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Paul D. Miller - Rhythm Science

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Eric Tamm - Brian Eno: His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound

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NAMM 2006 Show News


Dark Ambient Music

Dark Ambient Music

Dark ambient music explores the experimental fringes of ambient music, often using ambient sounds to create an unsettling or even scary soundscape. Dark ambient is rhythmless or uses minimal beats, and may include atonal synthesized washes and sample-based noise effects.

One of the earliest examples of what could be considered dark ambient was Brian Eno's Ambient 4: On Land . This is the darkest of Eno's ambient works. It is largely electronic, but also includes treated acoustic sounds. The sounds are not easily recognizable - it's difficult to know if you're hearing an instrument, electronic sound, or treated recording. On Land is a collage of mysterious, even scary sounds, that create a sense that you're in an alien landscape.

Richard D. James, better known as Aphex Twin, released a CD in 1994 called Selected Ambient Works, Volume 2, that includes many cuts that could be considered dark ambient music. The music bears the indelible influence of Eno's On Land, but James charts new territory, too. His ambient pieces tend to be less murky, but just as dark and mysterious as Eno's work on Ambient 4.

Steve Roach and Robert Rich explore dark ambient territory on some of their releases.


Synthtopia Dark Ambient Music Reviews

302 Acid - 0005 Even Calls

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Even Calls is an exciting and intense collection of electronic jam-band ambient music.

Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works, Volume 2

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Fans of Aphex Twin's harder side will be surprised by this collection of dark ambient music. On this classic release, Aphex Twin explores moody, even scary, electronic soundscapes.

Brannan Lane - Piano Dreams and Nightscapes

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Piano Dreams and Nightscapes, the latest CD from electronic/ambient musician Brannan Lane, is one of the most relaxing and lovely ambient CDs released this year.

Brian Eno - Ambient 4: On Land

Sunday, November 23, 2003

This is the last recording in Brian Eno's seminal Ambient series, and after 20 years, it still sounds beautiful and disturbing.

Bruno Sanfilippo - Intro

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

InTRO is the latest CD from Bruno Sanfilippo, an Argentinean composer and musician now living in Barcelona, Spain.

Cluster - First Encounter Tour 1996 Live

Friday, March 19, 2004

This live release from Cluster captures performances from around the United States, including New York, Portland, Chicago and Phoenix. The pieces are each named after the location where they were performed. The music is a collection of mellow, drone-based ambient work.

gaudi:testa - 1105 Continuum

Saturday, April 29, 2006

gaudi:test 1105 Continuum brings together the electronic soundscapes and grooves of Gaudi with the organic sounds of Antonio Testa.

Ian Boddy - Elemental

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Elemental is a very imaginative ambient release that deftly mixes elements from 30 years of ambient electronic music.

Martin Ayres - Celloshere

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Ayres music is modern electro-acoustic music that explores ambient soundscapes.

Return of the Permanent Wave

Friday, July 09, 2004

Ready to go Back in Time? Silver Plastic Records has something for fans of eighties-style synth-pop with its compilation album Return of the Permanent Wave. The CD features tracks from 10 artists that are creating new music that draws on elements of classic synthpop.

Rhythmicon - Feedback Machine

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Feedback Machine is a mini-CDR release of experimental electro-acoustic music. The three tracks on Feedback Machine combine synth, saxophone, theremin and extensive electronic processing.

Robert Rich - Calling Down the Sky

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Robert Rich's latest CD, Calling Down the Sky, captures a 2003 concert performance. The CD documents  a house concert Rich performed in Denver, Colorado.

Robert Rich - Inner Landscapes

Sunday, April 04, 2004

This release captures ambient space music improvisations from a 1985 concert by Robert Rich. The eight tracks showcase a variety of ambient environments that explore different moods and sound, while also blending together into a 73 minute soundworld.

Robert Rich - Propagation

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Propagation is a deep ambient album featuring music that explores the idea of life spreading itself. Robert Rich submerses you in a soundscape that has an organic and primitive electronic feel.

SourceCodeX - Codex Hypnos

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Codex Hypnos, the debut release of SourceCodeX, explores ambient spaces somewhere between music and chaos. This release is a treat for fans of experimental electronica and dark ambient music.

Steve Roach - Distant Signals

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Places Beyond is the fourth release by Steve Roach that collects what he calls his lost pieces. By the fourth collection, how good can these "extras" be?

Steve Roach - Light Fantastic

Thursday, January 22, 2004

The theme of this cd is refraction, the idea that a wave of light can pass into various forms, and change into a radiant display. The combination of tribal percussion, sequences, and Roach's synth washes make this an interesting example of dark ambient music.

Steve Roach - Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces is one of Steve Roach's most challenging and rewarding releases to date.

Steve Roach - World's Edge

Sunday, March 14, 2004

This 1992 release is complex ambient music at its best. The music has a mystery and edge about it, even a little uneasiness. The double-cd collection of dark ambient music is one of the finest works Roach has released, and is a classic piece of ambient electronic music.

Steve Roach & Roger King - Dust to Dust

Monday, May 24, 2004

Dust to Dust blazes a new trail for Steve Roach. On many of his albums, he has explored integrating electronically generated sounds with acoustic percussion and didgerido to create tribal electronica. On Dust to Dust, he collaborates with guitarist Roger King to create music inspired by the dreams and memories of the people that have lived in the American West.

Steve Roach and Kevin Braheny - Western Spaces

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

This 1987 release was inspired by the landscapes of the American Southwest. Both Roach and Braheny enjoy the freedom and wildness of the California wilderness, especially the Mohave Desert. This inspired the music on CD, which has become a classic ambient space album.

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Recent Electronica News

Brian Eno To Score Spore

1/16/2007

Brian Eno is reported to be working on the soundtrack for the Will Wright video game, Spore.

Ueberschall Intros Scoretrax Royalty-Free Music Library

1/14/2007

Ueberschall has announced the release of SCORETRAX, a royalty free music library for Video, Film, Flash, TV, Advertising, Animation, Games, Music on hold, Multimedia, Education, Broadcast and Website Producers.

Ueberschall Intros Liquid Trumpet

1/14/2007

Ueberschall Liquid Trumpets are loop-based construction kits (480 licks) adding over 1000 add-on licks and phrases (jazz, funk, pop, soul, afro cuban, buena vista, bebop and electronica).

Electronica News Index

 

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