Let's Get Discreet w/ Ambient Music

Working a full time office job has turned me into that which I’ve always feared–the weirdo who gets more excited about ambient music than melodic music. What are your favorite ambient albums?

You know I gotta start us off with the king himself, Brian Eno. My favorite ambient record of his is Ambient IV: On Land.

This album is terrifying! It sounds like you’re lost alone in a swamp at night. It sounds like you’ve been walking alongside a desolate highway for hours, and you see in the distance the slightly-too-large silhouette of a person hunched over, vomiting into the road. It sounds like you’ve learned the language of worms, and they’re mad at you for eavesdropping!


On a completely different vibe, here’s a very pretty and relaxing ambient vaporwave album: System Delight by VAPERROR. It’s all smooth downtempo sega saturn style jazz.

You would not believe how easy it is to get shit done when you’re listening to this! It made a database management class I took about 5x easier to get through.


“The Spectacle of Light Abductions” sounds like an early 80’s VHS tape about ancient aliens, it’s rad. I ordered a cassette from this dude and it took him 6 months to mail it to me, but it was worth it.


I only have one foot in the ambient airport so far, and have been listening to a lot of Another Green World lately. Because I recently moved and most of my CDs and tapes and records and whatnot are still stashed away, I’ve been on a chronological album by album Eno kick lately. Give me another couple months to listen to …Science and the Cluster stuff on loop and I’ll get back to you.


Another Green World is so good. I can’t think of many other albums that straddle the line between pop and ambient that well. It’s a great recipe! Before and After Science tried to do the same kind of thing, but I didn’t feel it meshed as well.


If I weren’t in this special situation, I think I would have found AGW easy to overlook when you’ve got something more iconic like Ambient 1 on one side, and the glammy protopunk stuff like Tiger Mountain’s Third Uncle on the other. I’m hoping Before and After Science benefits from the same thing.

I kind of want to do this for every artist now.

hey I know that guy. he’s literally the coolest guy I know. it’s cool that you posted this—it’s my favorite album of his. I saw him perform it once in a theater that was projecting a video collage of alien abduction tapes and 90s digitalia—it was awesome.

this is his latest album/moniker:


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not ambient but in the spirit of your second post, e2-e4 is my productivity jam

also listen to a lot of basic channel. can ambient be 4/4? I know nothing about ambient


stars of the lid


Daaaammnnnn, you know Spencer Clark!? His music is awesome. I love the otherworldly conceptual side of his work. I found out about him through his collaborations with James Ferraro. I have Bamboo for Two on vinyl. Tell that cool fool to come perform in Boston!

I dunno, I think so! The way I define ambient is just… any music that’s not predominantly melodic, and which works well as background sound. But definitions may differ!

I really like Eno’s definition of it in the liner notes of Music for Airports:

  • Ambient Music focuses on texture of sound as the primary compositional attention.
  • Ambient Music makes use of electronics to create acoustic spaces that do not exist in nature.
  • Ambient Music allows for the listener to be immersed in sonic worlds.
  • Ambient Music enhances environmental acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncrasies.
  • Ambient Music contains mood and emotion.
  • Ambient Music is intended to create a space for thinking and calm.
  • Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it music be as ignorable as it is interesting

I will if I ever see him again. We hung out when he lived in Portland, but then he relocated to Belgium / LA, and then I left Portland and so our paths don’t really cross anymore. He is currently touring the southwest!

There is def a deliberate occult / ritualist bent to his music that is quite powerful. On one record he channeled Pinhead and HR Giger and the result sounds like a xenomorph dance party. He recently he put out an LP version of the soundtrack to Tradewinds, the first windsurfing movie ever, and it completely rules.

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Is Aphex Twin too obvious to mention? I especially like his album I Care Because You Do.

I also like Seefeel, especially this remix of this song:

I find Milieu’s music overwhelming in that there are just too many albums to even sample them all. But I like Slow Lid Close a lot. (It’s actually two albums combined.) Milieu is also responsible for the soundtrack to Eufloria.

I could go on, but I guess I will limit the number of things that I include in one post.


I end up listening to Eno’s vocal albums more than the rest of his work but the Apollo album (and looping Silent Hill OSTs) helped me get through undergrad.

Loved the Fripp+Eno albums but they aren’t as “ignorable”

Speaking of vaporwave I’ve gotten way more mileage out of this reedit than I probably should have



when they go low we go high

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Floex (Tomáš Dvořák) makes some of my favorite ambient music. And although his video game soundtracks (such as Machinarium and Samorost) might be considered more ambient than his albums under the name Floex, all of his albums are excellent.

I also like some of Leyland Kirby (a.k.a. The Caretaker)'s music.

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