Ambient Music Guide's Best Albums of 2016 - Ambient Music Guide
In some ways 2016 was a year of comebacks in the wide world of sounds we call of ambient, downtempo and chillout. Deep Forest, Banco De Gaia, Pitch Black, Silent Records, Tangerine Dream's Peter Baumann - they all surprised by either releasing their best albums in many years, or by suddenly appearing with strong material after long absences.
Ambient Music Guide
Best Albums of 2016 by the Ambient Music Guide
We can't tell you how grateful we are, and how honored we are, to have our 2016 relases mentioned by the Ambient Music Guide on this list.
(And Happy 15th Anniversary to AMG!)
ASCENDANT - Meridian (Synphaera Records)
VARIOUS ARTISTS - Starseed (Synphaera Records)
FOURTH DIMENSION - The Core (Synphaera Records)
These three outstanding albums from new Los Angeles-based label Synphaera resonate with me particularly strongly because they embrace a timeless sound that's been with me since I was a teenager. The Synphaera sound is deeply Berlin school-influenced but with an ambient dance sensibility; a smooth, panoramic style of cosmic psychedelic bleep music that French label Ultimae Records originally championed.
The Meridian album by Ascendant (label founders Chris Bryant and Don Tyler) is quintessential ambient trance: lush and mysterious music with spinning arpeggios above gliding pads and discreet rhythmic pulses. “Arcology” is a dark-edged stunner with its haunting chorales, odd delay effects and sound design that has an uncommonly deep depth of field.
The other two albums have more variety. Beyond the gorgeous arpeggios and drifting cosmic drones, the Starseed compilation also serves up subtly glitchy grooves (Martin Nonstatic and Omelic) and even some 90’s style IDM.
The Core by Serbian duo Fourth Dimension is the freshest-sounding of the bunch and has similar diversity despite being the work of a single artist. “Dynamics” and “Synthetic Cognitive Process” have an intriguing industrial edge, and the album’s swings between light and dark show they’re not just skilled emusicians but expert dramatists as well.
More at Synphaera Records