Ambient / Downtempo / Dreampop

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Tim Stebbing
The Atmosphere Factory (1985​-​1991)

The Atmosphere Factory (1985-1991) is a compilation of tracks by Leeds-based bedroom-synth practitioner Tim Stebbing. He was little known at the time but this collection should change that as his compositions foreshadow Boards of Canada whilst comparisons have been drawn to Manuel Gottsching and the soundtracks of John Carpenter. LP, limited to 300 copies on Ceres Motion.

The Mirage

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Snow Palms
Everything Ascending

Everything Ascending is the new 12” from Snow Palms. The usual electronic sparkles and icy glockenspiels are backed-up by modular synths, tapes experiments, pianos and vocal lines that may give this record its name. If you like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Steve Reich or Midori Takada, then the pair of epic tracks may be for you. 12” on Village Green.

Honeymoon With Solitude

Honeymoon With Solitude by XVARR is the second release on Twin Womb, the label set up by XVARR and Egypte Erotique. It follows 2018’s Aeons Revolve 12”. It’s mainly synthy soundscapes that could soundtrack a late ‘70s or early ‘80s dystopian film. Some nice retro sounds. Cassette, limited to 100 hand numbered copies.
  • Tape (TWIN02)
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Fresh EP from Markus Sieber’s project Aukai. Careful and minimal instrumental pieces that accompany Sieber’s Ronroco (a kind of mandolin-esque instrument) with numerous other great musicians using harp, cello, violin and more. Short pieces that linger in the mind, highly considered but free-feeling. On aukaimusic.

Gideon Wolf

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Akira Rabelais

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Methyl Ethel

Australian art-rock combo Methyl Ethel enjoyed some success with their second album, Everything Is Forgotten. They matched dark lyrics with sparkling melodies and songs such as ‘No.28’ and ‘Ubu’ were among some of 2017’s best moments. Now they’re back with a follow-up, Triage. It finds the band in a more contemplative mood than usual.

Rafael Anton Irisarri
The Shameless Years

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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
In Summer

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Decayed Society

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Not Waving
Futuro (Music For The Waldorf Project)

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log(m) & Laraaji
The Onrush Of Eternity

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Sarah Davachi
Gave In Rest

Proving it's both a marathon and a sprint, drone artist Sarah Davachi puts out yet another record. Hot off the heels of the impressive baroque tone poem Let Night Come On Bells End the Day, Davachi makes the hop to Ba Da Bing! for a record of lonely, isolationist ambient music that reflects the upheaval in her life. Principally a master and architect of synthesizers, Davachi's output has expanded into scores for a wide range of instrumentation, so we'll just wait and see how this likely-to-be opus turns out.
  • CD (BING137CD)
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The Green Kingdom
Expanses Remixes

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Elder Island
The Omnitone Collection

The Bristolian good-times crew that is Elder Island at last present their debut full-length, following many a party over the years. The Omnitone Collection overflows with lush keys, bouncy rhythms and soul-filled vocals, all primed to help you have a nice time. The smoothly-produced Omnitone Collection is released by the band’s own label.

Andrew Chalk & Jean-Noël Rebilly
L'état Intermédiaire

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Andrew Chalk
Baroque Steps

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Billow Observatory
III: Chroma/Contour

III: Chroma/Contour is the third album from Billow Observatory, the now long standing ambient collaboration between Jonas Munk (who has worked with Ulrich Schnauss) and Jason Kolb. This is a sparser minimalism than they've ever attempted, whose power lies in it's willingness to suggest rather than shove the answers in your face. 


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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
On The Echoing Green

Cutting his teeth with groups such as Portraits, The Alps, and collaborating with Liz Harris (Grouper) as Raum, San Francisco based multi-instrumentalist Jefre Cantu-Ledesma has been releasing albums consistently since. On The Echoing Green is full-on elation and uninhibited emotion. Through hazy tape fuzz and glistening guitar, a pop joy shines through and then washes away through a crackling hiss without really taking form, But it's not quite drone, just distant songs...

Dominique Guiot
L'Univers De La Mer

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Andrew Wasylyk
The Paralian

Andrew Wasylyk spent five months in remote coastal Scotland on a residency. The resulting album, The Paralian, contains a great many instruments, and indeed field recordings, but the core of the album is a restored Erard Grecian harp from the 1800’s. The tender plucked strings of that harp sets the tone for a plaintive, rich and subtle suite of pieces. Out on Athens Of The North.
  • Vinyl LP (AOTNLP028)
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Our Lady Of The Flowers
Holiday In Thule

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Jessica Moss

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Julia Kent

Moody, atmospheric cello music anyone? Julia Kent has built quite the loyal following over her previous 5 studio albums. Temporal sees her dark sound move towards more organic instrumentation. You can feel the strings being plucked and slashed across her cello over minimal electronic tinkering. 

