I was working late this eve, and there were some discussions about ambient electronic music. It occurred to me that I haven’t really delved too deeply into this part of my past. I used to be way deep into psy-ambient, dub, and chill-out electronica. It was my go-to when things got rough or uneasy, an aural meditative cure for all the negativity and unwellness in the mind. And for the most part, it sufficed.
I’m not really all that uneasy right now. The full moon is causing a little bit of restlessness. But that could also be the intensive late night work session, crossed with a few glasses of wine. Anyway, I think it’s high time to start talking about some of these immersive chill-out tunes on this blog.
So for starters, I’m going to slip and slide back to 1996 for a track titled “Cloud Hopping.” The name alone strikes me as a journey I want to take. It’s whimsical and fantastical, conjuring chilled tumbles in the big fluffy beyond. It’s extremely psychedelic, weird in a comforting way, soft and soothing, yet still transcendentally tranced in deep rhythm and infinite layers. And it works with or without the hallucinogens, depending on your preference.
I find it challenging to talk about ambient music, because it’s really meant to be experienced. I know how it makes me feel, and I’m sure that sensation varies from person to person. But I can say with certainty that whenever I throw on a track like “Cloud Hopping” in the wee hours of the night, everyone in the room tends to zone out for a few minutes, lost in a sort of short-term hypnotism sometime during the eight or so minutes that it occupies the sound system. Volume and/or headphones can also add to the depth of the experience, as well as remaining reclined and lucid.
Sadly, the maker of this melody, Jake Stephenson aka Alien Mutation, is no longer with us. He passed back in 2015. His collaborator Matt Hillier aka Indigo Egg is still around, continuing to craft spacey aural mediations and horizontal tunes under the moniker Ishq. Stephenson was more inclined in the psychedelic trance and goa spectrums, while Hillier found comfort in the super lo-fi and lax. Together, they met in the middle, spinning ambient tales of extreme tranquility and rhythmic mind alterations.
I find that psychedelic trance tends to be an acquired taste. But psy-ambient shaves off some of the more aggressive, quick edges, leaving an often melodic oddity that seems suited for introspection and Zen culture. “Cloud Hopping” is one such curiosity I feel is worth exploring. I plan on offering many more, and maybe a playlist or two.
In the meantime, check out the embeds below. As per my usual inclinations, I’m starting with a YouTube link, so you get the whole reflective excursion in one sitting. And if you like what you hear, you can head over to Spotify to add “Cloud Hopping” to your own playlists. Enjoy!
Spotify’s embed for “Cloud Hopping ” from the 1996 album “Microcosm Macrocosm.”