Best of 2021!  

LPs

 

Green-House - Music For Living Spaces (Leaving Records) 

 

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Ambient music remains alive and well in 2021, and there's no one who does the genre justice quite like Green-House. Their music is truly a revalation, toeing the line beautifully been soft undulations and intricate breathing scapes, all the while allowing you to float between two states of being. Lush! 

Check it out here: 

https://green-house.bandcamp.com/album/music-for-living-spaces

 

ccctyyy - Reapparence (Tax Free Records) 

 

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Texturally this album has it all, and in more ways than one you will find yourself returning to it time and time again to ensure you feel out all that it has to offer. Quiet industrialism counteracts and co-exists with truly beautiful passages of melody, and as a balanced experience it doesn't get much better than that. 

Check it out here: 

https://taxfreerecords.bandcamp.com/album/reappearance

 

Mara - the formation of a cloud (self-released) 

 

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Fragrant, ethereal, in and out of time and space. Mara certainly knows how to craft a soundscape of epic proportions, and this LP showcases her abilities to the max. The mix of field recordings and keys is instantly accessible, and does much to draw you into her world. 

Check it out here: 

https://maramaramara.bandcamp.com/album/the-formation-of-a-cloud

 

Ronan - Reflections On Intrinsic Value (Eternal Ocean) 

 

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Ronan is a producer we have greatly admired for some time now, and his latest outing on Eternal Ocean sees him turn his hand at making an LP, and oh boy does it do wonders. His craft is here for all to see, with a wonderful array of styles and sounds found deep within that do much to point to a bright, bright future. 

Check it out here: 

https://ronan.bandcamp.com/album/reflections-on-intrinsic-value

 

Eris Drew - Quivering In Time (T4T LUV NRG)

 

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On perhaps the most anticipated album of the year, Eris Drew ups the game with a stunning debut LP that continues to see audiences around the world become further drawn in to her incredible sense of artistry. Samples abound, styles remain fluid, the groove is always on point - its a journey you don't want to miss out on. 

Check it out here: 

https://erisdrew.bandcamp.com/album/quivering-in-time

Yu Su - Yellow Blue River (Ble Records, Music From Memory)  

 

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On yet another debut LP that really did deliver on all fronts, Yu Su expands her horizons to achieve a truly extordinary palette of sounds and motifs that operates tremendously on so many levels. From the quietly brilliant through to the big and beefy, you get it all on this one.  

Check it out here: 

https://yusu.bandcamp.com/album/yellow-river-blue

Nala Sinephro - Space 1.8 (Warp Records) 

 

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Those who work in the realms of Jazz never fail to surprise and mesmerise, and on her debut LP, Sinephro really engages you with her signature take on atmospherical jazz fusion. Deeply engaging, the music draws you in and allows you to walk the fine lines between tone and melody. Simply glorious. 

Check it out here: 

https://nalasinephro.bandcamp.com/album/space-18

Nina Buchanan - Restless Abandonment (Heavy Machinery Records) 

 

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Those at one with their hardware always conjure up the best kinds of vibes, and on her debut LP Buchanan showcases her deep affinity for synths with a record that covers all the bases. You have the up tempo steppers, you have the deep melodic unduations, and everything inbetween - what's not to love? 

Check it out here: 

https://ninabuchananmusic.bandcamp.com/album/restless-abandon

Nueen - Nova Llum (Good Morning Tapes) 

 

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Good Morning Tapes have really endeared themselves to lovers of all things ambient in the past few years, and with records like this one from Nueen, its easy to see why. The control that is placed on the flows between cuts - and within them - is second to none, creating a series of atmospheres that embrace you with such meaning. 

Check it out here: 

https://goodmorningtapes.bandcamp.com/album/gmt43-nueen-nova-llum

Fugo Ronto - Greatest Treasure (Phantom Island) 

 

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On their second effort, Fugo Ronto bridge the divide between the 80s and the present day, with nods to Italian funk, Lovers Rock and Booooogie. Its an album that you can whack on and enjoy from start to finish, with a big smile on your face as the warmth and goodness just flow over you. Stellar! 

Check it out here: 

https://phantomisland.bandcamp.com/album/greatest-treasure

Perlia - How much time is it between you and me? (Smalltown Supersound)

 

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Perila remains one of contemporary ambient's most enduring figures, and with the release of her 5th LP, excitement around her creations remains very high. This record highlights her incredible range and ability to fill our contexts with texture, with little melodic elements thrown in for good measure that are always impeccably designed. 

Check it out here: 

https://perilazone.bandcamp.com/album/how-much-time-it-is-between-you-and-me

Turn on the Sunlight - Drives to the Beach (Tokonoma Records) 

 

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A record of epic proportions, but spoken in the most gentle of ways. The wave like notions of this album really do transport you to a sandy tome far away, at ease with the pastel skies and the crying of the gulls. Perhaps if you believe hard enough, all this will come true, and with a record like this, transformations really do seem possible. Pure bliss.  