Quentin Sirjacq

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This Earth To Another

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Tim Linghaus
About B. (Memory Sketches B-Sides Recordings)

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Ambient artist Kryshe returns to Welsh imprint Serein (Hauschke, Hidden Rivers) to release new disc Hauch. The tracks here are spiralling vistas of sound drawn largely from guitar, keys and voice. Occasionally an instrument will cut clearly through the dense textures - see the saxophone meditation that makes Hauch’s title track. Lovely stuff.

Bowery Electric

Bowery Electric’s third and final LP gets reissued via Beggar’s Banquet. Lushlife was originally unleashed in 2000, and boy does it sound it. This one’s got that real Moby/Mr. Scruff/Saint Etienne vibe to it, all mushy old film score samples and crackling breaks. It’s a pleasingly atmospheric listen and worthy of the re-release.

Pilar Zeta
Moments of Reality

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Max Ananyev
Water Atlas

Russian ambient instrumentalist Max Ananyev might just be one of those guys who will cite obscure philosophers at your dinner party. Luckily his music has the same qualities of endlessness, carried by meandering pianos and expansive soundscapes, without the dreariness. On 2018’s Water Atlas, you'll find nothing but peaceful tidings of gentle ambient. Of course, you can also listen to the music in combination with aforementioned dinner-party exposition on youtube.

White Lies

Five is the er….fifth album by London three-piece White Lies. The facts Normanites might like to know is that it was produced by Ed Buller (Suede, Boo Radleys, Pulp etc) and mixed by Alan Moulder (JAMC, Ride, NIN etc) and renowned producer, Flood, plays synth on it a bit too. LP and CD on PIAS.

Salaam for Yemen

Hibernate and DRONARIVM team up to drop a compilation that offers both friendship and financial support to the people of Yemen. Salaam For Yemen features some great music - from the ethereal drones of Hannu Karjalainen to Snow Palms’s dainty ivory tinkling, this is an album that holds up extraneously to the good cause it supports. 100% of the profits of Salaam For Yemen will be donated to War Child.

Trans-Neptunian Objects 2

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Red Stars CPR
Earth Is Heaven​ /​ Heaven Is Hell

Earth Is Heaven /Heaven Is Hell is the paradoxically named EP from Red Stars CPR, a collaboration between Red Stars Over Tokyo and CPR where they found unity in their difference of approach. Warm and uncanny loops bleed into something more sinister and darkly psychedelic. Earthly and heavenly and hellish. On Testtoon. 
  • Vinyl 12" (TTTB27)
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Leighton Craig
Diamond Eye

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Camino Del Sol

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Kid Koala featuring Trixie Whitley
Music To Draw To: Io

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Grid Of Points

Portland's Liz Harris AKA Grouper is one of only a few artists who consistently melts our collective hearts. Her 'Grid Of Points' album (like her previous record on Kranky, 'Ruins') is more stripped-back than her earlier work, with a greater emphasis on songwriting and delicate piano compositions. What was previously submerged in effects resonates with a newfound clarity; what was previously obscured is foregrounded, offering a clearer window into the heart and mind of the artist and revealing previously unheard details within her meticulously crafted, gorgeous compositions. And yet, there's still enough mystique surrounding her songs and fragile, ghostly, ambient soundscapes to make her work as intriguing as ever.


Wolfgang Voigt’s second album under his lauded forest techno moniker GAS is back, singly tree-issued on Kompakt. First released in ‘97, Zauberberg offers Voigt’s revolving branches of hazy, throbbing ambient at their most ambiguous, as if unsure of what really waits out there in the woods. The third track especially is one of his masterpieces.

Massive Attack V Mad Professor
No Protection

The Mad Professor does what he does best on the Bristolian trip-hop progenitors second album Protection. No Protection takes Massive Attacks’ claustrophobic paranoia and opens it up, cranks the bass and amplifies the influence of soundsystem culture, for a complete dub remix. 180 gram vinyl reissue on Universal.

Félicia Atkinson & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
Limpid As The Solitudes

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Fabio Orsi
Motel A Tre Stelle

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Static Waves 7

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Brian Eno With Daniel Lanois & Roger Eno
Apollo - Atmospheres & Soundtracks

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Ric Kaestner
Music For Massage II

Did you know Ric Kaestner’s soothing New Age cult cassette Music for Massage had a Part II? Unlike Part I, its release was strictly low-key, purely for tape collectors and masseuses and never actually intended for public sale. Sifted Sand Records dutifully honour these conditions by reissuing the album for public sale on black vinyl, coloured vinyl, CD and cassette. Pick your poison and oil up!

