Dec 28, 2016

Ambient also-rans: from Panthers to Planet Earth

Ambient music never went away. It just ended up in this also-rans section of my 2016 countdown.

Just because I preferred Pye Corner Audio to Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein’s Stranger Things (Lakeshore Records), it didn’t stop that programme and its soundtrack being a glorious highlight of 2016. Alas, not in my final list though.

There are plenty more ambient works that didn’t make the top 20. COW / Chill Out, World! (Kompakt) saw The Orb at their most floaty, while Sir Brian of Eno spiced up a Velvet Undeground cover with the voice of Peter Serafinowicz on The Ship (Warp Records). Yes, you read that right.

Clark’s The Last Panthers (Warp Records) seemed dark and interesting, but it was soundtracking a TV series I hadn’t seen. Brooklyn’s Julianna Barwick spooked us with Will (Dead Oceans), clearly taking some of her inspiration from Oneohtrix Point Never.

Digging down into the experimental bucket, I have three final ambient works to mention. Norway’s greatest export Biosphere used Ukrainian and Polish folk music on Departed Glories (Smalltown Supersound). Black Merlin trekked to some far off places for the field recordings on Hipnotik Tradisi (Island Of The Gods). And Crotaphytus’s Acanthosaura (Further Records) came across as some kind of ketamine Planet Earth.

Scroll all of the best 2016 electronic albums by clicking here.