But since then, the former Richard Melville Hall has properly explored the true environmental tradition first made popular by BRIAN ENO, issuing limited companion releases such as ‘Underwater’, ‘Little Idiot’, ‘Hotel.Ambient’ and the ‘alt.quiet.version’ of ‘Hymn’, alongside his more high profile and commercial work as exemplified by the multi-million selling opus ‘Play’.
Entitled ‘Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.’, these eleven pieces with their very simple numbered titles, each with an average length of twenty minutes, are to be ignored as much as they are to be listened to.
‘LA1’ is reminiscent of OMD’s lengthy instrumental ‘66 & Fading’, but fourteen minutes longer; gorgeously ethereal, this is aural escapism at its best. On the other side of the coin, ‘LA3’ offers what could be considered almost a melodic motif and recalls the cerebral qualities of BEF’s ‘The Old At Rest’, although it retains the impressionistic ethos of ‘Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.’
‘LA9’ has reverbed piano over drifting sweeps in a haunting but relaxing atmosphere, while ‘LA4’ is largely atonal with its manipulated gong textures. The minimal drone based ‘LA5’ has an almost ecclesiastical demeanour as parts of ‘Underwater’ did, while the slow crystalline movements of ‘LA11’ provide a perfect conclusion to the collection.
MOBY said via his website: “over the last couple of years i’ve been making really really really quiet music to listen to when i do yoga or sleep or meditate or panic”
He added: “i ended up with 4 hours of music and have decided to give it away. it’s really quiet: no drums, no vocals, just very slow calm pretty chords and sounds and things for sleeping and yoga and etc. and feel free to share it or give it away or whatever”
Eno experimented with low tape speeds for his work, and these low bitrate productions each have a hazy, grainy quality that adds a strange surface warmth to proceedings. Best listened to on shuffle at the end of a hard working day, ‘Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.’ is a worthy addition to the ambient artform.
‘Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.’ is available as a free download from
Text by Chi Ming Lai
17th April 2016