“Ambient” is too often a lazy title thrown at any track without a steady beat, and the word cannot do justice to the veins of artists at hand experimenting with voice, instrument, or even electronics.
Mary Lattimore—who commands a harp—has put together a playlist for us that highlights the depth and allurement of the so-called genre. If you missed her live set at the 10-hour-long Red Bull Music Academy Festival show “Beyond The Clouds: Ambient Excursions,” in a space specifically furnished and tuned for immersive listening, Lattimore has also recently released the compilation Collected Pieces (on Ghostly International). It’s a time capsule of harp-led, electronically processed instrumentals inspired by cannibal jokes and convenience stores.
“I wanted to make a mix that included a few songs you wouldn’t normally throw into an ambient genre. I included my very favorite song, Brian Eno’s ‘Discreet Music,’ which is the ultimate in subtle beauty,” she tells CH. It features friends she’s collaborated with (Kurt Vile, Julianna Barwick), Indian pedal harmonium by Mind Over Mirrors, Suzanne Ciani’s finely tuned ’80s analog synthesizers (many of which are no longer made), and some surprising inclusions that turn out to fit perfectly within the mix, like The Cure. Check out the full playlist below.
Images courtesy of Stacy Kranitz/Red Bull Content Pool