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Lockdown correspondent, Ben Romberg's ambient music recommendations

The clubs, bars and concert halls might be closed, but electronic music culture is full stream ahead with DJs, producers and promoters around the world offering up online events directly from their living rooms.

Made for this era is boilerroom who have been hosting ‘Streaming from Isolation’, fundraising transmissions in a continuous blur since the middle of March. Featuring fresh mixes from the likes of Helena Hauff, DJ EZ, HAAi, The Black Madonna and Mall Grab – it’s well worth tuning in. The hype is real and you get to see what trendy artwork is donning the walls of famous DJs living rooms for no extra charge.

United We Stream in alliance with ARTE Concert is working hard to save Berlin’s club culture during the lockdown, broadcasting live sets from Stuttgart, Vienna, Hamburg and other German cities, with the aim of replicating the club sounds of those places from a selection of live streams each day. Donations are made by contributing 10 euros per month to become a sponsor and receive a virtual club ticket to listen to the music. In addition to this, you can donate to the clubs directly and support event organizers by buying solidarity merchandise.

The website 9128.live had a live takeover from Astral Industries, curating 50+ hrs of ambient live sets, DJ mixes and other exclusive material available for download. Donations go to the South London Refugee Association so worth buying their music via bandcamp – the artwork is fantastic as well.

The Barbican have released a series called Read, Watch & Listen and as the name suggests it gives you plenty of material to do with all three. A highlight in this online archive is an Introduction to Ambient Music, written by Jon Dale with illustrations by Aleesha Nandhra.

Featuring a mix by Tomoko Sauvage as well as Brian Eno inspired tracks and the modular electronics of Caterina Barbieri and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, the archive shuffles through recent micro-movements like chillwave and vaporwave. It’s a blissful odyssey.

'Ambient is relatively rare in that it’s a genre that can be traced back to one artist, and first and foremost, ambient is the creation of Brian Eno'

Inspired, after listening to this series and the music on 9128, I decided to record an ambient mix, pulling together some of the tracks and ideas featured in this series – you can find the mix here: https://soundcloud.com/ben-romberg



Staying with ambient, it’s worth reading Philip Sherburne’s recent review in Pitchfork magazine of the KLF’s album ‘Chill Out’ from the early 90’s. This set the tone for ambient house and remains one of the most infamous mix albums from that era, using samples later taken by Massive Attack and the Chemical Brothers. Not available on Spotify or Apple Music, the only place you can listen to this sublime and peaceful album is on YouTube, unless you are willing to fork out for one of the uber-rare CDs or vinyl still in circulation. Keep an ear out for the bleating sheep sounds and submerged Elvis Presley vocals.

This should give you enough to keep you sonically occupied this coming week. I’d also recommend tuning in to the folks at Netil Radio, a community run radio-show based in the heart of London Fields, now running from various living rooms around the capital. In particular the E2- E8 show hosted by record-collector heavyweight Luca Schiavoni deserves special mention.

If you’ve come across something that is worth shouting out about feel free to DM me on twitter @benromberg or directly to @Run_Riot - keen to know what else has been happening.

Stay safe and well.

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