something to help the yuppie puppies move up that golden ladder...
October 19, 2011 11:41 PM   Subscribe

Help me compile a list of 'ambient' tracks that would serve as appropriate background music for a *hip* corporate shmoozing/networking party.

I'm really pretty out of touch with recent trends in ambient electronica and such, but I need to put together a 4 hours-plus playlist of sleek, *urbane* and, most of all, chill music that'd be good for communications/media company types to half-hear as they talk and exchange their business cards and all that.

Shouldn't be crunchy or aggressive stuff. Beats shouldn't be too jittery. The overall working concept is... cool. Very cool. Vocal stuff might be OK if it features a calm delivery.

Oh, and don't be afraid of recommending anything *old* either, as it's quite possible that I won't know it, or have forgotten about it if I do know it. So, anything that you think might fill the bill for the kind of party described above. Huge thanks in advance!
posted by flapjax at midnite to Media & Arts (44 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
Lemon Jelly
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:48 PM on October 19, 2011

Air, Squarepusher, Eluvium, Moby (I like the Play album).

Listen to some somafm stations and pick out tracks that you like.
posted by Xere at 12:04 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

old & cool/suave: kruder & dorfmeister, the k&d sessions.
posted by ouke at 12:30 AM on October 20, 2011 [6 favorites]

Nthing k&d session, most especially their remix of Lamb's Trans Fatty Acid
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:48 AM on October 20, 2011

German label Kompakt is probably worth investigating. Check out their Total compilation series for downbeat melodic minimal techno (don't be put off by the term "techno", it's mostly headphone listening), or their Pop Ambient series for very cool modern ambient.

Related to the Kompakt stuff are the big hitters of melodic techno/electronica crossover - Nathan Fake, Trentemøller, Four Tet, Isolée, and my very of the moment: Max Cooper.

On a different note, there are a few bands knocking around right now like Washed Out which might fill your requirements. This genre seems to change names daily, but I've heard it called Chillwave more often than not. There are vocals, but the overall vibe is cool and, well, chilled.
posted by iivix at 1:18 AM on October 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

Air, La Femme D'Argent (from Moon Safari)
Air, All I Need (from Moon Safari)
Air, Talisman (from Moon Safari)
Air, Ce Matin-Là (from Moon Safari… notice a pattern?)
Bent, Invisible Pedestrian (from Programmed To Love)
Underworld, 8 Ball (from 1992-2002)
Massive Attack, Teardrop (from Mezzanine)
U.N.K.L.E, Glow (from Never, Never, Land)
Morcheeba, The Sea (from Big Calm)
The Orb, A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (from Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld)
Moby, Porcelain (from Play)
Moby, Grace (from I Like to Score)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:31 AM on October 20, 2011 [4 favorites]

Not sure if it's a match for the set, but there's a ton of creepingly melodic stuff on Ultimae Records eg:

Carbon Based Lifeforms - MOS6581
Solar Fields - Das Bungalow
AES Dana - Leylines

Whole track vetting probably required; whilst not crunchy or aggressive some stuff on this label can get a bit edgy in a tripped-out way. A few tracks with oddball vocal samples crop up from time to time as well.

On a completely different bent:

Spacemonkeyz vs. Gorillaz - Laika Come Home
posted by protorp at 1:32 AM on October 20, 2011

K+D Sessions is a good one. A related CD is Suzuki/Tosca.

There was a series called Ambient Dub a while back, Volume 2 is good.

I'd google for "ambient dub"/"ambient chill" and look for compilations and dj sets and give them a whirl.
posted by carter at 2:14 AM on October 20, 2011

Vocal stuff might be OK if it features a calm delivery.

This I cannot recommend too much. It's a jazzy acoustic covers of some laid back Steely Dan songs.
posted by three blind mice at 2:35 AM on October 20, 2011

Metallic Side by Orb/David Gilmour (but man, would it be fun to play this remix of "Welcome To The Machine" at a corporate shindig).
This FSOL remix of Sylvian/Fripp's "Darshan" is great.
Amorphous Androgynous? Two Lovers, Mountain Goat, Fat Cat.
Fantastic Plastic Machine? Mr. Fantasy's Love, Bossa For Jackie.
System 7? Song For The Phoenix, Good Morning, (AKA Mirror System) Cloud 11, Fluidity.

