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The ambient/IDM thread.


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I find it very hard to find out what is IDM and what not... I just hate genres in general. Anyway, I listen to some music that would fit here. Felix Laband hasn't been mentioned before and that's a shame because I think all three albums he made are very good. Reminds me a little bit of Boards of Canada from time to time. You also get to listen to some real instruments, I just like the mood of the music.

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Damn, dude.  Oliver Lieb just put the entirety of his 2014 album Inside Voices up on YouTube: Even in YT quality, this thing is worth a listen if one is remotely interested in minimal,

This isn't really ambient nor IDM: It is, however, simultaneously the most 1980s thing imaginable and absolutely timeless.  Aged like a fine wine, made by two Swiss lunatics.  

This, right here. Gorgeous, like ambient Bach from space.

^ That's because IDM is one of the more loosely used pigeonholes, but "yah" to the "I hate genres" comment -- the musicians make music. They don't think beforehand, "what kind of music should I make?" They make the music first, and then afterwards, when someone asks what kind of music they make, then they try to describe it.

On a lighter note -- not really full-on IDM, but ambient-ish:

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Not really sure where to post this question, but thought I might, here: did pitchshifter pre-date dubstep by like over a decade? Every time I hear dubstep, I think back to their www.pitchshifter.com album:

I mean, I realize the beats are more dnb than substep, but all that radical pitchbending on the synthesizer work just sort of defined the sound for me.

PS I never get tired of this album, despite the fact that the vocals border on nu-metal. It was pre-nu-metal, so I make the association that nu-metal sounds like pitchshifter more than pitchshifter sounds like nu-metal. It's why I chose an instrumental track from the album. But it otherwise fucking rawks. If you think you can get over the vocals, it's worth listening. It's a weird cross of metal, punk, industrial, and dnb. "Please, Sir", "Genius", and "Microwave", in particular, are exemplary. Another (the only other) instrumental:

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Odd. I never saw the above post until just now. I have a Pitchshifter CD ...somewhere. I've been meaning to rip it.

Ambient piece made with the mightest FM synth of them all, the Yamaha TX816. This thing is a BEAST. Eight modules, each of which is essentially a DX7 in a rack card.

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Stop snickering. FM synthesis gets a bad rap because of horrible presets and cheesy electric piano patches from the 1980s. When it comes to weird sound effects and making anything that sounds like two pieces of metal being slammed together, FM synthesis pwns.

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TX816 connected to an MV802 mixer with $200 in Mogami cables. I love synth nerds.

Edited by Knuckledragger
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I have a TX81Z, does that count? (Trick question: the answer is no. The TX81Z was an abortion -- they combined FM synthesis with wave table lookup. So you could frequency modulate square waves with other square waves and whatnot. Yeah, that made things...uh...better. :\ )

Eno was the grand master in FM programming. It definitely had some strengths, but being intuitive to program was not one of them. Even if you happened to know how to program them, you still didn't think, "oh, I love programming this thing". It was more like, "oh. what happens if we do this...?" and just perchanced on serendipity. (Is that a double negative? Is it not?)

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Miley Cyrus

EDIT: 33 minutes of awsum sauce.

Ya, rly.

EDIT #2: It's a whole meme -- cf. slowitup.

EDIT #2b: It's open-source software (see comments).

EDIT #3: The downside is that listening to these tracks takes 8x as long, so it's 8x the time waster that just taking the occasional break is. Ah well, back to work.

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I downloade paulstretch for OSX a while back, around the time of the ZOMG Justin Beiber @ 1/8 speed = Sigur Ros phenomenon. I used it on a few gabba tracks to odd and amusing effect. One of these days I might get around to post some expamples. Don't hold your breath on that one.

Baked Beans were a trio of German ambient composers. They put out two albums on the short lived Recycle of Die label in the mid 90s, and one more a different label toward the end of the decade. Physical copies of their CDs are stupidly hard to find, but in the age of FLAC most of their catalog is attainable. This song was my first exposure to their music. It was included on the Eye-Q compilation pictured in the video, which actually had some distribution in the US. As it turns out, the song is one of Baked Beans' strongest works, and is dedicated to Heinz Roth, the founder of Recyle or Die.