Jonny Nash / Lindsay Todd
Fauna Mapping

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Zimiamvian Night
Zimiamvian Night 3

Third part of Mike Bennett's Zimiamvian Night project. A collection of extremely long form ambient music, the total running length lying north of the 100 minute mark. Can be played quietly for a more authentic ambient experience, or loudly to get up close and personal to the combination of field recordings, acoustic noise, and piano. On Infraction.
  • CD (INFX 054)
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The Last Ambient Hero
The Big Chill

The Last Ambient Hero clearly care very deeply about being put in the right section in your record store. Yes, The Big Chill is an ambient album, influenced by those cold parts of our planet. Be sure to wrap up warm when you listen to this one on, you won't be able to help but feel the wind pass into you as you do. Utterly terrifying and expansive. 

Jim O'Rourke
Sleep Like It's Winter

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With Voices

Tireless timbral titillator Machinefabriek crackles his way onto Western Vinyl with an album of various human voices variously manipulated and recomposed into a shifting soundscape. Whose various voices, you ask? Those of Peter Broderick, Richard Youngs, Marissa Nadler and Zero Years Kid, for instance.


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Kirill Mazhai
Hearts Must Change

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Jakob Thorkild

With his new LP Devotional the Danish composer/guitarist Jakob Thorkild brings the curtain down on half a decade of work. This album completes the Grenzgänger trilogy that began with 2014’s Art Sleaze. Here Thorkild is joined by singer Anna Mose and electric violinist Andrea Rebecca Alsted for a record of potent minimal-classical compositions. The title of the Devotional is an apt one - many of the tracks here hover at the edge of religious and spiritual music in a manner that recalls Arvo Pärt.

In The Dust Of Idols

Let the existential malaise of winter well and truly set in, and do it to the new Specimens record. The boss of the excellent emerging label First Terrace, Alex Ives' solo work is marked by a keen ear for the various modes of ambient music, from Lawrence English's potent and fuzzy drone to the loops of William Basinski. In the Dust of Idols contemplates death and what comes after it, but sounds beautiful in the process.

Mugwood & Landshipping
Lundy, Irish Sea / At the Sea

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Carl Matthews
Call For World Saviours

This LP actually came out in 1984, but given the monstrous mess that we have on our hands in 2018 an album entitled Call For World Saviours is due for a very timely re-release. Carl Matthews’ twinkling ambient synthesiser compositions are equal-parts Tangerine Dream, Tim Blake and the new age sounds that were coming out at the time of the record’s initial release. Calming sounds for crappy times.

Tim Hecker

Master sonic architect Tim Hecker returns to Kranky with an album which takes inspiration from conversations with a recently departed buddy. 'Konoyo' was mostly recorded in a Japanese temple just outside Tokyo in collaboration with gagaku ensemble Tokyo Gakuso. Hecker manipulates their source sounds (strings, woodwinds, percussion) and re-shapes and sculpts the raw material into his own vision, focussing on negative space. The resulting sombre mood has a ritual/ceremonial weight - as though he were channelling communications from the great beyond.

MKWAJU ensemble

Over the past couple of years the We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want label have formed a strong bond with Japanese composer Midori Takada. As well as giving new life to Takada’s Through The Looking Glass and Lunar Cruise LPs the label has also taken a shine to the work of Takada’s Mkwaju Ensemble group. After reissuing the band's 1981 record KI-Motion back in June WRWTFWW have now come through with a new edition of MKWAJU (also 1981). The record sees the group collaborating with a young Joe Hisaishi, an artist you may well know from his work scoring several of the Studio Ghibli films. This music is a busy, rhythmically-driven offshoot of Takada’s vibrant post-minimalist xylophone explorations. Well worth a listen.

Edgar Wappenhalter

Steve Marreyt is back with a self-titled LP, under his Edgar Wappenhalter handle. His first proper release in yonks (2010) -- unless you count the stupidly small batches of cassettes from a year or two ago -- arrives with three long and fully formed drone-folk sound-collages. Utilising mainly vocals and samples, the first side comprises a voice-only lamentation in dedication to the sadly passed Dutch artist Herman Bisschop. The flip is sample-heavy, layered and intense yet crystal clear. LP on Morc, in a limited edition of 150 only, in a screen-printed sleeve.
  • Vinyl LP (morc 77)
  • £16.99 £13.59 (saving: £3.40)
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Penelope Trappes
Penelope Two

Penelope Two: the second solo album from Penelope Trappes (also of The Golden Filter and Priscilla Sharp). The Trappes sound is slick and noirish electronic shoegaze pop, all slow and cinematic. Trappes’ voice sets the tone with its cold cool: this album will likely do great things for Julee Cruise fans. Its released by Houndstooth.

