Friday, December 10, 2021

Travelmarx Music Picks - Ambient Christmas 2021

A composite of 25 album covers used to create this playlist.

Welcome to the Travelmarx 2021 ambient Christmas mix. We generally tire of Christmas and Christmas songs by Thanksgiving because the reductionist thinking of marketing - if a little is good, more is better - is such that the Christmas cycle kicks off sometime in late August.

Anyway, we thought as an antidote, we would present a different Christmas soundtrack of interesting ambient tracks we've enjoyed this past year. The 25 tracks in this playlist are decidedly not Christmas music. You won't find any artists with the names Bublé, Carey, Sinatra, Crosby, Wham!, Lennon/Ono, or the Chipmunks. This playlist can be found on Spotify.

Tracks 1 - 5

Febueder – "Hans" (2018) single. In their own words, "Febueder are an avant-indie duo from Ascot, England."

Chassol – "Big Sun" (2015). A strange and beautiful release from the French pianist, composer, and arranger Christophe Chassol. We include "Birds, Pt. 1" on our Christmas playlist. Always pleasant to hear birds especially in winter.

Son Lux – "Lanterns" (2013). "Lanterns" is the third studio albumfrom Son Lux and it features the track "Easy".

Susumu Yokota – "Sakura" (1999) and the track "Tobiume". You might recognize Yokota's work from his 2005 album "Symbol", an ambient album primarily composed of samples from classical orchestral pieces. The track "Traveller in the Wonderland" is used on RAI in Italy.

Martin Glass – "The Pacific Visions of Martin Glass" (2017). Track "Paradise Bubble" is on our playlist and sometimes you just need to create that for yourself.

Tracks 6 – 10

Leon Vynehall – "Nothing is Still" (2018) – From this British artist and producer, we love the track "Movements (Chapter III)".

Freescha – "Kids Fill the Floor (Remaster Extended Edition)" (2021) – From this California duo, we include the lead track "Every Shiney Night".

Mark Pritchard – "Under the Sun" (2016). On the track included here "Give It Your Choir", we love the lyric "Wrap it in ribbons, Carve it a tomb, Speak of it highly, speak of it often, Take it to hear, And whisper it softly."

Nils Frahm – "All Melody" (2018) is one of our favorite releases from the German musician, composer, and record producer. We include the track "A Place".

Clark – "Playground in a Lake" (2021), the track "Lambent Rag". Clark is Christopher Stephen Clark, a British electronic musician.

Tracks 11 – 15

Neutron 9000 – "Lady Burning Sky" (1994). We go with the slow build-up of the lead track "Lady Burning Sky". Neutron 9000 is the alias of Domenic Paul Woosey, a trance, techno, and ambient producer of the 80s and 90s.

Grice – "One Thousand Birds" (2019). Jim Peters, London-born musician, singer, and songwriter. Track "One Thousand Birds".

Bola – "Soup" (1998). Darrell Fitton is an abstract, downtempo and IDM producer from Manchester, England. From the "Soup" release, we include the track "Aguilla".

Anchorsong – "Ceremonial" (2015). Anchorsong is Masaaki Yoshida, based in Tokyo. We include the track "Butterflies". (What an interersting album cover.)

Roberto Musci – "Tower of Silence" (2016). This Milanese (Italy) artist plays with different instrumentation and scales influenced by his travels around the world. We love the haunting "Lullabies… Mother Sings… Father Plays…".

Tracks 16 – 20

Grimes – "Geidi Primes" (2010). We include the track "Caladan". The album's title refers to the fictional planet Giedi Prime, from the Dune novels by Frank Herbert.

Gigi Masin – "Calypso" (2020). An Italian composer, musician, and producer from Venice. We include the title track "Calypso".

Tomaga – "Intimate Immensity" (2021), track "Intimate Immensity". London based experimental duo.

Les Hommes – "The Sinner" (2017), track "Canticle" from this East Lond group.

Islet – "Eyelet" (2020), track "Geese". Islet are a pyschedelic pop band from Wales.

Tracks 21 – 25

Julianna Barwick – "Healing is a Miracle" (2020), track "Inspirit". Barwick is an American musician.

Cluster – "Sowiesoso" (1976), the track "In Ewigkeit". We are reaching back in time to this release from the German musical duo.

Duval Timothy – "2 Sim" (2018), the track "First Rain". Duval is a multi-disciplinary artist from South London. Duval currently works and lives between London, UK and Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Kelly Lee Owens – "Kelly Lee Owens" (2017), track "S.O". Owens is a Welsh electronic musician and producer. (Side note: In the past year, we discovered a number of Welsh artists.)

Panda Bear – "Buoys" (2019), track "Dolphin". Panda Bear is Noah Benjamin Lennox and co-founding member of the American experimental pop band Animal Collective.

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