Publishers Playlist: Ambient/Study Music

Ambient music, though not typically thought about, is heard everywhere from restaurants and vestibules, to movies and theaters. From luminaries Brian Eno and Harold Budd to more modern artists such as Aphex Twin, I hope to show you how ambient music might help you relax, study, sleep, or simply enjoy.


Emily A. Sprague – Synth Two

Coming from the newly emerging Emily A. Sprague (Florist, Told Slant) is Synth Two from her latest solo release. Sprague’s style is a new breath of life in the indie music realm spreading ambient music to the Brooklyn scene. You can see her doing shows with her intricate synthesizer setup or in her indie folk group, Florist.

Brian Eno, © Shamil Tanna

Brian Eno – 1/1

1/1 is a gateway piece for many ambient listeners including myself. Composed by ambient pioneer, Brian Eno, this is a beautiful piano and pad driven piece from his famous “Music for Airports” album. It’s amazing to think this was not a performed recording but rather various recorded tapes of the repeating piano loop, sequenced in various times interlocking with the accompanying synths and textures.

Aphex Twin – aisatsana [102]

From the legendary UK electronic artist, Aphex Twin (Richard D. James), is Aisatansa. This is full of beautiful acoustic piano and ambience. Unlike his other ambient pieces which come from dedicated ambient albums (Selected ambient Works 85-92, SAWII), this is the closing piece to his energetic electronic album, “Syro.” Aisatsana, being the reverse of his wife’s name Anastasia, shows a more calming and peaceful side to his otherwise groovy , or sometimes caustic music.

Richard D. James (Aphex Twin)

Harold Budd – Campanile

Harold Budd is another person at the forefront of ambient music. This piece features Budd improvising at the acoustic piano in a friend’s home living room. Unlike his usual ambient works with their atmospheric post-processing and effects, this shows Budd at his rawest form- simply with a piano and recorder.

Squarepusher – Goodnight Jade

Another legendary UK electronic artist, Squarepusher, offers Goodnight Jade. One of the more solemn pieces, this puts you on a mellow ride with the lofi piano and heavy but remarkably sweet ending.

Bill Frisell – Wildwood Flower, Poem for Eva

Bill Frisell, courtesy of Monica Jane Frisell

Coming from Jazz and Avant Garde guitarist Bill Frisell is his rendition of Wildwood Flower and Poem for Eva. Though not labeled as an ambient artist, his vast wealth in knowledge of all genres from his experimental jazz to folk lends him the ability to assimilate all genres with ease. Here he brings out his characteristic soft solo electric guitar playing that takes these American folk songs to another place.

Brian Cho – Itjustfeltright

This one is from yours truly, from my recently released ambient album “Dusk”. Everyone loves some shameless self promotion, right? This is the first track from the album and it features some lush, airy synths. Hope you enjoy–

Prince – Sometimes It Snows in April

To close it off is Sometimes It Snows in April by Prince. Everyone knows Prince and this song is such a special song with the artist coming from a very introspective place as opposed to his usual dance floor hits. Having lyrical vocals, I hope this brings you back to the “real world.”


I hope you enjoy this playlist as much as I do. Ambient music has always been a great release for me which is why I enjoy showing it to people in addition to making it. Whether it’s to help you study or relax, with this playlist I hope to bring you along for the ride.