Sean Williams

2015 in Ambience

posted on 31 Dec 2015 at 12:02 am

This was a weird year for me, music-wise. I practically inhaled all of Steven Wilson‘s backlist (including Porcupine Tree and other collaborations), which left little space for my usual ambient explorations. Also, I finally bailed on eMusic.

So what you see on this list is the best of a much reduced field. Still wonderful, but I’m sure there’s lots of great stuff I missed. (Suggestions always welcome!)

#1 – Hans Zimmer, Interstellar

This was a huge writing album for me, rich, evocative, and terrific to write to. The new track I played most all year was “Dust”.

blue radiance#2 – Erik Wøllo, Blue Radiance

The opening track is amazing, but sadly I can’t link to it. Here’s a sampler of the album that’ll give you an idea of its depth and variety. (Basically, another stellar addition to an already stellar oeuvre.)

#3 -Steve Roach, Skeleton Keys

I couldn’t possibly talk about ambient music without mentioning Steve Roach! His all-analog sequencer-fest from this year was stunning. This tiny glimpse is a pale shadow. The companion album, The Skeleton Collection, is good too.

#4 – Forrest Fang, Letters to the Farthest Star

A beautiful, lush soundtrack to your mind’s imaginary movie.

#5 – Lights Dim, Caught in the Passage

Short but sweet, this EP had a lot of turns on repeat. “Found” isn’t my favourite track, but it’s the one on Youtube. “Bent” is the one I love most.

Future favourites:

Of the albums that came in late, I’d single out Steve Roach’s Vortex Immersion Zone, ASC’s Beneath the Surface, and Redshift’s Life to Come as the ones I’ll be spinning the most in the weeks to come.

Apart from all this, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to old favourites, such as Donnacha Costello’s together is the new alone*, Deepspace’s Another Empty Galaxy, Biosphere’s Shenzou, Terminal Sound System‘s RH-85B, and Gas’ pop. I’m often driven to look forward to new things, but its good to be reminded that old favourites are still a potent source of inspiration and energy. Whatever happens, I’ll never run out of great music to write to.

Have a chilled-out festive season and a blissfully creative new year!

forrest fang

* Just noticed the new version of this album while searching for this link. Exciting! Am downloading as I type . . .