The quest for the perfect IDM/downtempo/ambient album has yielded some new candidates. Let’s take it from the top.

Drøn‘s 2001 album Xenologic requires a bit of patience, and tends toward the random glitch a bit much for my taste. Take it track by track. Start with the otherworldly ‘Spool’, and then try ‘Plateau’.

For something a bit more active, try the Push EP from Lusine. Sophisticated and listenable.

I’m really enjoying everything by Kiln, especially their 2004 EP Sunbox and the new Dusker. Both albums are more musical than I’d expected, which is a plus, and the effects are interesting instead of wearing, as is sometimes the case with IDM. Very worthwhile and sort of relaxing.

And now on to the random.

Flame (Demo 1) by Alphaville
Album: Dreamscapes
There’s a lot more to Alphaville than ‘Forever Young’. They’re an extremely creative band with a gift for fantasy-laden electronic pop, which is better than it sounds. Dreamscapes is an 8-disc set (yes, eight) of demos, rarities, live versions, and remixes. Fans will be interested to hear these sketches of early songs from a great period in their career.

Adios Mi Chaparrita by Pérez Prado
Album: Our Man in Havana: The Very Best of Pérez Prado
I keep a lot of Pérez Prado in the collection, not only because it’s great Latin music, but also because when it comes on randomly at 3 am, it conveys such a sense of strangeness. You’re in a different place and time, and there’s someone going “Uugh!” at odd intervals. Who needs drugs? Or even maté?

Cantara by Dead Can Dance
Album: Toward the Within
Even though I’m only a casual listener of CDC, I think this might be the best live album ever. Lisa Gerard, Brendan Perry, and a team of instrumentalists tackle an amazing range of eastern-influenced music. I’m impressed by two things: the astounding musicianship of a band that got it right on the first take, and the way the audience is clearly entranced.

Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie
Album: ChangesBowie
When was the last time you watched this video? That’s too long. But we can fix that.

The image that stays with me is that of the grandmother. She’s a bit of normal in this very strange world, where the heaving sea is black, and odd people make obsequies despite the oncoming and ominously silent steamroller.

Crystal (Digweed & Muir Bedrock Mix) by New Order
Album: Ministry of Sound: The 2002 Annual
A pretty good mix of the new-classic New Order track. I was so pleased to see New Order doing something new and sharp again. On a slightly related note, the producer of Get Ready, Steve Osbourne, has most recently been enlisted to produce the new B-52’s album Funplex, and how could you not be curious about the first B’s album in 16 years? Less than two weeks away, folks. There’ll be fun. Have a listen.