Music series (4) - How to paint a mood with sound

What is this?

I’m documenting my likes and dislikes for posterity’s sake. This entry is part of a series on music.

Music series (4) - ambient & electronic music

I listened to a lot of music in my late teens and all throughout my twenties. I still listen to music all hours of the day but it’s no longer a deliberate activity like it once was. I don’t spend hours of my time sharing and discussing music anymore.

Ambient music is best described as music that paints a mood. When I listen to Tycho’s “A Walk” I picture orange overtones on a mellow backdrop of people going about their day. It feels sunny, lighthearted. It’s the essence of walking down the street and seeing sun dresses waving in the wind. There’s a whole aesthetic associated with it. That’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t matter what the artist intended, they’re just helping you paint a mood for you to get lost in.

These days I don’t listen to whole albums anymore in the ambient & electronic category. When the mood strikes I just listen to one of Lofi Girl’s playlists instead. But a friend from the UAE got me hooked on Emancipator, Tycho, Explosions in the Sky and Bonobo; I can’t write a story about how I came to be me without including a segment on these artists in particular.

I’ll include one album of each artist that struck me as important to me still.

“Dive” by Tycho

Recommended song to try on either Spotify or YouTube: “Hours”

Why this one? If you’ve ever wondered what the hours before sun down sounded like, look no further than Tycho’s “Hours”. It’s a celebration of the day passed. It’s the excitement of having lived yet another day. It’s a comfort and an awakening at the same time.


“Safe in the Steep Cliffs” by Emancipator

Recommended song to try on either Spotify or YouTube: “Greenland”

Why this one? It’s ethereal. It reaches a point where reality and the imagination become one and the same. Kinda like listening to poetry without words to hold onto, getting lost out at sea without a map.


“The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place” by Explosions in the Sky

Recommended song to try on either Spotify or YouTube: “Your Hand in Mine”

Why this one? Because it makes me long for love. It’s an 8 minute exposé on the delicate nature of what it’s like to be in love. It’s that tingly feeling you get when your hand touches that of another. It’s that build up of feelings racing to your heart. It’s that dizzy feeling of being intoxicated with someone’s scent. It’s the rush and the comedown of opening up to someone. It’s a rhythmic celebration of love.


“Black Sands” by Bonobo

Recommended song to try on either Spotify or YouTube: “Kong”

Why this one? I feel like I’m traveling when I listen to “Kong”, experiencing different cultures, eating foreign foods, smoking cigars in far away places, watching people go about their day. It has a dark undertone to it, kind of like how you can never quite get the full picture of the lives people are living.

Created on August 17, 2021
Published on August 17, 2021