MUSIC WITHOUT WORDS, the best Meditative Albums of 2018 / Episode 1 (February 2018)

Meditative music includes in general a family of extremely heterogeneous styles spanning from electronic ambient music to sophisticated chamber ensembles, from ballet scores to minimal piano pieces. The list of the best five albums released in the first two months of 2018, however, seems to be focused on only two particular genres of music: electro-acoustic and dark ambient. We’re missing, in particular, those modern-classical piano music albums that have been so successful in the last few years among the general public. But in the meantime that we wait for the inevitable wave of neo-classical records, let’s enjoy for the time bieng these more experimental, reflective and, to some extent, obscure albums.

The usual recommendation for who arrived here via a search engine: you may want to check if this is the most recent edition of the chart for meditative music, you can easily browse and check it from the specific section of the blog. This list is the first one released in 2018 for meditative music and it refers to the first two months of the year. Enjoy!

 


 

#1) ALL MELODY by Nils Frahm

(Electro-acoustic, Modern Classical)

Nils Frahm - 1300.jpg

ALL MELODY, the last album by German composer Nils Frahm is full of pure and rarefied musical lines that slowly and gently emerge from the white noise that surrounds us.  The LP is characterized by very slow rhythms and an extremely minimal approach to composition. The typical elements of Frahm’s music, which are the combination of analog and digital instruments and the perfect fusion of electronic and modern classical styles, are all present, but the architecture of this work is so bare and essential in this album as we didn’t hear for long his discography. The sounds that come from the album are warm, soft, absolutely engaging. The artist has used a large number of different keyboard instruments, a few of them generated synthetically, and in global terms we observe here a progressive distancing from the simple piano – which has been for long at the heart of Frahm’s music – to embrace an extremely wider and articulated palette of sounds. The picture is then completed with the nice and original introduction of choirs and wind instruments. The full review is available here.


 

#2) MILES TO MIDNIGHT by Atrium Carceri, Cities Last Broadcast and God Body Disconnect

(Dark Ambient, Dark Jazz, Field Recordings)

minutes to midnight

Miles to Midnight is the result of the collaboration among three important representatives of modern music: Atrium Carceri, which is the musical project created by the Swedish composer Simon Heat, who’s also the founder of the music label Cryo Chamber; Cities Last Broadcast, which is one of the many names under which Swedish artist Pär Boström composes and releases is music; God Body Disconnect, the ambient music project created by American artists Bruce Moallem, who arrived to ambient music after an initial career as a drummer in a brutal death metal band. The eight songs of the LP offer the listener with a special version of dark and melodic ambient, which is developed over an infrastructure of drones, orchestral elements and field recordings that generate beautiful, fascinating but also intricate and thick soundscapes. The general atmosphere is obscure, the main emotion that is felt is something like anguish. But the effect is so intense that it becomes an incredible experience, something that one wants to repeat, again and again. The full review is available here.


 

#3) RESOLVE by Poppy Ackroyd

(Electro-acoustic)

Poppy Akroyd - 1300

British composer and musician Poppy Ackryod has gained in recent years a certain popularity in the world of electro-acoustic and experimental music, both as the author of a couple of solid and precious solo albums and as a member of the Hidden Orchestra (a musical project that released last year another great record). Ackroyd’s music was initially characterized by the rigid choice to compose her songs through the digital processing of only two instruments: piano and violin. During the years the sonic range of her compositions has gradually grown, and in her latest album, Resolve, we may appreciate the contribution of other instruments and also a few guest artists. Violin and piano remain at the center of the music, but there are now additional elements that expand the dynamics of the songs. Stylistically speaking, the melodies used by Ackroyd  in the new album are those typical of electro-acoustic music, in this case extremely linear and accessible by a mainstream audience. The technical performance is ok, the atmospheres are pleasant and convey an enjoyable sense of intimacy, but the songs sometime lack the level of intensity and depth that could have give more power to the album.


 

#4) AD ASTRA by Awali

(Electro-acoustic, Modern Classical)

Awali 1300

Ad Astra is the fifth release from the the Czech artist Tamara Shmidt and her interesting musical project Awali. The music created by this Awali is an enjoyable combination of ambient, electronic and classical music, above which we can occasionally appreciate the beauty of her sensual and delicate voice. The songs of the album develop on rarefied atmospheres and extremely slow rhythms, and the album may be an excellent background for moments of calm and reflection.


 

#5) UR DJUPAN DAL by Atrium Carceri & Herbst9

(Dark Ambient, Ritual Ambient)

atrium herbst9 1300.jpg

One can only express appreciation for a musician like Simon Heat, the multifaceted artist who works behind the pseudonym of Atrium Carceri, for the passion with which he carries on his own vision of dark ambient music and, at the same time, has the energy and the dedication to continually look for new inspirations through the collaborations with other masters of electronic and ambient music. And in the space of just two months, we find him contributin to this chart with two different works: the beautiful collaborative album Miles to Midnight (whith God Body Disconnect and Cities Last Broadcast) and this second record, Ur Djupan Dal, written and recorded together with Herbst9, which is one of the various ambient projects founded by a duo of German  veterans of electronic music like Henry Emich and Frank Merten. When compared to Miles to MidnightUr Djupan Dal doesn’t feature the same oppressive soundscapes and gloomy atmosphere but rather musical stratifications that proceed like soundwaves in a sea of silence. This is not a simple album to absorb, but it contains however a number of interesting elements that emerge slowly and that require a certain number of repeated listens to be appreciated in full.


 

If you enjoyed this chart, you could be interested to see which were the best modern classical and meditative albums of the last year.

 


 

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