Sunday, March 25, 2012

Arctic Ambient list — 6 albums

After discovering the classic "arctic ambient" Substrata album by Biosphere (I talked about it here), I was hooked and started looking for something similar. I was surprised to find out there is a lot of arctic theme ambient music. It seems the polar landscape is a never-ending source of inspiration for ambient musicians. There is even a label called Glacial Movements Records specialised in arctic ambient music.

1. Thomas KönerPermafrost (1993): Köner is a german multimedia artist making installations with sound and projections. All of his albums are based on the arctic themes featuring deep bass sound, drones sounding like the wind and low rumbles. Better to listen to this album with good headphones. [Video below]

2. Higher Intelligence Agency & Biosphere Polar Sequences (1996): This album is more related to minimal electronic music. The sounds are crystalline and "icy". A lot of sampling is used. The most impressive track being what seems to be the sound of a melting glacier in the song Meltwater. [Video below]

3. Tim HeckerHaunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again (2001): Hecker is the expert of distortion, static noises and reverb. The atmosphere of this album is cold, with titles like Music for Tundra, Arctic Loner's Rock, Boreal Kiss.

4. NorthauntBarren Land (2004): This is the dark ambient equivalent of Substrata. Features a lot of field recordings of wind, creaking snow but the whole atmosphere of the album is very menacing.

5. SleepResearch_Facility Deep Frieze (2007): Another dark ambient album from the Cold Spring label. Each track of Deep Frieze is named after Antarctic co-ordinates. The music is very minimal with some discreet synth over recordings that sound like the wind. Sounds very cold.

6. IrezumiEndurance (2008): This is one of my favorite in the genre. The album was made by a young techno/house artist but could really be described as dark ambient. This a concept album based on the tragic Endurance expedition in the Arctic. This album is like a soundtrack to a movie. The use of the synth is splendid and does not fall in the traps of the typical dark ambient albums. The theme is morbid, but the music is splendid and often contemplative. [Video below]

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