Stolen unashamedly from the comprehensive music production website KVR:
Q: "Please recommend an ambient album."
A: "Go for a walk."
Well, it made me laugh. But then, I don't have to go for a walk. I can sit here and get fat and happy because I've already got today's CTW recommendation, he said smugly. I'm new to ambient but I understand it eschews traditional rhythm sections and most melodic elements, preferring to concentrate on disparate and ethereal sounds to form a pleasing, almost hypnotic, whole. (Not a bad analysis, eh? This is all free, you know.)
CTW usually features albums that have been online for an ice age or two, but today's choice, Urlaub auf Balkonien by krill.minima, was released in October on the sainted Thinner netlabel. I'm in danger of getting trendy, but I don't care; this album is so good that it's usurped my vetting procedure like James Bond getting past Customs.
What to expect: white noise, scratches, clicks and pops, echoes, delays, sepulchral reverberation, the most gorgeous otherworldly pads and synths, and an occasional oh-so-cool-if-only-they'd-play-a-proper-blues-phrase-but-actually-this-is-ok electric piano waving hallo. The stunning Strandpalast is like hearing a pebbly beach express itself through music (trust me), and the tempo of the eerie Projektor deviates just enough to unsettle the listener, but if you're wondering whether Urlaub auf Balkonien is your cup of mint julep, try these:
CTW's recommended tracks:
Sommerdellen, a Satie-like conversation between two (sometimes three) notes that will resonate right between your eyes.
Leichtes Glimmen, a track that sounds vaguely industrial until overtaken by a wash of lullaby synths and endless echoes. It's currently my favourite track on the album.
This album is sneaky; before you know it, you've stopped what you're doing and you're swaying in time like a rabbit hypnotised by a snake. The soundscape is so intimate I keep debating whether to strap my computer's speakers to my head. I am normal. Sort of.
Broadband users: krill.minima - Urlaub auf Balkonien (zipped album)
56K dial-up people: Individual mp3s