides one possible answer. A collection of synthesizer-based instrumentals, ii

Hundred-word Reviews for December 2017: New Music

As the end of 2017 approaches, it’s time to clear out some of the backlog on my review shelf. Here are ten titles, all new music, that I think might be worth your time. For the sake of brevity (not to mention expediency), each review is kept here to 100 words. Ella Atlas – The

Album Review: Yonder — Pearl Diver

Some music insists upon itself; rock ‘n’ roll, for example – when it’s done right – is designed to be impossible to ignore. So, too can other forms – progressive rock, jazz, blues – have an element of showiness in their presentation, one that seems to imply, “hey, check this out.” Other musical forms can