Check it out here: 

https://tokonomarecords.bandcamp.com/album/drives-to-the-beach

Amaro Freitas - Sankofa (Far Out Recordings) 

 

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Far Out continue to highlight some amazing artists past and present, with one of our favourites from this year coming in the form of Freitas' latest album. His take on jazz is refreshing, emotive to the 9th degree and filled to the top with colourful concepts and progressions. An album to put on and completely unwind to. 

Check it out here: 

https://amarofreitas.bandcamp.com/album/sankofa

DJ Blasy - Quantasoma (Planet Sundae) 

 

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How some producers manage to pack so much into only a handful of songs, we'll probably never know. But on their debut effort, Blasy manages to evoke so many differing moods, contexts and feelings, merging progressive undertones with forward thinking electronic features. Powerful! 

Check it out here: 

https://planetsundae.bandcamp.com/album/quantasoma

SKY H1 - Azure (AD 93) 

 

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Another album that was highly anticipated, SKY H1 doesn't hold back on her debut long play. Building intelligently off of her previous works, this album is masterful in the ways in which it swerves from left to right, all the while keeping a pulse running through the middle which is brash, bold and endlessly beautiful. 

Check it out here: 

https://sky-h1.bandcamp.com/album/azure

Olivia Block - Innocent Passage in the Territorial Sea (Room 40) 

 

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There feels like there's little Olivia Block cannot do, so when a new album of hers arrives you really do stand up and take notice. The soundscapes here range from the crunchy to the sublime at the drop of a hat, always remaining personal but having that scale which ambient remains so capable of. 

Check it out here: 

https://oliviablock.bandcamp.com/album/innocent-passage-in-the-territorial-sea

gem-K - Swan, Lover's Knot, Dagger (Super Utu) 

 

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This record really moves the mind to some special places. The debut for the gem-K alter ego, Maria Korkeila really showcases her strength in depth via the usage of beautiful chords and DIY aligned drumming patterns, with enriching vocal performances placed up top to a masterful degree. 

Check it out here: 

https://superutu.bandcamp.com/album/swan-lovers-knot-dagger

The Vendetta Suite - The Kempe Stone Portal (Hell Yeah Recordings) 

 

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A debut record 20 years in the making, and to be honest we're happy it did, because it sounds so so good. Gary Irwin, the mastermind behind it all, blends together many of the swirling strains that knocked about in the 90s and brands it with some signature features and a glossy coat of paint, and the results really do speak for themselves. Gorgeous stuff. 

Check it out here: 

https://hellyeahrec.bandcamp.com/album/the-kempe-stone-portal

Sofie Birch & Johan Caroe - Repair Techniques (STROOM.Tv)

 

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Improv can really bring the best out of individuals when they come together, and this record from Birch and Caroe is no exceptional. The ways in which their frequencies come together and align is superb, with a vast array of excellent musicality to get lost deep within. Beautiful stuff. 

Check it out here: 

https://stroomtv.bandcamp.com/album/repair-techniques

The People In Fog - 1977 (Sound of Vast) 

 

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Japanese producer Yoshifumi Sodeyama returns to his People in Fog alias to provide another masterclass for us all to dwell deep within. His style is defined by a great understanding of rhythm and how it counteracts with melody, with both sequences operating beautifully across the LP. 

Check it out here: 

https://soundofvast.bandcamp.com/album/1977

Athletic Progression - cloud high in dreams, but heavy in the air (Touching Bass)

 

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An album that feels part concept, part mixtape, and all the inbetween threads, AP really knocked it out of the park on this one. The grooves are immaculate, the keys are soaring, and the overall vibe is one to digest time and time again. Jazzy notions never sounded - or felt. - this damn good. 

Check it out here: 

https://athleticprogression.bandcamp.com/album/cloud-high-in-dreams-but-heavy-in-the-air

Rebecca Vasmant - With love, from Glasgow (Rebecca's Records)

 

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Respected spinner Vasmant really made a statement with her debut album, a jazz laden odyssey that looks to highlight the talents of the city of Glasgow. Not only do these musicians shine brightly, but the direction of Vasmant leads to some deeply engaging and innvoative moments. When passion is at the forefront, you get records like this. 

Check it out here: 

https://rebeccavasmantartist.bandcamp.com/album/with-love-from-glasgow

Takao - Stealth (EM Records) 

 

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Originally released in 2018, this new release from EM sees new tracks get added to a phenomenal piece of work from Takao, which hints towards numerous spaces and genres. Gloriously melodic, the keys shift from delicate pads through to intricate keys, and the results are unbelievable. 

