Album Reviews

3 best ambient albums of 2018 (so far)

We’re only in May and already there have been some excellent ambient releases in 2018. Thanks to our friends at The Mouthchew, here are three superb, headphone-ready releases to transport you to another world.

Journey To The End Of August by Chihei Hatakeyama


This work began production in December 2015. Originally I did not think about the composition of the album, I was just recording some analog synthesizer and guitar drones.

At that time I was listening to the Eliane Radigue and I was repeating the experiment of overlaying the guitar on the drones made with analog synths.

The time passed, the end of the summer of 2016. Tokyo’s summer of that year was hotter than normal and humidity was high. The studio uses air conditioners, but it still feels hot.

At that time, I thought of overlapping overdubs on some of the works in December 2015. That song is “Journey to the End of August”.
In addition, time passed, I recorded “MoonRight” in October of 2017. And the idea of the album was collected at the end and it recorded “Cluster Amaryllis” at last.

– Chihei Hatakeyama


Espaces Timbrés by Jonathan Fitoussi / Clemens Hourrière


3 years on, and after their first critically acclaimed album on Versatile, Five steps, who have been likened to the godfathers of the synthesizer genre (think Suzanne Cianni,François Bayle or Morton Subotnik and you’re almost there!) are back with ‘Espaces Timbrés’ a brand new episode in their exploration of the legendary modular synthesizer – The Buchla, specially crafted for Versatile Records.

After 2 years of tireless work, ever pushing and furthering their musical research, Fitoussi and Hourrière reveal to us new territories, textures, sounds and feelings to explore with the help of the equally legendary I:Cube on mixing duties to add even more sonic reflections and mixing desk wizardry.

This one’s a hyper-jump into the future made possible through a machine from the past, giving birth to those most captivating of electronic mantras… dive in, the water’s warm!

– Versatile Records


Circuit Bloom by 36


A selection of 6 predominantly piano-based tape loops, exploring the themes of isolation and escapism, through a Cyberpunk-inspired lens. For me, Cyberpunk is about people living on the fringes of society, finding ways to deal with the hardships they face, through the manipulation and exploitation of technology. It’s a genre/aesthetic I’ve always loved and its influence has always seeped into my music.

– 36


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