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Friday
Jan112013

Best Ambient Albums of 2012

Rachel Evans (Motion Sickness of Time Travel)
Does the word "ambient" mean anything to you in 2012?

It seems as though its usage becomes more and more scarce as the years go by. One might even call it out of fashion. Artists and journalists seem to be slightly squicked out by it. "Drone," a vaguer and less informative term, is more favored by the newer generation of artists and listeners. But despite these apparent trends against the A-word, the music itself is probably as big and as fascinating as it's ever been. In 2012 artists like Oneohtrix Point Never, Tim Hecker and Julianna Barwick stayed busy with press, festivals, touring, and recording—they essentially became indie household names. Blog darling Julia Holter has continued to put ambient pieces in her experimental indie pop records. Meanwhile Brian Eno, the man who coined the term "ambient" and arguably invented the genre, recorded his first solo ambient effort in two decades.

This list highly personal, but I believe it represents a large scope of an ever-splintering genre—from the noisy, to the lush and melodic, to the in-vogue lo-fi tape hum of recent years, to more folk and classical-leaning disciplines. Please enjoy, and watch the AiMT 2012 tag for more lists.



#25
Helm - Impossible Symmetry [PAN]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | WATCH "LISKOJEN YÖ" | STREAM PREVIEW:



#24
Zac Nelson - Sound a Sleep Sound [Bathetic]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PREVIEW:



#23
Gultskra Artikler - Abtu Anet [Miasmah]
STREAM ON SOUNDCLOUD | STREAM PREVIEW:



#22
Gabriel Saloman - Adhere [Miasmah]
STREAM ON SOUNDCLOUD | STREAM "ADHERE, PART 1":



#21
Grapefruit - Grapefruit [Audio Dregs]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PREVIEW:



#20
Memotone - I Sleep. At Waking [Black Acre]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM "STALKER":



#19
Kira Kira - Feathermagnetik [Sound of a Handshake]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PREVIEW:



#18
Brother Sun, Sister Moon - Brother Sun, Sister Moon [Denovali]
STREAM ON BANDCAMP | STREAM PREVIEW:



#17
Brian Eno - LUX [Warp]
STREAM "LUX 4":



#16
Various Artists - Pop Ambient 2012 [Kompakt]
STREAM MOHN'S "MANIFESTO":



#15
Golden Retriever - Occupied With the Uncertain [Thrill Jockey]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PREVIEW:



#14
Kyle Bobby Dunn - Bring Me the Head of Kyle Bobby Dunn [Low-
Point]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PREVIEW:



#13
Loscil - Sketches From New Brighton [Kranky]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PREVIEW:



#12
Atom™ - Winterreise [Raster-Norton]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PREVIEW:



#11
Willits + Sakamoto - Ancient Future [Ghostly International]
STREAM ON SOUNDCLOUD | STREAM "COMPLETION":



#10
The Caretaker - Patience (After Sebald) [History Always Favours the Winners]
STREAM ON BANDCAMP | STREAM PREVIEW:



#9
Fennesz - AUN [Ash International]
STREAM PREVIEW:



#8
Various Artists - Air Texture II [Air Texture]
STREAM MARCUS FISCHER'S "A FIFTH SEASON":



#7
Evan Caminiti - Dreamless Sleep [Thrill Jockey]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PREVIEW:



#6
Robert Hampson - Répercussions [Editions Mego]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PREVIEW:



#5
Mirrorring - Foreign Body [Kranky]


STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PREVIEW:



#4
Sand Circles - Motor City [Not Not Fun]


STREAM IN SPOTIFY | WATCH "MOTOR CITY":



#3
d'Eon - Music for Keyboards, Vol. 1 [Hippos in Tanks]


DOWNLOAD/STREAM ON SOUNDCLOUD | STREAM "#05":



#2
Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Motion Sickness of Time Travel [Spectrum Spools]


STREAM IN SPOTIFY | WATCH "THE CENTER":



#1
Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin - Instrumental Tourist [Software]


STREAM IN SPOTIFY | WATCH "INTRUSIONS":




Honorable Mentions

Here are a few extras I wanted to point out.



.
d'Eon - Music for Keyboards, Vol. 2 & 3 [Hippos in Tanks]
DOWNLOAD/STREAM VOL. II ON SOUNDCLOUD | DOWNLOAD/STREAM VOL. III ON SOUNDCLOUD | STREAM "SYMPHONY NO. 1 (PATRIOTE) MVT. I":



.
Oneohtrix Point Never - Rifts [Software]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM "LASER TO LASER":



.
Pye Corner Audio - Sleep Games [Ghost Box]
STREAM IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PREVIEW:



.
Icebreaker With BJ Cole - Apollo [Cantaloupe]
STREAM ON SOUNDCLOUD | STREAM "AN ENDING (ASCENT)":



.
Jan Jelinek - Music for Fragments EP / PrimeTime EP [Faitiche]
STREAM MUSIC FOR FRAGMENTS IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PRIMETIME IN SPOTIFY | STREAM PRIMETIME PREVIEW:



Here's a copyable list:

AiMT 2012: Best Ambient Albums
  1. Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin - Instrumental Tourist [Software]
  2. Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Motion Sickness of Time Travel [Spectrum Spools]
  3. d'Eon - Music for Keyboards, Vol. 1 [Hippos in Tanks]
  4. Sand Circles - Motor City [Not Not Fun]
  5. Mirrorring - Foreign Body [Kranky]
  6. Robert Hampson - Répercussions [Editions Mego]
  7. Evan Caminiti - Dreamless Sleep [Thrill Jockey]
  8. Various Artists - Air Texture II [Air Texture]
  9. Fennesz - AUN [Ash International]
  10. The Caretaker - Patience (After Sebald) [History Always Favours the Winners]
  11. Willits + Sakamoto - Ancient Future [Ghostly International]
  12. Atom™ - Winterreise [Raster-Norton]Atom™ - Winterreise [Raster-Norton]
  13. Loscil - Sketches From New Brighton [Kranky]
  14. Kyle Bobby Dunn - Bring Me the Head of Kyle Bobby Dunn [Low-Point]
  15. Golden Retriever - Occupied With the Uncertain [Thrill Jockey]
  16. Various Artists - Pop Ambient 2012 [Kompakt]
  17. Brian Eno - LUX [Warp]
  18. Brother Sun, Sister Moon - Brother Sun, Sister Moon [Denovali]
  19. Kira Kira - Feathermagnetik [Sound of a Handshake]
  20. Memotone - I Sleep. At Waking [Black Acre]
  21. Grapefruit - Grapefruit [Audio Dregs]
  22. Gabriel Saloman - Adhere [Miasmah]
  23. Gultskra Artikler - Abtu Anet [Miasmah]
  24. Zac Nelson - Sound a Sleep Sound [Bathetic]
  25. Helm - Impossible Symmetry [PAN]

Reader Comments (1)

Thank you this list is very much appreciated. I'm a bit out of touch with my music and have been getting back into it recently. Was looking for latest best ambient, this list was the third one I found and the best! So far everything I've looked up is absolutely amazing.
Cheers!
June 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJack

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