In August of 1994, Virgin Records released the fourth and final volume in their definitive A Brief History of Ambient series. As things were starting to get a bit stale with the third volume, Virgin changed course, reaching beyond their own labels to widen the scope for this two-disc set. Focusing on the burgeoning Isolationism sub-genre, Virgin was able to license and compile a collection of exclusive tracks for this last blast. They also shortened the title this time around, omitting the A Brief History of part.
This compilation is the first major label release of this darker breed of ambient music. Most of the original indie electronic artists that pioneered this mid-90s musical variant are featured here. Stylistically, the ambient music that Brian Eno created in the 1970s was unique in that it was designed to work also as a passive experience; you could listen to it closely or let it play in the background as a non-distraction. Conversely, as this title's producer, musician Kevin Martin, put it when he coined the term, Isolationism is designed to "push away" the listener. This repulsive effect manifests itself in music that, surprisingly, covers a wide variety of attack approaches. Personally, the only similarity I find in these disparate pieces is the gloomy tone that sits at their core. Don't get me wrong, it's all quite enjoyable, but is maybe best enjoyed in smaller doses. Regardless, this is the perfect instrumental electronica to listen to on a dreary day. Particularly if your goal is not to cheer yourself up.
Check out the album mix of Scorn's "Silver Rain Fell" and Aphex Twin's "Aphex Airlines":
Ambient 4: Isolationism (1994)
1. KK Null / Jim Plotkin - Lost (Held Under) (7:45)
2. Jim O'Rourke - Flat Without a Back (4:47)
3. Ice - The Dredger (6:36)
4. Raoul Björkenheim - Strangers (4:42)
5. :Zoviet*France: - Daisy Gun (7:38)
6. Labradford - Air Lubricated Free Axis Trainer (3:22)
7. Techno Animal - Self Strangulation (6:04)
8. Paul Schütze - Hallucinations (In Memory of Reinaldo Arenas) (8:17)
9. Scorn - Silver Rain Fell (Deep Water Mix) (5:25)
10. Disco Inferno - Lost in Fog (5:02)
11. Total - Six (5:34)
12. Nijiumu - Once Again I Cast Myself into the Flames of Atonement (9:11)
13. Aphex Twin - Aphex Airlines (6:17)
14. AMM - Vandoevre (7:28)
15. Seefeel - Lief (6:07)
16. 'O'Rang - Little Sister (6:59)
17. E.A.R. - Hydroponic (6:18)
18. Sufi - Desert Flower (6:23)
19. David Toop / Max Eastley - Burial Rites (Phosphorescent Mix) (5:59)
20. Main - Crater Scar (Adrenochrome) (6:09)
21. Final - Hide (7:27)
22. Lull - Thoughts (8:02)
23. Thomas Köner - Kanon (Part One: Brohuk) (10:36)
277MB ZIP archives
MP3: Constant bitrate (256kbps) w/LAME 3.92
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Friday, May 01, 2009