The Sentinel

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Tag Archives: Ambient Techno

Balil – Avidya

Handley and Turner (also known as Plaid and Black Dog Productions) go to town with some Electronica (Post-Techno? Ambient Techno? IDM?) that takes in Detroit Techno, Breaks, and whatever else worked. This is from their 1994 ‘Parasight’ EP that also featured the absolutely sublime ‘Island’. This doesn’t quite touch the majesty of ‘Island’; though nothing else on the EP does; but it certainly stands as a great relic of that particular time.


Ultramarine – Lights In My Brain

Canterbury lovin’ Ambient Techno act sample some Soft machine for a track from their classic 1991 album ‘Every Man And Woman Is A Star’. Nostalgia for those that were there.

Aphex Twin – On

Pretty electronica, back from when the “home listening Techno experience”, or, “IDM”*, was new and astounded indie-kind (and was loved by true Techno heads too, it’s safe to add). Even the fart bass doesn’t take anything away from the aching beauty of this. Richard D James as a mere slip of a lad, and from his 1993 EP of the same name. The fantastic stop-motion video was made by Martin Wallace and, the one and only, Jarvis Cocker.

*Also called “Ambient Techno” back in those days.

Repeat – Tomorrows People

Another slice of deep, ambient Techno from the quartet of Ed Handley, Andy Turner, Dave Hill, and Mark Broom. A slice of electronic beauty.

Seefeel – Plainsong (Sine Bubble Embossed Dub)

Seefeel were one of the bands who were put under the new journo label of ‘Post Rock’ (it was a British thing before Tortoise et al got lumbered with the tag). Ethereal and expanding upon the MBV shebang, they were ripe to be remixed by the burgeoning Ambient Techno artists who were like the Electronic flip side to all of this Post Rock malarky. On their 1993 EP ‘Pure/Impure’ they get both Richard D. James involved, as well as an act called Sinebubble (later to become better known as Autocreation). This is track is taken completely into the soundworld that the remixing team used to inhabit, and is a lovely reminder of the possibilities that presented themselves back in the mid 90’s.


Sun Electric – Whoshe

‘Ambient’ Techno from 1994 that is both spacious, and urgent. The BPM’s are racked up on this slice of expansive electronic tropicalia.

R Wong – Life Principles

Spacey Techno with more than a hint of the 90’s from R Wong a.k.a Richard Ryan Wenger; this track goes all Nu Acid 2 minutes in, whilst retaining the restrained vibe. Released this year on the Canadian label Temple.

Higher Intelligence Agency – Speedlearn

Ambient Techno (remember that term?) from the UK’s HIA. The theremin samples (?) on this tune give it some real Sci-Fi B-Movie vibes, but it’s the bass riff that really does the trick; it’s such a shame that it’s so low in the mix. This is from ‘The Speedlearn EP’ (1993)

Basic Channel – Radiance I

The outer reaches of Dub Techno here with Basic Channel diving deep into the analogue ocean and coming up glowing and, well, radiant. A classic piece of Ambient Techno from 1994.

Ultramarine – Saratoga

A joyous slice of the past from Ultramarine. This band were lumped in with a host of other bands who were lazily tagged as ‘Ambient Techno’, ‘Intelligent Techno’ (like the original Techno wasn’t intelligent?), and the hideously titled ‘Intelligent Dance Music’, where the T-word wasn’t even mentioned. In fact, Ultramarine ended up with their own tag, which was ‘folktronica’; closely related to the easier digested ‘electronica’ tag (which was still afraid of the T-word but a decent enough label). The thing is, Ultramarine rarely strayed into thumping 4×4 beats and they were more inclined towards a breakbeat, which could have had them labelled as Trip-Hop (urgh) had they appeared a few years later. The fact is, their material, which for many was perfected with 1992’s ‘Every Man and Woman is a Star’, was a bucolic electronic music influenced by Canterbury prog as much as acid house (they used a lot of 303’s) and Ambient Techno. Much of their sound was laid back and could be found in the chill-out room (remember those my old raving friends?); however, this tune from the aforementioned ‘Every Man and Woman is a Star’ is an uplifting number that has more Disco about it than any of the genre influences cited previously. This is a track that should bring a smile to anyones face and is a personal blast from the past for this reviewer. Enjoy!

Laurence Johns

Curator of Counter-Culture, Personal Development Consultant & Writer

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