I can surely say that a great part of my listening habits involves music which can be categorized as ambient and soundscapes involving several gernes: ambient trance, dark ambient, acid ambient, morning trance, psychill, psydub, ethnoambient and whatever else incorporates ambient and atmospheric sound elements. I have heard many albums and individual Artist’s relases and also plenty of Label Compilations so i can say that i am in place to make this short list of “extraterrestrial artists” of alltime. That term means that the following artist’s music productions have an outergalactic-extraterrestrial sound, are highly innovative in all ways ,mostly use electronic sound experimentations and highly detailed soundscapes. Please read in order to view my top 10 artist list…
Yes the 1st place can easily go to this project, for me the most innovative and inspirational electronic projects of alltime. Somehow the best musicians i know come from this small part of the planet earth called the UK including artists 2,3,4 listed below. Shpongle’s 1st album was released in 1998 called “Are You Shpongled” whereas back then i wasn’t into the gerne at all. Nevertheless it is simply a halmark in ambient music taking the psychedelic audience aeon’s ahead of its music present. 2 amazing Shpongle albums followed talking their sound production to the next level. Their label also released an album with their tracks remixes. Their sound to my experience is like describing an alternate reality where spirit and matter exist harmonically in nature.
2. Boards of Canada
Boc’s music style can be characterized as UFO music, where you can find many weird videos accompanied with their music. They reside outside the psychedelic music scene and belong to the IDM Warp label. They have a unique soothing warped ambient sound covered with phat baselies and weird voice samples from children’s educational shows. Their sound is utterly unique and they seem to be such an enigmatic electronic duo giving almost no live appearances. They influenced a broad range of electronic gernes and have succeeded to build a large audience with no commercial effort whatsoever
3. The Future Sound of London
This electronic duo enjoyed a commercial success but nevertheless was the most pioneering project of the 90’s. Some of their albums are hallmarks in electronic/ambient sound. Though their early work sounded rather primitive their albums that followed led to high sound sophistication. As an ambient fan my favourite album is Lifeforms
4. The Mystery of the Yeti / The Infinity Project
The Mystery of The Yeti and The Infinity Project were 2 pioneering ambient/psy projects of the 90’s. They existed before Shpongle and before the big psychedelic boom of the late 90’s. It was consisted by a bunch of tag]psytrance artists and its main theme was a mystical and esoteric journey into otherworldly realities, altering their perceptions with the use of psychedelic drugs found in nature. Creepy and earthly sounds could be heard across the 2 album releases. This project surely belong to the past. It littearly made way for a whole ambient/psy scene whereas today dozens of psychill artists exist.
5. Aes Dana
This is a French morning trance artist and is the owner and founder of one of the biggest ambient labels called Ultimae Records. His music production differs from ordinary ambient/psy sound. His sound productions are consisted by highly atmospheric elements, slow morphing minimal textures, 3D structured soundscapes accompanied with a lot of clean progressive trance elements. The sound productions are very high. His “Season 5” album took ambient music to the next level. To me his best album till now. The sound frequencies span to amazing extents. His music is like a 3D voyage into spacetime sensing all sound dimensions.
6. Carbon Based Lifeforms
This swedish duo is also from Ultimae Records. Their sound differs from Aes Dana but share some elements common to morning trance. It can be characterized as acid ambient having a lot of swirling sound patterns, distant voice samples, science fiction sounds and hypnotic baselines. They produce cutting edge ambient sound and give you a feeling that they are describing an alternate highly developed society, visual textures far-far in an altrenate future. Another notable solo project is Sync24 consisted by a member of CBL
This artist’s sound can’t be described as pure ambient but rather as psydub. It has many ambient and atmospheric elements but the main impression of it are the rich and phat progressing baselines with crystal clear electronic effects that ripple across the tracks
8. Solar Fields
This is also a notable swedish ambient trance artist from Ultimae Records. He has produced both ambient music and progressive trance. His first two albums could be characterized as ambient trance. They are consisted from bass driver ambient, with swirling sound patterns and various science fiction sound effects. His productions always provide a high sound quality giving you the feeling that you’re trapped in an interstellar spaceship touring the cosmos and exploring otherworldly realities and timelines. His last album was not ambient music but rather cutting edge neo-progressive trance.
Biosphere is a contemporary Norwegian ambient artist though seems to have an outworldy and earth sound. His albums are considered “classic” to the conteporary ambient scene which grew out of Brian Eno’s art rock experimentations and not through the psy trance scene as all the above artists mentioned. My favourite album is “Ciqrue” giving a true touch of nature. His discography involves many ambient album classics and is an artist with a high impact on the global ambient scene.
I tried to keep this list as short as i could so my latest recent addition involves this very promising ambient artist. He may be the only artist in this list with a single album to his personal discography. Nikhel Mahajan is newly appeared indian soundscape designer who produces music with plenty of transcending effects and inspirational speech samples. The title of his album “Internal Activities” reflects his main philosophical theme which he incorporates and tries to reflect throughout his electronic soundscapes andspeech samples he uses. It can be characterized as meditative, spiritual and healing music
A small fan video with the music of Shpongle: