As I’ve been starting my own journey to create ambient music and posting some scraps HERE and THERE, it’s been reassuring to find that something of a dialogue has opened up. The electronic music community is alive, well and friendly when it comes to sharing ideas.
Whether through Spotify, Amazon, YouTube or wherever it’s easier than ever to be introduced to new artists and readily access work that in prior decades would’ve remained truly underground for many. As the year draws to a close, I thought it worth compiling a few under the radar discoveries from the last year into one inspiring post.
This isn’t the usual best ambient releases of 2018 or the year end review of electronic music’s greatest hits or whatever but rather a few emerging artists who have got in touch to me directly with new material that I would like to pass back on to you.
So in no particular order here’s some beguiling new sounds you should check out…
S28-47 by Samsuo
Not the catchiest name for an EP, but s28-47 offers more familiar charms when you delve into it. Oceanic drone waves wash over you beautifully on the slow burning I’m Sure which was the highlight of this economical release. It clocks in at less than five minutes but I could’ve happily listened to this all night.
Megadoze by R.Seiliog
Welsh producer R.Seiliog aka Robin Edwards is on hypnotising form with his new album Megadoze out now via the Turnstile label. It opens with a beautiful ode to the epic synths of Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack before revealing its driving beats and contemplative rain sounds. It’s a daring balancing act but it comes off wonderfully. Nice video too:
Unnamed Cafe, Hoang Hoa Tham by Seamus O’Muineachain
Next up is Unnamed Cafe, Hoang Hoa Tham by Seamus O’Muineachain – a more melodic piece with aching piano riffs juxtaposed by playfully experimental guitar runs and hits that dance on their own before joining hands. While this EP was composed and recorded in Vietnam, Seamus hails from Ireland.
Elegia by Marco Ciannella
Marco Ciannella’s virtuoso skills on the piano recall Ludovico Einaudi with the playful optimism that encircles the listener. While far from being an ambient release, this upbeat and speedy album is nonetheless well suited to finding your focus or drifting away.
Minder I Fire Satser by Hviledag
With this wintery EP, Hviledag “tries to be the soundtrack to our memories being colored with the alluring nuance of nostalgia”. I can’t really put it better myself – there’s something transcendent about Hviledag’s compositions that reminds me of Boards of Canada.
Colourful Places to Live and Play by Ataşehir
Hailing from Istanbul, Turkey is a great drone artist called Ataşehir. As with the best innovators of the genre, Ataşehir deliberately flies under the radar with his full length album Colorful Places to Live and Play. My favourite is the fade in-fade out of track no 6: Safe, Sound, Yours. In a nice touch, each of the track titles are based on aspirational advertising slogans.
Clair de Lune – Extended Ambient Reimaginings by Dave Lancaster (me)
I thought I would do a cover to get used to the technical challenges that electronic music can throw at you. Coming from the brutal immediacy of guitar and piano, the idea of DAWs like GarageBand and Logic with their wealth of options and instruments seemed daunting.
Overwhelmed by choice when it came to production, I decided to see if I could extend Debussy’s immortally romantic chill-out piece Clair de Lune into a more ambient sphere. Clocking in at nearly 22 minutes, it’s available as either an ambient or drone mix on by Bandcamp. I recorded the slow motion video at sunset a few minutes from my house at the top of the Peak District in England.