Buy Ambient Century

The Ambient Century - Mark Prendergast

UK Edition Release
New 2003/2009 Edition

In association with Amazon

The Ambient Century - Mark Prendergast

US Edition Release
New 2003 Edition
In association with Amazon

 

UK Edition Release
November 2000
In association with Amazon

US Edition Release
January 2001
In association with Amazon

 

Published by Bloomsbury Books

 

 

The Top Ten Ambient Music and Books

 

A personal selection of ten of the best ambient CDs and ten of the best books about the ambient scene.

"Prendergast's essential 20th Century recordings are an invaluable guide to the music, in fact, perhaps the best definition of Ambience extant" - Eric Olsen in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 2001.

Most of these CDs and books can be bought through this site, in association with Amazon.co.uk in the UK and Amazon.com in the US.

 

MUSIC

1. Erik Satie - The Early Piano Works (Philips Duo 1998)
The slowest and most exquisite Satie of all time played by Reinbert De Leeuw in the late 1970s.

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2. Brian Eno - Music For Airports (Virgin/EG 1978)
Eno pushes Ambient into the mainstream with four graphics and four pieces of haunting space-filled beauty with girlie chorus and Robert Wyatt on piano.

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3. Love - Forever Changes (Elektra 2001)
Recently voted the greatest album ever made, Arthur Lee's quintessential sixties vision is made perfect by scoring the songs for acoustic guitar and strings. Comes with seven bonus tracks.

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4. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here (EMI Harvest 2000)
Twenty-fifth anniversary edition CD in original packaging of black shrink-wrap, handshake sticker, diver postcard etc. The epitomy of Ambient Rock.

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5. Vangelis - Blade Runner OST (East West 1994)
The Greek maestro's greatest music to Ridley Scott's greatest film.

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6. The Durutti Column - The Return Of The Durutti Column (Factory Once/London 1996)
The quietest record of the post-punk era - glittering guitar miniatures with a clutch of period bonus tracks.

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7. Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works Vol 2 (Warp 1994)
Richard James nudges Mozart and says come see the symphonies inside my wires and boxes. Ambient genius at work.

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8. William Orbit - Pieces In Modern Style (WEA 2000)
Madonna's producer gives Barber, Satie, Ravel, Cage, Gorecki and even Beethoven the Ambient Trance stylee.

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9. Moby - Play (Mute 1999)
Drawing on Satie and New Order, Moby defines Ambient techno with this peerless set of melodies. Everyone's heard the piano riff of Porcelain and in 2000 a 2-CD edition added all the B Sides.

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10. Air - The Virgin Suicides (Source / Virgin 2000)
France's premier Ambientizers give Sofia Coppola's movie the haunting Pink Floyd treatment.

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BOOKS

1. Kraftwerk - I Was A Robot by Wolfgang Flur (Sanctuary Publishing 2001)
Inside the most enigmatic and influential German electronic group of all time.

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2. A Century Of Recorded Music : Listening To Musical History by Timothy Day (Yale University Press 2000)
A history of the recording of classical music and its social effects by National Sound archivist.

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3. Painting With Sound : The Life And Music Of Hans-Joachim Roedelius by Stephen lliffe (Meridian Music 2003)
The first exhaustive biography of a man who contributed much to German, electronic and Ambient music. Lovingly compiled by lliffe with foreword by Eno and first colour illustrated discography

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4. Bass Culture : When Reggae Was King by Lloyd Bradley (Viking 2000)
Everything you ever wanted to know about the music which pre-empted Hip-Hop, House, Techno and invented the words Drum & Bass.

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5. Kind Of Blue : The Making Of The Miles Davis Masterpiece by Ashley Kahn (Granta 2001)
Exhaustive account of the making of Miles Davis's most famous record of shimmering jazz sketches.

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6. Waiting For The Sun : The Story Of The Los Angeles Music Scene by Barney Hoskyns (Viking 1996)
Unbelievably exhaustive and brilliant account of the city which produced The Beach Boys, Love, The Doors, Tim Buckley, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and tons more.

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7. The Unknown Paul McCartney - McCartney And The Avant-Garde (Reynolds & Hearn 2002)
Subtitled from Loops to Trance, this incredible book documents, over an exhaustive 255 pages, McCartney's forays into the avant-garde from John Cage to Unit Delta Plus, Stockhausen to The Fireman, it's all here in loving detail.

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8. Altered State : The Story Of Ecstasy Culture & Acid House by Matthew Collin (Serpent's Tail 1998)
Before today's coke-fuelled Hard House there was Ecstasy and an entire history of House & Techno. This one tells it from the battlefield raves and you can still smell the dry ice.

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9. Emperors Of Dreams : Drugs In The Nineteenth Century by Mike Jay (Dedalus 2000)
Wonderful account of ether, laughing gas, cannabis, cocaine, opium and mescaline as they were used in the 19th Century. Includes social and artistic impact. Did you know that Robert Louis Stephenson used coke!

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10. Up-Tight : The Velvet Underground Story by Victor Bockris and Gerard Malanga (Omnibus 1983)
Hugely influential, it was here I found out about John Cale and John Cage playing Satie. A wonderful ride of a read and visual feast.

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