Absolutely nthing the Air and K&D suggestions above.
posted by mintcake! at 3:07 AM on October 20, 2011

The new Royksopp album Senior might be what you are looking for.
posted by 4ster at 4:35 AM on October 20, 2011

The newest album by the Field sounds like what you might be looking for.
posted by Tiresias at 4:40 AM on October 20, 2011

Thievery Corporation

We actually used them as our corporate hold music (they gave us permission after we let them film a video in our office).
posted by empath at 4:46 AM on October 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nthing Air, also Zero 7, Blue States, Boards of Canada.
posted by aloiv2 at 5:12 AM on October 20, 2011

Stars of the Lid FTW


The Field

Cinematic Orchestra

seconding Kruder & Dorfmeister

For a real blast from past, Us3

Maybe some Burial

I sort of think you should throw this in as the last track.
posted by unSane at 5:29 AM on October 20, 2011

I'm going to post random shit here for the rest of the day probably:

The girl from impanema
Tangerine Dream
Solar Stone
Solid Sessions
posted by empath at 5:37 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Related to the Kompakt stuff are the big hitters of melodic techno/electronica crossover - Nathan Fake , Trentemøller , Four Tet , Isolée , and my very of the moment: Max Cooper .

If you're going this direction, Matt Lange and Andrew Bayer are both also excellent.
posted by empath at 5:41 AM on October 20, 2011

Trends toward hip hop beats but definitely chill and cool. Bonobo
posted by pooya at 5:43 AM on October 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

posted by pooya at 5:48 AM on October 20, 2011

If this is in Japan -- Kaishiwa Daisuke, Mono or World's End Girlfriend might be good.
posted by empath at 5:51 AM on October 20, 2011

Matthew Dear
posted by LogicalDash at 5:59 AM on October 20, 2011

posted by LogicalDash at 6:05 AM on October 20, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all these recommendations, folks, look forward to more!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:12 AM on October 20, 2011

Lemonade (Lemonparty Bliss Out), Four Tet and (MeFi's own) Fake.
posted by EvaDestruction at 6:14 AM on October 20, 2011

Newer stuff that I've gotten into:
Demdike Stare - Dubbed out slow percussive ambient.
Walls - Lush ambient sometimes techno-ish, other times verging on shoegaze or kraut. Their 2nd album just came out

Benn Jordan (formerly Flashbulb and other more spastic electronica) has been doing straight up melodic ambient lately. Maybe TOO ambient for parties, also 36 is similar, beautiful but totally beatless.

Ambientish dub-techno: Deadbeat, Luke Hess, Deepchord

Ambient hip-hop beats - Clams Casino, Flying Lotus, Nomak

I'll second the recommendations of Four Tet, Plaid, Tycho, Bonobo, actually there's lots of goodies already.
posted by p3t3 at 6:22 AM on October 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Lemonade (Lemonparty Bliss Out)

posted by empath at 6:28 AM on October 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

St Germain's Tourist is an absolute classic in the nu jazz genre (essentially loungey jazz) and still sounds completely current to me.
posted by Dragonness at 6:47 AM on October 20, 2011

Oh, and I didn't notice that was Flapjax asking. If this is Japan-centric, and you want some more newish Japanese artists that dabble in ambient:
Tenniscoats & Secai, Paniyolo, Shuta Hasunuma, Susumu Yokota, Audio Safari, Nujabes, Nomak (linked above), Filfla, Aus..
posted by p3t3 at 6:52 AM on October 20, 2011

Hey, Flapjax. I don't deal with 'recent trends' either, but here are some cool (in both senses), low event density tracks you may have missed or forgotten from pre-digital, pre-MTV, pre-mp3 days:

Tonto's Expanding Head Band

Dick Hyman
  The Minotaur
  The Topless Dancers of Corfu

Fripp & Eno
  The Heavenly Music Corporation
  Swastika Girls

Don't overlook Terry Riley and Moondog!

John Hassell, Malay from Dream Theory in Malaya.

And if you can find it, Ellipsis, Ellipsis (Flying Fish FF 339): 20th c. minimalism a la Reich, Glass, played in a bluegrass context. About three people bought this LP and I'm two of them.