Check it out here: 

https://emrecords.bandcamp.com/album/stealth-gold-edition

J - My Seat and Weep (Daisart) 

 

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It was tough to pick just one of the many amazing Daisart releases from this year to highlight, so we just went with their latest - they're all amazing in their own way! As ambient goes there isn't much better, a rich and warm embrace that soothes the mind in so many ways. ​

Check it out here: 

https://daisart.bandcamp.com/album/my-seat-and-weep

Vanessa Amara - That Kind Of Faint Hope / Excerpts, Outtakes & Radio Edits (Posh Isolation) 

 

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Quiet, affectionate, mystifying. All this and more is found within Amara's deeply captivating works, with this new album no exception to that rule. Haunting, deep and ever evolving, its an album we have a lot of time for, and hopefully you might too. 

Check it out here: 

https://vanessaamara-poshisolation.bandcamp.com/album/that-kind-of-faint-hope-excerpts-outtakes-radio-edits

Nocturnal Emissions - Minimal Works 4 (Noctural Emissions) 

 

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Volume 4 in the 'Minimal Works' series by the legendary group Nocturnal Emissions remains our favourite in the series, but all of them are worthy of a shout out. Three came out this year, and we encourage you to go check them all out - to really get a feelng of the incredible vibes on offer. 

Check it out here: 

https://nocturnalemissions.bandcamp.com/album/minimal-works-4

Ulla - Limitless Flame (Motion Ward) 

 

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Ulla's works always explore the nature of instrumentation and its ability to craft soundscapes of the highest order, and on 'Limitless Flame' we are treated to a bountiful array of superb tracks. Light blemishes, powerful undercurrents, this record has it all, and its one we have returned to time and time again. 

Check it out here: 

https://motionward.bandcamp.com/album/ulla-limitless-frame

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On her second album, Bardo:Basho crafts yet another universe for us to dwell deep within, with a series of palettes designed for the listener to really dip their toe into and emerge feeling like they have experienced something life affirming. Melodic, feverishly buoyant, and thoughtful to the last, its a record to remember.

Check it out here: 

https://budgetcutsrecordsandtapes.bandcamp.com/album/bcv004-bardo-basho-alinea

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On a deeply personal trip through sonics and rhythms, Cruz finds much within himself as a means to reflect on the isolationism caused by the pandemic and from the loss of his brother Brandon. The music is typically rhythmic, but with hefty emotional undertones that add enormous weight to proceedings. A fitting and moving piece of music. 

Check it out here: 

https://naturalsciences.bandcamp.com/album/riddled-with-absence

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This is a record that has stuck with us all year. On his fourth solo album, Pierson showcases all of his hardware magic in providing a highly open ended and seamlessly defiant piece of music, one that really holds the listener by the hand and allows for wonderings to occur in a whole plethora of directions. 

Check it out here: 

https://daxpierson.bandcamp.com/album/nerve-bumps-a-queer-divine-dissatisfaction

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On his fourth album, Ka§par reminds us what he's all about with a dynamic display that grooves and moves in all kind of directions. Diverse, multi-layered and mesmerising, its the kind of Dance music album that gets you out of your seat - and keeps you there.  

 

Check it out here: 

https://percebesmusica.bandcamp.com/album/gestures-of-release

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On their latest effort, Forbidden Dance invited producer Ilija Rudman to serve up his new concept piece, and the results are astonishing. Taking cues from 80s boogie and electro, the album feels like a wonderful mixtape of sounds, emotions and tones, all of which come together flawlessly from start to finish. 

 

Check it out here: 

https://forbiddendancerecords.bandcamp.com/album/dead-horse-gang-where-wild-horses-go

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On her latest, Branch released a live recording of her 2017 album 'Fly or Die' and 2019's follow up, and the result is a performance filled with sublime synergy, spontaneousness and intuitive experimentalism. Such is the scale of the recording you really do feel embedded within this deeply intimate and powerful space. 

 

Check it out here: 

https://intlanthem.bandcamp.com/album/fly-or-die-live

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A record like no other. Decha puts in a superb performance on her latest piece, a series of tracks that transcend audial realms and almost feel spiritual at times. Her voice remains at the centre of it all, guiding us on a journey through all manner of spaces, contexts and regions of experience. Blissful. 

 

Check it out here: 

https://malkatuti.bandcamp.com/album/la-vida-te-busca

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Sound Signature has curated such a strong identity over the years within the House community, and with records like this one from the iconic LeRon Carson, its easy to see why. Straight up but impeccably balanced, with harder styles counteracted with melodic methods, its the perfect House record, and one we will be spinning for years to come. 

 

Check it out here: 

https://malkatuti.bandcamp.com/album/la-vida-te-busca