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low light mixes

20
Dec 2020

Best Ambient Albums of 2020

December 20, 2020

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I always label these lists and mixes as "Best Ambient," but with so much music released each year, coming up with a true best list is almost impossible. So this is really more of a list and mix of my favorite ambient albums of the year. Best of 2020 just sounds better.

I don't about you but I bought a lot of ambient music this year thanks to Bandcamp Fridays. Through regular purchases and special deals, where one could get a whole discography for like $10, I think I bought about 250 ambient albums this year. Yikes! Then add in releases that labels and artists send my way and it amounts to one hell of a lot of music. 

Thanks goodness for all that music though. I've been stuck working from home for almost 10 months and would have lost my mind without music to get me through it. One of the treats that got me through the year was Whitelabrecs excellent Home Diaries series. It featured music recorded and released during quarantine. I couldn't pick just one release so I cheated and put the whole series in my top 15 list.

It's hard to narrow down that much music into 30 or 40 favorites. I know I will miss things. But this list has a bunch of styles so it gives a nice representation of what I listened to this year. My favorite album this year was actually an easy choice, it's Mindful Movement by Clariloops.

Clariloops is Australian clarinetist, Ruby Lulham. She experiments with looping and pedals to to produce beautiful music that takes my breathe away every time I hear it. The folks at The Slow Music Movement put it best when they said, "producing music with a purity & simplicity that is both charming & striking." Please go check it out.

 
 
Here is the full list of my favorite ambient albums of 2020. I came up with a top 15 releases and then the next 30 favs are listed alphabetically.
 
  1. Clariloops - Mindful Movement [self-released]
  2. 36 & zakè - Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel [Past Inside the Present]
  3. Echoflex - Echoflex I - III [SeeHear Recordings]
  4. Alva Noto - Xerrox Vol. 4 [Noton]
  5. Vieo Abiungo - At Once- There Was No Horizon [Lost Tribe Sound]
  6. The Chi Factory - AI-18 - Travel in Peace [Astral Industries]
  7. Tapes and Topographies - Inoculations [Dronarivm]
  8. Night Sea - Still [Silent Season]
  9. Mary Lattimore - Silver Ladders [Ghostly International]
  10. Mute Forest - Riderstorm [Lost Tribe Sound]
  11. Andrew Heath - The Alchemist’s Muse [Discogecko]
  12. Christopher Bissonnette - The Wine Dark Sea [Dronarivum]
  13. Anthéne and Andrew Tasselmyer - Progressions [Constellation Tatsu]
  14. Moss Covered Technology - Quiet Loops [Dewtone]
  15. Whitelabrecs Home Diaries series 
 
Andrew Heath - A Trace of Phosphor [Discogecko]
Ben Salisbury- The Insects- Geoff Barrow - Devs Soundtrack [Invada]
Christopher Bissonnette - Wayfinding [12k]
Ecovillage - Arrived [Dronarivum]
Evan Caminiti - Varispeed Hydra
Flexagon - 7 Nocturnes East
Fluxion - Perspectives [Vibrant Music]
glåsbird - norskfjǫrðr [whitelabrecs]
Halftribe - Archipelago [sound in silence]
Heavenchord & Infinity Dots - light, water and silence [secret domain]
Innesti - Parenthetical
Jogging House - Be [Seil]
Johann Johannsson & Yair Elazar Glotman - Last And First Men [Deutsche Grammophon]
Loneward - Moongate
Luke Carbon - Brightest Threads [Made Now Music]
Mathieu Karsenti - bygones [Slowcraft]
Michael Grigoni + Stephen Vitiello - slow machines [12k]
Michael Scott Dawson Nowhere, Middle of [We Are Busy Bodies]
MNO - Ambient Marimba - MNO Sleeps
Mount Shrine - Shortwave Ruins [Cryo Chamber]
North Americans - Roped In [Third Man Records]
Olafur Arnalds - some kind of peace [Mercury KX]
Raymond Richards - The Lost Art Of Wandering [ESP Institute]
Roméo Poirier - Hotel Nota [sferic 2020]
Sibling & Heavenchord - Sounds Of Silence [greyscale]
SUSS - Promise [Northern Spy Records]
Thom Brennan - Night Lights
William Ryan Fritch - Sodium [lost tribe sound]
William Ryan Fritch - The Letdown [lost tribe sound]
Yagya - Old Dreams And Memories [Small Plastic Animals]
 
 
Cheers!
 
 
- - - T R A C K L I S T - - -
  • 00:00    Clariloops - Mindful Movement [Mindful Movement]
  • 05:50    Vieo Abiungo - At Once, There Was No Horizon [At Once, There Was No Horizon on Lost Tribe Sound]
  • 09:36    The Chi Factory - Travel in Peace Part 1 [Astral Industries]
  • 14:45    Mary Lattimore - Sometimes He's in My Dreams [Silver Ladders on Ghostly International]
  • 17:55    Mute Forest - Return [Riderstorm on Lost Tribe Sound]
  • 21:22    Ecovillage - She Walks In Beauty [Arrived on Dronarivum]
  • 24:24   Andrew Heath - The Alchemist’s Muse [The Alchemist’s Muse on Discogecko]
  • 31:36    Moss Covered Technology - Untitled Quiet Loop #1 [Quiet Loops on Dewtone]
  • 34:23    Tapes and Topographies - Always The Last Time(SineRider Remix) [Inoculations on Dronarivum]
  • 37:28    Anthéne and Andrew Tasselmyer - Progressions, Pt 1 [Progressions on Constellation Tatsu]
  • 41:48    36 & zakè - Stasis Sounds for Long-Distance Space Travel Stage 2 [Stasis Sounds for Long-Distance Space Travel on Past Inside the Present]
  • 47:30    Night Sea - Manila [Still on Silent Season]
  • 54:00    Evan Caminiti - Radio Rome [Varispeed Hydra on Dust Editions]
  • 56:21    Sibling & Heavenchord - Spacechord [Sounds Of Silence on Greyscale]
  • 1:05:20    Alva Noto - Xerrox Voyage [Xerrox Vol. 4 on Noton]
  • 1:08:33    Echoflex - 50°20'17"N 4°11'50"W Veering NW [Echoflex 1 on SeeHear Recordings]
  • 1:12:55    Christopher Bissonnette - See With Eyes Closed [The Wine Dark Sea on Dronarivum]
  • 1:17:31    Mathieu Karsenti - Upwards [bygones on Slowcraft]
  • 1:21:38    Adrian Lane - We Glance Outside [Home Diaries 23 on Whitelabrecs]
  • 1:23:57    Mount Shrine - Subtotem [Shortwave Ruins on Cryp Chamber]
  • 1:30:24    Flexagon - La Crocq Pier 5am [7 Nocturnes East]
  • 1:38:22    Jogging House - Yours [Be on Seil]
  • 1:42:09    Halftribe - We Are Dust [Archipelago on Sound in Silence]
  • 1:45:35    William Ryan Fritch - Movement XVIII [Sodium on Lost Tribe Sound]
  • 1:49:58    end