Ambient Systems II

Instinct Records is a New York based label that played a crucial role in the popularity spreading of dance and chill music in the US (especially outside the Chicago/Detroit area of influence).

A lot of compilations of UK and european labels (like Rising High, em:t and the Kickin' label) more or less defined stylistically the later developed chill-out and ethnic ambient tendency of US electronics that ruled the '90s (not always with good results, I might add). And of course the first Moby releases were the reason the label got so big so early. Later it spawned various respectable sublabels as the breaks/ hop/ d'n'b Shadow Records, Sonic Records as an outlet for the hard tech style of Prototype 909 and Church Of Extacy aka GTO aka Tricky Disco, and of course the incredible Instinct Ambient.

I.A. managed to gather in some interesting faces of the NY scene of the time, sound explorers with a twisted pop appeal, a sense of the dancefloor and an eye in the art galleries. Names like Terre Thaemlitz, Taylor Dupree (owner of the magnificent 12k), Dietrich Schoenemann, Tetsu Inoue, Abe Duque aka Kirlian, John Selway, Savvas Ysatis, Sub Dub, Shuttle358 (later), they all had a steady outlet for their more abstract and experimental works and collaborations in between them. With just a small risk I'll say that Instinct Ambient played in the US the same role with the Mille Plateaux/ Force Inc./ Ritornell group in Europe , in the sense that both groups of labels presented techno producers as 'artists' and experimental productions as club-friendly music, dipped in tons of socio-political analysis (or art gallery crap, occasionally). It's not strange that most of the above have also released in the (currently revived) Szepanski axis. Abe Duque worked a lot with Munich's Disko B and Gigolo, Selway grew big through various labels, Ysatis published in Tresor, etc. There were also some direct connections with the often mentioned here Caipirihna label.

Besides history facts and such, I have to say that this was one of the records that inspired me to dig further and seriously into electronic music. Up to then, considering the Ambient genre, the british style of electronica was everywhere. Either it was Warp's or The Orb's legacy, or even trip hop, it had some distinct characteristics. Fewer people liked the german, more '70s kraut electronics oriented scene, which I liked a lot. But I hadn't yet heard the new sound from NY. After a decade and more those guys are still around and totally upfront, while modern electronics from the US and Canada are shaped by the Instinct releases in ways too obvious for me. From warm chill electronica to cold, alien soundscapes through few bad trips of cosmic proportions, sometimes it's a mental game, sometimes it's like a sentimental overdose. Free floating in deep space, that's the feeling after all.

If you consider yourself a fan of Ambient music do yourself a favor and check this compilation. Some few I.A. releases will be posted later.

VA - 1996, Ambient Systems II

CD1: Part 1 - Part 2
CD2: Part 1 - Part 2

Info here.


Anonymous said...

I loved this album too. I got it free when I subscribed to Urb magazine : ) Haven't read that one in awhile.

For some reason, my copy has a different cover and, i think, a different tracklisting. although some tracks I am sure are the same. Some of them like "super secret symphony" and "steps dis-charge" are new names to me. Stuff like sub dub, seti, terre thaemlitz, omicron are on my copy.

Anonymous said...

oops, nevermind, I have Ambient Systems part one

Nightlight said...

I'm sure I had it once but I can't find it, would it be too much to ask for it?

Anonymous said...

no, not too much trouble. are you on soulseek?

Nightlight said...

Actually no, I'm not a p2p fan at all...