Like many (most) ambient works, it's a bit slow to start. When it finally gets to where it's headed, this song displays some pretty fantastic analogue synthesis. Well worth 11 1/2 minutes of one's time, provided the listener is in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. Then again, I dunno, this track might work with closed to cans to block out a noisy and hectic workplace.

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You ever heard Cypher 7? They have a track called "Dead Drop" which is just outstanding. "Ladder of Lights" is pretty great, too. "Dead Drop" takes over 2 minutes to "get started", your comment is what made me think of them.

Dead Drop would be over a hundred and forty-one minutes in paulstretch time...

Oh, and yes, I listen to that sort of thing all the time at work.

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I'll throw in these recs for ambient-style electronica: Phutureprimitive, Trifonic, & Tripswitch. (They each have only one major released album.) Been doing a lot of listening to them over the last few months, can never get enough. The Phutureprimitive CD is actually more DNB than ambient (as it has lots of active bass rhythms), but the other two are well into ambient territory.

Can't even pick a favorite between the three, they're all really good IMO.

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I'm a big fan of Phutureprimitive. His 2004 album came out on Waveform Records, which has been one of my favorite labels for a good 16-17 years now. He actually just came out with a new album quite recently.

I also like Tripswitch. I have the 2CD version of his 2005 album, which has a bunch of remixes. The best is Gaudi's remix of Exiled, which I featured at my 30th birthday set (but I digress...) He came out with a new album last year. It's pretty sedate ambient. I've listened to it a few times, but I've yet to "crack" it, if you know what I mean. There's a brand new album for 2011, which I have not heard yet. I have entirely too much music to listen to, and there are some things I just have to sleep on.

The two artists that have been occupying my time recently are Pretty Lights and Heyoka. Unusually, at least for me, both of these guys are really big with the younger generation of club goers. Pretty Lights is not remotely ambient or IDM. Early in his career, he made mashups from 60s and 70s soul records. Recently, he's been producing uptempo breakbeat tracks with some dubstep-influenced basslines. This is probably his most famous work:

The vocals are sampled from Etta James' Something's Got a Hold on Me and the distinctive guitar riff is lifted from Judy Clay and William Bell's Private Number. Pretty Lights is not the first artist to sample either of these tracks. Nightmares on Wax sampled Private Number mere months before in his track "You Wish." Paul Frankland sampled the Etta James track way back in 1994 on the track "Mama 6 Pt. 2" from the Journeyman album. Paul is more famously known as the ambient artist Woob, but that's a topic for another day...

Unfortunately, so is Heyoka. I've gotta finish some work today, and his dubstep-IDM-glitch-dnb madness will have to wait.

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NP: Anthony Rother, The Machine Room, non-paulstretched

Elixir of Life is still my favorite of his Fax... releases, but there's something special that I can't quite put my finger on about all Rother releases (only the Fax... of which would be considered ambient).

EDIT: That portion between 12:00 and 20:22 has some exquisite bass -- headphones are a must, unless you have a decent subwoofer (or decent extension on your speakers) and a well-tuned room.

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Posting this here in a vague attempt to stay on topic.

Yup , sounds about right

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"Don't give me any of that intelligent life crap, just give me something I can blow up."

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:)

That movie is awesome. Dialog from it has been heavily sampled in the world of electronic music. Woob used it in a least one of his ambient tracks, but I can't recall which one offhand. Visit Venus's "The Big Tilt"makes heavy use of the ship's computer dialog. Apparently there's an official video for it, which I did not know about. The album came out way back in '98, when the Information Age was a lot less information-y. I have the 12" single ...somehwere. Strictly speaking, Visit Venus isn't ambient or IDM, they're breakbeat.

