Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Best Free Music: Deep Ambient (A Rudimentary List)

Hey Everyone. Sorry for the delay in getting something new up here. Aside from going back to work full time after a month of extended weekends, I've also been fighting a summer cold for the past several days. Nevertheless, I wanted to get something posted on here for those of you who have begun checking this blog regularly. I am putting up a rudimentary version of this post, which I will go back and fill in soon, adding links, commentary, etc.

I've been thinking for a bit about some of my favorite deep ambient music available for free download. By deep ambient music, I mean spacious, floating, vast, largely beatless soundscape type music exemplified by folks like Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Vidna Obmana, and similar artists. There are a number of good artists making this type of music and offering it for free on the web. Here are some of my favorites:

1.) Mooma - Herd Forming - This is a lovely album of deep, drifting ambient music. Whereas, a lot of the free ambient music available on the web veers towards experimental, dark, or drone oriented ambiance, this album has a brighter sound, in keeping with the album cover artwork, and even features melodic elements at times. If that description makes you think of New Age music, don't worry, this is definitely serious ambient music. One of the things that distinguishes this album for me, from among the many ambient releases available for free download, is that it avoids the sappiness of new age music on the one hand, and the oppressive darkness and isolationism of a lot of ambient music on the other. The music calls to mind vast open spaces.

Tracks like "Shelter" and "Hello Dawn Horizon" have a kind of nostalgic, melancholy melody to them, while other tracks like "Entropy" feature drifting pads and vague background noises that bring the natural world to mind. Even the darkly named "Don't Bring Light Into This Place" is far more spacious and bright than one would expect, and also features sparse melodic elements. This one is a definite winner. If you like beatless, drifting ambient music, it's hard to go wrong with this album.

2.) Altus - various releases - Altus is an ambient artist who offers nearly his entire discography as free downloads. While his music can be generally classed under the deep ambient/new age label, his sound varies from album to album. There is the dark, dramatic "Only One Earth to Destroy," the lighter, more melodic sounds of "Excursion One," and the majestic space music of "The Grand Expanse, to name just a few. His most recent album "Macro" is highly different from anything he has done before, collection of short instrumental pieces that vary in sound and style, from "classical" sounding string pieces, to sparsely treated piano sounds, to full on electronic ambient. "Singulus," a collection of various pieces composed for different compilation albums, also gives a good introduction to the variety of Altus sound. Most of his prodigiously large output is available for download directly from the Altus website. Very good stuff.

3.) Deepspace - The Barometric Sun; Subantarctic Sessions

4.)Palancar - Various releases

5.) Copal River - Ancara

6.) The Nature of Light - Shores of Jupiter

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