More songs like "Alone in Kyoto"
June 27, 2021 8:38 PM   Subscribe

I love "Alone in Kyoto" by Air. What really draws me in is how it's minimalist and steady but then has the small embellishments. I like working to music like that. What are some similar songs?
posted by mermaidcafe to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Many Brian Eno songs might fit the bill - most of the album Music for Films has very Alone in Kyoto vibes, to me.
posted by windbox at 8:49 PM on June 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Absolutely start with Eno’s Another Green World (the song for a taste, then the album itself).
posted by pipian at 9:01 PM on June 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

Try Four Tet's Circling - I love both! Songs with a minimal underpinning like that are absolutely my jam.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:18 PM on June 27, 2021 [4 favorites]

You might like some of Tangerine Dream's '80s stuff. It is pretty minimalist, but they are constantly adding new parts and taking out old ones to keep things interesting. Check out the albums Tangram, Exit, and Poland, my favorites from that era. But really, anything from about 1979 to 1985 is worth a listen (they put out a lot of albums, live albums, and film soundtracks during that period).
posted by kindall at 9:44 PM on June 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

(came to suggest Another Green World)
Tortoise - A Lazarus Taxon (3 disc set)
Bonobo - everything, I'm partial to Animal Magic and North Borders
Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II
posted by mannequito at 11:49 PM on June 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

This is just "random ambient recommendation," but maybe Global Communication's 76:14
posted by juv3nal at 12:48 AM on June 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's worth seeking out (older) Air tracks that weren't on the group's main release albums, like Planet Vega (although I think a lot of the Premiers Symptômes EP would scratch this itch, too).

I think the hardest thing to find in your request from the genres of music that touch on Air's style in that track is the "steadiness." You'll find a lot of loosely structured music like this, but I think one of Air's strong points is in that ability to drive a track while keeping it sort of calm and quiet without dissolving into ambient music.

That said, I think most of what I have to recommend falls more in that ambient space.

Eno, too, has collaborations all over the place. I especially like his work with Harold Budd (like The Pearl) and Robert Fripp (like No Pussyfooting). Moving a little further away from Air and getting more into the space-y guitar textures direction, you might also find fondness for folks like Bill Frisell (maybe Ghost Town to start) and Daniel Lanois (Belladonna is so good).

I love this flavor of music generally, but I also can't work with music playing that has vocals. If you don't have this problem, the Junior Boys' Last Exit album would be a good selection. As would Here We Go Magic's A Different Ship.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 4:34 AM on June 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

Nthing Eno. Including other albums.

Some of the composers often used in radio might be worth a look.

It's a weird suggestion and the music is far much more dense, but the forward motion and isolated notes drawn from quiet background chords remind me of some stuff from The Books. Also, possibly, Yann Tiersen's stuff, especially the film soundtracks, though they also contain much more varied orchestral stuff that probably isn't what you're looking for.

(Looking forward to listening to some of the other answers that I don't know.)
posted by eotvos at 5:23 AM on June 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Because I was just listening to it ...

Harmonic Ascendant by Robert Schroder.
posted by philip-random at 7:14 AM on June 28, 2021

I've been getting a lot done to A Winged Victory for the Sullen recently, which seems to fit the minimalist-with-embellishments ambient esthetic you are looking for.

Eno's very early albums are worth it as well, I like Ambient 4 the best.
posted by rpophessagr at 7:21 AM on June 28, 2021

Look into the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Not as electronic as Eno or Air, but no vocals. either.

Some of the composers often used in radio might be worth a look.

Such a broad category, radio. However, that link is specifically to 'This American Life' music, which does often use the type of tunes the OP is looking for. For a more esoteric listing of older music you might hear on late-night public radio, explore the Joe Frank Music page at his wiki. His show was where I was first exposed to the minimalist music of Steve Reich - in particular, his Music for Eighteen Musicians.
posted by Rash at 8:37 AM on June 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Boards of Canada is the go-to in this category for me. Four Tet also.
posted by matildaben at 9:08 AM on June 28, 2021 [3 favorites]

Nthing Boards of Canada, Four Tet, Tortoise.

See also M83, Notwist (Neon Golden).
posted by greta simone at 9:48 AM on June 28, 2021

Check out SomaFM, which has several channels devoted to ambient music that might fit the bill.
posted by essexjan at 10:38 AM on June 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Try Susumu Yokota's Sakura
posted by FifteenShocks at 11:17 AM on June 28, 2021

I think Tycho’s first album, Past is Prologue, has some tracks that may scratch this itch for you, particularly “A Circular Reeducation”. That album (more than his later stuff) sounds like a brighter, less sinister Boards of Canada.
posted by rustcellar at 11:35 AM on June 28, 2021

A Small Good Thing's Slim Westerns might be along the lines of the out-of-place atmosphere that the Lost In Translation soundtrack aims for.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:35 AM on June 28, 2021

While much LCD Soundsystem is a bunch of white guys jamming until "Mad" Steve loses it and there's Too Much Steve ... the Nike Plus Run thing called 45:33 opens with a surgical, vocal-free workout of Someone Great and iterates from there.
posted by k3ninho at 12:24 PM on June 28, 2021

This reminds me of many of the playlists on the following site:

You have to click around a bit to find one that suits your style, but they're all generally ambient music that changes gradually over time and very repetitive, which helps me to focus. They're also mostly 1 hour or longer which is nice.
posted by unid41 at 3:25 AM on June 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

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