Pitchfork's 50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time

Pitchfork's 50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time

Original Source

50. Deathprod - Morals and Dogma

Deathprod - Morals and Dogma
February 23, 2004
Dark Ambient
Critic Score
82
2 reviews
User Score
78
2 reviews

49. Bing & Ruth - Tomorrow Was the Golden Age

Bing & Ruth - Tomorrow Was the Golden Age
October 14, 2014
Ambient
Critic Score
81
6 reviews
User Score
75
10 reviews

48. Ernest Hood - Neighborhoods

Ernest Hood - Neighborhoods
January 1, 1975
Ambient
Critic Score
NR
User Score
NR

47. Jon Hassell - Vernal Equinox

Jon Hassell - Vernal Equinox
January 1, 1977
Ambient
Critic Score
70
1 review
User Score
79
1 review

46. Edgar Froese - Epsilon In Malaysian Pale

Edgar Froese - Epsilon In Malaysian Pale
September 1, 1975
Ambient
Critic Score
90
1 review
User Score
80
1 review

45. Huerco S. - For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)

Huerco S. - For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)
June 10, 2016
Ambient
Critic Score
82
7 reviews
User Score
79
76 reviews

Part of the album's magic is the way that Huerco S., after the fashion of William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops, has captured a feeling of fragility, of things flaking to dust before our very eyes and ears.

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44. Microstoria - snd

Microstoria - snd
October 22, 1996
Glitch
Critic Score
60
1 review
User Score
78
1 review

43. Eluvium - Talk Amongst the Trees

Eluvium - Talk Amongst the Trees
March 1, 2005
Ambient
Critic Score
81
6 reviews
User Score
83
9 reviews

42. Ekkehard Ehlers - Plays

Ekkehard Ehlers - Plays
October 17, 2002
Ambient
Critic Score
89
2 reviews
User Score
82
5 reviews

41. Brian Eno & Harold Budd - The Pearl

Brian Eno & Harold Budd - The Pearl
January 1, 1984
Ambient
Critic Score
90
1 review
User Score
86
3 reviews

40. Max Richter - SLEEP

Max Richter - SLEEP
September 4, 2015
Modern Classical
Critic Score
77
4 reviews
User Score
85
22 reviews

39. Suzanne Ciani - Buchla Concerts 1975

Suzanne Ciani - Buchla Concerts 1975
May 20, 2016
Electronic
Critic Score
NR
User Score
68
1 review

38. Biosphere - Substrata

Biosphere - Substrata
October 21, 1997
Ambient
Critic Score
90
1 review
User Score
87
15 reviews

37. Tim Hecker - Virgins

Tim Hecker - Virgins
October 14, 2013
Drone
Critic Score
84
24 reviews
User Score
82
162 reviews

Hecker’s music has always been eerie, but never this forceful. Some sections of Virgins feel like soundtracks for horror-movie climaxes when the camera fixes on a sickening image and refuses to turn away, fascinated and trapped at the same time.

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36. Windy & Carl - Depths

Windy & Carl - Depths
March 23, 1998
Drone
Critic Score
90
2 reviews
User Score
86
1 review

35. Laraaji - Ambient 3: Day of Radiance

Laraaji - Ambient 3: Day of Radiance
January 1, 1980
Ambient
Critic Score
80
1 review
User Score
88
8 reviews

34. Charlemagne Palestine - Four Manifestations On Six Elements

Charlemagne Palestine - Four Manifestations On Six Elements
January 1, 1974
Drone
Critic Score
NR
User Score
NR

33. Steve Roach - Structures from Silence

Steve Roach - Structures from Silence
January 1, 1984
Ambient
Critic Score
100
1 review
User Score
87
6 reviews

32. La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela - The Tamburas Of Pandit Pran Nath

La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela - The Tamburas Of Pandit Pran Nath
January 1, 1999
Drone
Critic Score
NR
User Score
NR

31. Ashra - New Age of Earth

Ashra - New Age of Earth
January 1, 1976
Ambient
Critic Score
NR
User Score
89
5 reviews

30. Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place

Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place
February 22, 2011
Ambient Pop
Critic Score
81
12 reviews
User Score
83
44 reviews

So while there are few identifiable words here and the titles don't really register, there's a hell of a lot being expressed.

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29. David Behrman - On The Other Ocean

David Behrman - On The Other Ocean
January 1, 1977
Ambient
Critic Score
NR
User Score
NR

28. Pauline Oliveros - Accordion & Voice

Pauline Oliveros - Accordion & Voice
January 1, 1982
Drone
Critic Score
NR
User Score
83
5 reviews

27. Oneohtrix Point Never - Rifts

Oneohtrix Point Never - Rifts
November 16, 2009
Drone
Critic Score
84
7 reviews
User Score
87
15 reviews

It reminds me of is Dâm-Funk's Toeachizown, in that the vibe is inseparable from the artist, clearly the work of one person with a novel agenda and the chops to see it through to the finish. And like Dâm-Funk's, it's the type of music that doesn't knock you over the head at first, but sort of seeps into your pores over time, uncovering new pleasures when you inevitably come back for more.

