Sean Williams

Sounds for a Chilled-Out Apocalypse

posted on 13 Dec 2012 at 1:12 am

Regular followers will know that I’ve been compiling my annual ambient music list for several years now (2011, 2009, 2008 – not sure what happened to 2010). It’s that time of year again.

Here are my top five individual tracks for 2012, in alphabetical order of artist:

Where Rasa Lives”, Steve Roach (Back to Life)
All you are going to want to do is get back there”, The Caretaker (An Empty Bliss Beyond This World)
Obliterated Alcove”, Alio Die (Deconsecrated and Pure)
Bedded in Shallow Blades”, Celer (Evaporate and Wonder)
Resting Point”, Forrest Fang (Animism)

I’ve calculated this by taking the most-played individual tracks from each album and then ignoring subsequent entries from each album, since it goes without saying that I like the rest of the albums, too. (I should also add that some of this music might be old stuff I’ve discovered this year. If so, my bad. But I got there eventually.)

Here are some other high ranking albums:

The Sidereal Cycle 1, Altus
Sketches from New Brighton, Loscil
Felt, Nils Frahm
A Perpetual Point in Time, Andrew Lahiff
Airborne / The Nocturnes / Silent Currents, all Erik Wøllo (he’s had an extraordinary year)

Other high-ranking tracks:

But the Stars had come out”, The Caretaker (Extra Patience (After Sebald))
“The Passage”, Sam Rosenthal (The Passage)
Patterns”, Patrick O’Hearn (Transitions)
b1”, Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm (Stare)

I had a lot of new music this year, thanks in part to the generosity of Projekt, who very kindly sent me several new releases, some of which I might not otherwise have stumbled across. (You’ll see their albums scattered through this post.) Some other discoveries that don’t appear here that I would like very much to shout out to include As Lonely As Dave BowmanCellMax CorbachoBen Cox, and Oneohtrix Point Never. Thanks to everyone who’s sent me suggestions. I thrive on this stuff, so I’ve included as many links as I can to make it as easy as possible to listen, spread the word of anything you like, and maybe even buy yourself a treat for the silly season.

Have a chilled-out Xmas and a very ambient new year!


  1. woordenaar says:

    Recently discovered your books (thanks to the SF Gateway!). Interesting to see what a writer listens to. May I suggest you give The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation a try? They’re a Dutch band playing on the edge of jazz, ambient and drone. The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble is the same band, with a differend name, playing ambient jazz for non existing movies. http://shop.tkde.net/