AOTY 2018
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
Critic Score
82
2 reviews

49. Bing & Ruth - Tomorrow Was the Golden Age

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

47. Jon Hassell - Vernal Equinox

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

46. Edgar Froese - Epsilon In Malaysian Pale

Edgar Froese - Epsilon In Malaysian Pale
September 1, 1975
Critic Score
90
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
Critic Score
83
7 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.

44. Microstoria - snd

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

43. Eluvium - Talk Amongst the Trees

Eluvium - Talk Amongst the Trees
March 1, 2005
Critic Score
81
6 reviews

42. Ekkehard Ehlers - Plays

Ekkehard Ehlers - Plays
October 17, 2002
Critic Score
89
2 reviews

41. Brian Eno & Harold Budd - The Pearl

Brian Eno & Harold Budd - The Pearl
January 1, 1984
Critic Score
90
1 review

40. Max Richter - SLEEP

Max Richter - SLEEP
September 4, 2015
Critic Score
80
4 reviews

38. Biosphere - Substrata

Biosphere - Substrata
October 21, 1997
Critic Score
90
1 review

37. Tim Hecker - Virgins

Tim Hecker - Virgins
October 14, 2013
Critic Score
83
24 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.

36. Windy & Carl - Depths

Windy & Carl - Depths
March 23, 1998
Critic Score
87
2 reviews

35. Laraaji - Ambient 3: Day of Radiance

Laraaji - Ambient 3: Day of Radiance
January 1, 1980
Critic Score
80
2 reviews

31. Ashra - New Age of Earth

Ashra - New Age of Earth
January 1, 1976
Critic Score
90
1 review

30. Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place

Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place
February 22, 2011
Critic Score
80
12 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.

27. Oneohtrix Point Never - Rifts

Oneohtrix Point Never - Rifts
November 16, 2009
Critic Score
85
7 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.

25. Folke Rabe - What??

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

24. Brian Eno - Ambient 4: On Land

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

23. Keith Fullerton Whitman - Playthroughs

Keith Fullerton Whitman - Playthroughs
October 21, 2002
Critic Score
94
2 reviews

22. Fennesz - Endless Summer

Fennesz - Endless Summer
July 3, 2001
Critic Score
89
5 reviews
Fennesz takes musical warmth, glowing melodies and lush arrangement and subjects them to sharp digital decay, providing another deep layer of meaning.

21. Grouper - A I A : Alien Observer

Grouper - A I A : Alien Observer
April 11, 2011
Critic Score
81
1 review

20. Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica

Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica
November 8, 2011
Critic Score
79
26 reviews

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

19. The Orb - Orbus Terrarum

The Orb - Orbus Terrarum
April 4, 1995
Critic Score
83
4 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
Critic Score
87
9 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...

15. Robert Ashley - Automatic Writing

Robert Ashley - Automatic Writing
Critic Score
60
1 review

14. The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World

The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World
June 21, 2011
Critic Score
78
8 reviews

11. Gas - Pop

Gas - Pop
April 4, 2000
Critic Score
90
2 reviews

10. Fripp & Eno - Evening Star

Fripp & Eno - Evening Star
December 1, 1975
Critic Score
83
2 reviews

9. Tim Hecker - Harmony in Ultraviolet

Tim Hecker - Harmony in Ultraviolet
October 16, 2006
Critic Score
84
5 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.

7. Oval - 94 Diskont

Oval - 94 Diskont
January 1, 1995
Critic Score
100
1 review

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
Critic Score
94
4 reviews

In their crowded field, it's hard to say exactly what makes Stars of the Lid so special. It comes to mind that their relentless commitment to subtlety sets them apart, as does their masterful hand with tone. Throughout The Tired Sounds, dissonance is doled out in small portions, perfectly coloring the sculpted fields of sound.

5. The KLF - Chill Out

The KLF - Chill Out
February 5, 1990
Critic Score
95
2 reviews

2. Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works Volume II

Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works Volume II
March 7, 1994
Critic Score
70
3 reviews
Original Source: http://pitchfork.com/features/lists-and-guides/9948-the-50-best-ambient-albums-of-all-time/
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