Possibly, none of these is exactly what you are looking for, but if you're programming four hours of sound, you might want to season it with some outliers.

Have fun.
posted by Herodios at 7:48 AM on October 20, 2011

Anything from the Buddha Bar series.
posted by haqspan at 8:17 AM on October 20, 2011

Probably too dancey, but I have been diggin' Analog Barbarian's Licks podcast mixes -- some of the more downtempo ones are great, no lyrics, and they have the advantage of being premixed, fire-and-forget, hour-long pieces.

Uh... avoid the ones labeled "Dubstep."
posted by Shepherd at 8:19 AM on October 20, 2011

if Dick Hyman is allowable, how about Lalo Schifrin? Try this if you can find it. It's available on CD but the price is appalling. Doesn't seem to be on iTunes.
posted by Logophiliac at 8:27 AM on October 20, 2011

Subconscious by Samantha James.
posted by JDC8 at 8:39 AM on October 20, 2011

Eno's Music for Airports? I know everybody says K&D Sessions, but I just can't think of a sound that's more appropriate for more situations. We play it in the tattoo shop, at the doctor's office, in the headphones while I'm doing housework.

Would Sigur Ros be too aggressive? It's all pretty ten years ago, I guess. I find that sort of appealing. What about Godspeed! You Black Emperor? Mogwai? Did anybody say Stars of the Lid? Matmos/Rachel's?

Thanks for this question. I'm going to spend/waste the rest of the day listening to all this great music.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 8:46 AM on October 20, 2011

Hey, that's my favorite kind of music! Lots of great recommendations already. I would also recommend selections from:

9 Lazy 9: Sweet Jones
Beastie Boys: The In Sound from Way Out
Ulrich Schnauss: any album
DJ Shadow of course
J-Walk: A Night on the Rocks
Pogo: Broken Beats
DJ Krush: any album
David Holmes: Let's Get Killed
Lionrock: City Delirious, An Instinct for Detection
Dust Brothers: Fight Club soundtrack
Herbaliser: great instrumentals on every album
Four80East: definitely Nocturnal, but there's good stuff on every album, may be jazzier than you want

The multiple soundtracks to Samurai Champloo are exactly what you describe--and in Tokyo, I bet you won't have to jump through as many hoops as I did to get your hands on them all. It's Fat Jon, Nujabes, Force of Nature and Tsutchie.

If the samples are acceptable to you, I would recommend parts of Dimitri from Paris: Sacrebleu and DJ Me DJ You: Rainbows & Robots.
posted by heatvision at 10:24 AM on October 20, 2011

Ochre, especially songs from A Mid Summer Nice Dream, such as Low Gravity Freefall. (Some of it might be *too* minimalist/chill for what you're going for, so check it out before adding to the playlist.)
posted by rivenwanderer at 1:00 PM on October 20, 2011

The Six Degrees compilation called Recline definitely fits the bill (some cool remixes on there, too).
posted by lovermont at 1:53 PM on October 20, 2011

It's really old,but Les Baxter's output could be looped into any of these artists without much trouble. Talvin Singh would be good, too.

I will be extremely virtuous and not suggest To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie's album The Patron, not because it's not possessed of appropriate tracks, but because it's a themed album about a love affair between two corporations.
posted by winna at 2:20 PM on October 20, 2011

Response by poster: This is magnificent: so many great recommendations! Thanks everyone, so much!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:45 PM on October 20, 2011

Sascha Funke's Mango seems to be just what you're looking for.

Also, try out Apparat (his new CD the Devil's Walk is ah-mazing), Emancipator, Blackbird Blackbird, Bonobo, Kaito and well, the list just goes on.
posted by northxnorthwest at 3:14 AM on October 24, 2011

Thievery Corporation. Just pick an album and put it on.
posted by talldean at 5:27 AM on October 24, 2011

Are any of these from the last 5, or even 10 years?

I mean, most of these are some of my favourite bands, but I realise with a bit of embarrassment that they're generally 10+ years old.

Anything similar, but current? There is lounge/ambient equivalents in every decade...
posted by Elysum at 7:40 PM on October 24, 2011

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