Unfortunately, the video removes the opening dialog, so the sample doesn't come in until about halfway through the song. GrooveShark has the album cut, which has the original intro and outtro samples.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DJ0_KcK0RY

Here is something of an oddity. There are a number of acts named "Witchcraft." This one put out two peculiar electronic albums in the 90s and then promptly disappeared. I originally heard this track forever ago on the Slumberland compilation on the mighty Waveform records. Back then the information age was a lot less information-y, and I knew virtually nothing about the artist. Recently I looked them up on discogs and, ahem, procured digital copies of both their albums in the way of our current age. Both releases are quite good and generally sedate, spacey and weird. That said, "We Rest" is different than every other song by the group. I kind of wish they had made more material like it, as the song fan-fricken-tastic. It's like vocoded synthpop under heavy sedation. We worth 4 1/2 minutes of your time.

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I was listening to Sounds from the Ground, Mosaic (remastered), and then Stripmall Architecture's demos compilation, Afield Recordings (Vol. 1), and I wouldn't have put together the two before, but the latter comp in particular, I think might appeal to fans of the former. Worth at least listening to once, since you can for free online.

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Funny, I just got my hands on SFTG's 2008 album Brightwhitelight. I managed to miss it when I first came out.

The Verbrilli Sound is an alias of Canadian deep house producer Don Verbrilli. In 2000 he put out an album of breakbeat-driven downtempo called Many Colored Butterflies,. I heard this track on internet radio (probably SomaFM), about a decade ago. The funky trip hop bassline, deep ambient pads and stellar drum programming caught my ear right away. I tracked down on an mp3 version on AudioGalaxy, and eventually a CD copy of the album on the 'Bay. Don Verbrilli has put out quite a few releases since his debut, but the first is still my favorite. "Dizney" is by far the best track on the album. The version on YouTube is pretty crap, bitrate-wise. There's a much nicer version on GrooveShark, but I can't embed that.

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Wow. Sometimes the information age leads to the coolest things ever. Don Verbrilli, the guy behind The Verbrilli Sound, recently joined facebook. I send him a friend request and included a note telling him how much I enjoyed his music, specifically Dizney. He wrote me back:

Dan. Thank you very much for writing to me and expressing your appreciation of my music. I am always grateful when people feel the need to say something to me on a personal level. I guess the impulse to connect with one another becomes strong in certain situations. i hope that you feel as rewarded and nourished by what i do musically as i do creating it. i have a new album to be released in the next 2 months on itunes etc. called "The Verbrilli Sound - Caliph" so i can only hope that there are a few songs on there that you might like.... it's heavy on the head bobbing beats and funk with nice patterns and atmospheres running behind.

hey- a little secret- the beat from dizney is a chopped up beat from a steve miller song- i just spent 10 minutes trying to figure out which track now and i can't figure it out. pretty sure it's on his 74-78 best hits collection...maybe you can hear it somewhere in there!

How cool is that? I don't have any Steve Miller Band at home, but fortunately for me there's a shit ton on Grooveshark. Initially I thought the beats came from Swingtown, which starts with just drums and has been heavily sampled over the years. After doing some A/B listening, I'm not so sure.

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Time for some thread necro in honor of a largely unknown genius.

‎10 years ago today, Drexciya's James Stinson died. I still remember logging on to SoulSeek and the electro room was buzzing with the news. It had only been comparatively recently that his real name was associated with the project. Around that time there were some update wars on the Drexciyan Discogs page that would make a Wikipedian flinch.

Now at this current wave of "EDM" popularity crests and the term "electro" has been repurposed to reanimate the career of a legion of has-been house DJs, the importance of what James Stinson and Gerald Donald did in the 1990s under a host of aliases is more important than ever.

You will encounter precious little electronic music as challenging and rewarding as that produced by James Stinson in his all too short career. It's not catchy, and it's not necessarily easy to "get." If you listen closely, you will will hear the bleak landscape of Detroit, and the vivid imagination of those who live there and sought to escape to a world of their own making.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrTgSOWGJtU

Available in much higher quality here.

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