Make Me Know You Sweet

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Kyle Bobby Dunn
Kyle Bobby Dunn and the Infinite Sadness

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Sense EP

Desert are the Catalan duo of Cristina Checa and Eloi Caballé who count dream pop legends like Cocteau Twins, Insides, Kate Bush and Julia Holter as just some of the inspirations for their synthetic electronic pop. Their new music was recently sent into space by the people at Sonar to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival. Martians way well be listening to this as we speak.     

William Basinski + Lawrence English
Selva Oscura

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Stray Ghost
A Shade Under Thirty

Stray Ghost, a.k.a., Anthony Saggers is now over 30, which is super old. Most likely, he made latest album A Shade Under Thirty while still under 30. Having chewed the fat with Highpoint Lowlife, Time Released Sound, 1631 and others, Saggers now brings his romantic, windswept piano plodathons to London label Phases.

Olan Mill
Sounds of a New Father

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The Mistys
Pregnant Mannequin

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Space Afrika
Somewhere Decent To Live

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Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society
Wow and Flutter

Producer and keyboardist Garry Hughes and producer and keyboardist Harvey Jones long since bonded over a shared love of producing, keyboarding and the work of BBC Radiophonic Workshop member Delia Derbyshire. Here’s their second full-length on Six Degrees, as ever eschewing vocals and drums for tender, billowing vintage synth compositions. Lots of melancholy arpeggios and sumptuous enveloping.

Trans-Neptunian Objects

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Branches of Sun

Markus Sieber -- born in East Germany, 15 years prior to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall -- delivers his sophomore album as Aukai, 'Branches of Sun'. Sieber spent a month holed up in the Colorado Rockies; each day crossing a frozen lake twice, to and from his studio in a cabin in the mountains. The result is an album rich in beautifully sensual, textured tones; featuring piano, cello and Andean ronroco / baritone charango -- a guitar-like instrument in the lute family. Once again Sieber has proved himself a master of delicate, dappled, emotional music.
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  • Aukai
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  • Ambient / Downtempo / Dreampop

Steven Kemner
Little Notes

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This Mortal Coil

Blood was the third and final This Mortal Coil album and like it's predecessor Filagree and Shadow, was presented as a double album. Once again large swathes of the 4AD roster were involved and the album has several highlights that compare favourably with their earlier work. There are two Chris Bell (Big Star) songs including an exquisite 'You and Your Sister' performed by Kim Deal and Tanya Donnelly and the likes of Gene Clark, Syd Barrett and Mary Margaret O'Hara get their back catalogues raided.   

Chihei Hatakeyama
Journey To The End Of August

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Live at Third Man Records

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Gri + Mosconi
Between Ocean and Sky

There seems to be a lot of excellent ambient, drone and soundscape coming out of Italy at the moment. Here, Francis M. Gri and Federico Mosconi come together to create Between Ocean and Sky, which is the third in the Slowcraft Presents series. Created between Milan and Verona, the album is an indefinable sound of ethereal beauty and underlying dread.  
  • CD
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  • Limited edition
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Young Hunting
A List of Indignities

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Justin Walter
Unseen Forces

Justin Walter plays the EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) ‘wind-synth’ that is mainly seen in the hands of the Sun Ra Arkestra’s Marshall Allen these days. But Unseen Forces doesn’t hide the instrument in a large ensemble: it puts the EVI out there solo, in a set of semi-improvised and sometimes re-sequenced performances. A pretty unique record, out on Kranky.
  • CD (KRANK210)
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Kit Grill

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This Mortal Coil
Filigree and Shadow

Filagree and Shadow was the follow up to the much loved debut It Will End In Tears from shadowy 4AD collective This Mortal Coil. Again leader Ivo Watts-Russell chose a supergroup made out of (mostly) artists on his label but this time there were more self penned compositions, enough to make it into a double album. Like it's more lauded debut exquisite taste was shown in the choice of covers with Tim Buckley, Gene Clark and Wire all getting their songbooks raided. 

Zen Zsigo (Cremation Lily)
Winter Orbit EP

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Denis Wise
Wize Music

Denis Wise, no, not former Chelsea, Wimbledon, Millwall and reality TV irritant, but the electronic/ambient/ experimental tape pioneer who has worked with Bill Laswell and Gong’s Daevid Allen. Wize Music compiles his work for the first time from his very difficult to find self-pressed LPs to work he contributed to projects with members of the Emerald Web Band. LP on Finders Keepers.

Eraldo Bernocchi
Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It

Italian multi-instrumentalist Eraldo Bernocchi, releases a soundtrack to the documentary 'Cy Dear' documenting the life of the American artist, Cy Twombly. Released on Bernocchi's co-founded label, RareNoise, Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It is an atmospheric soundtrack suitable for the life of the influential artist.  

Giulio Aldinucci
Disappearing In A Mirror

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Bitchin Bajas

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Carla dal Forno
The Garden

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Jonathan Fitoussi

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