ambient Archive

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

Album Review: The Undergrowth — Synergy

Asheville-based The Undergrowth isn’t a band. And it’s not a person. Instead, it’s a collective of musicians and producers working nominally under the musical umbrellas of electronica, drum and bass, ambient and psychedelic genres. The open-ended collective has featured at least 50 different artists, both from Asheville and around the globe. Though the music is

Album Review: Gel-Sol — Horse Head Bookends

It’s inevitable: the first thing one notices about Horse Head Bookends, the latest album from Andrew Reichel (d/b/a/ Gel-Sol), is its stunningly original album artwork and packaging. The vinyl LP is housed in a black, die-cut sleeve with a front window that serves as a frame for a 12×12 full-color art. There’s a collage for

Jean-Michel Jarre: Embracing — Yet Remaining Wary of — Technology

A pioneer in electronic music, French composer-performer Jean-Michel Jarre is as well-known for his stage spectaculars as for his innovations in ambient and new age music. Though he has always embraced new technology – from his earliest projects, his musical tools included synthesizers and drum machines – he remains wary of some of the uses

A Few Moments with Hans-Joachim Roedelius

German composer Hans-Joachim Roedelius is a synthesizer pioneer, and a leading light of ambient music. Yet acoustic piano is his instrument of choice, and he has little use for the term “ambient.” Roedelius made a rare North American appearance at the Mothlight on March 18 before heading to Knoxville for this year’s Big Ears Festival.