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26. Iasos - Inter-Dimensional Music

Iasos - Inter-Dimensional Music
January 1, 1975
New Age
Critic Score
NR
User Score
87
3 reviews

25. Folke Rabe - What??

Folke Rabe - What??
January 1, 1997
Drone
Critic Score
60
1 review
User Score
NR

24. Brian Eno - Ambient 4: On Land

Brian Eno - Ambient 4: On Land
March 1, 1982
Ambient
Critic Score
93
2 reviews
User Score
89
20 reviews

23. Keith Fullerton Whitman - Playthroughs

Keith Fullerton Whitman - Playthroughs
October 21, 2002
Ambient
Critic Score
95
2 reviews
User Score
80
5 reviews

22. Fennesz - Endless Summer

Fennesz - Endless Summer
July 3, 2001
Ambient
Critic Score
89
5 reviews
User Score
89
47 reviews
Fennesz takes musical warmth, glowing melodies and lush arrangement and subjects them to sharp digital decay, providing another deep layer of meaning.
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21. Grouper - A I A : Alien Observer

Grouper - A I A : Alien Observer
April 11, 2011
Ambient
Critic Score
81
1 review
User Score
83
34 reviews

20. Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica

Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica
November 8, 2011
Drone
Critic Score
79
24 reviews
User Score
84
158 reviews

There's a real sense of discovery here, or possibilities being probed, and that feeling is infectious.

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19. The Orb - Orbus Terrarum

The Orb - Orbus Terrarum
April 4, 1995
Ambient
Critic Score
78
4 reviews
User Score
81
8 reviews

18. Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement Of The Decline

Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement Of The Decline
April 7, 2007
Ambient
Critic Score
88
8 reviews
User Score
85
34 reviews

On their first album in almost six years, Kranky's drone stars explore the difference between music and sound, turning in an effort that's much more minimal and muted than 2001's outstanding The Tired Sounds of...

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17. Alice Coltrane - Turiya Sings

Alice Coltrane - Turiya Sings
January 1, 1982
New Age
Critic Score
NR
User Score
83
2 reviews

16. Terry Riley - Persian Surgery Dervishes

Terry Riley - Persian Surgery Dervishes
January 1, 1972
Ambient
Critic Score
80
1 review
User Score
91
1 review

15. Robert Ashley - Automatic Writing

Robert Ashley - Automatic Writing
Critic Score
60
1 review
User Score
87
8 reviews

14. The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World

The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World
June 21, 2011
Ambient
Critic Score
79
8 reviews
User Score
82
62 reviews

13. Brian Eno - Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks

Brian Eno - Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks
January 1, 1983
Ambient
Critic Score
91
2 reviews
User Score
88
31 reviews

12. Laurie Spiegel - The Expanding Universe

Laurie Spiegel - The Expanding Universe
January 1, 1980
Ambient
Critic Score
NR
User Score
81
6 reviews

11. Gas - Pop

Gas - Pop
April 4, 2000
Ambient
Critic Score
90
2 reviews
User Score
89
36 reviews

10. Fripp & Eno - Evening Star

Fripp & Eno - Evening Star
December 1, 1975
Ambient
Critic Score
85
2 reviews
User Score
84
8 reviews

9. Tim Hecker - Harmony in Ultraviolet

Tim Hecker - Harmony in Ultraviolet
October 16, 2006
Drone
Critic Score
85
5 reviews
User Score
84
47 reviews
Latest from the electronic producer refines the sounds of his previous records, creating what is, paradoxically, Hecker's most dramatic and most oceanic album.
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8. Pauline Oliveros / Stuart Dempster / Panaiotis - Deep Listening

Pauline Oliveros / Stuart Dempster / Panaiotis - Deep Listening
January 1, 1989
Drone
Critic Score
90
1 review
User Score
NR

7. Oval - 94 Diskont

Oval - 94 Diskont
January 1, 1995
Ambient
Critic Score
100
1 review
User Score
86
16 reviews

6. Stars of the Lid - The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid

Stars of the Lid - The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid
October 29, 2001
Ambient
Critic Score
92
4 reviews
User Score
85
18 reviews

5. The KLF - Chill Out

The KLF - Chill Out
February 5, 1990
Ambient
Critic Score
95
2 reviews
User Score
90
22 reviews

4. Terry Riley - A Rainbow in Curved Air

Terry Riley - A Rainbow in Curved Air
January 1, 1969
Electronic
Critic Score
93
2 reviews
User Score
87
11 reviews

3. William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops

William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops
January 1, 2001
Ambient
Critic Score
94
1 review
User Score
89
39 reviews

3. William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops II

William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops II
January 1, 2003
Critic Score
NR
User Score
84
10 reviews

3. William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops IV

William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops IV
May 1, 2003
Critic Score
NR
User Score
86
5 reviews

3. William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops III

William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops III
April 1, 2003
Critic Score
85
2 reviews
User Score
85
6 reviews

2. Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works Volume II

Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works Volume II
March 7, 1994
Ambient
Critic Score
74
3 reviews
User Score
80
63 reviews

1. Brian Eno - Ambient 1: Music For Airports

Brian Eno - Ambient 1: Music For Airports
March 1, 1978
Ambient
Critic Score
93
4 reviews
User Score
90
64 reviews
Original Source: http://pitchfork.com/features/lists-and-guides/9948-the-50-best-ambient-albums-of-all-time/