Best of 2013: Ambient Album of the Year

Winner: Ex-Confusion – With Love  (n5md records / review)

Runner-up: Shayou – Gleam of Midnight (totokoko records / review)

Ultimately a tough decision given the impeccable flawlessness and inspiring innocence of Shayou’s Gleam of Midnight and the vividly imaginative new LP Satellite by Last Days, the ambient genre has never had finer recordings in the last decade.  No record epitomized the definition of the ambient genre better than With Love by N5MD artist Atsuhito Omori, better known under the moniker Ex-Confusion. Each of the 13 tracks posses a serenity to them, a peaceful calm that expresses a relieved yet solemn tone of time passed. Omori’s drawn out guitar notes brings a gazing wonder that almost creates a sense of “confusion.” The beauty in the crafting of With Love is that one does not know actually what to feel. Like a well-balanced ambient record, emotional appeal is either floating or heavily-weighted, of which With Love hits you from both ends of the spectrum. While it appears time is endless on With Love‘s 13 mellow-paced tracks, there is an undeniable theme of moments gone too soon (“Come Find Me,” “On Your Side”). There is a heart to With Love, especially on pieces such as “Only An Angel” and “Two Things” where the inner meaning is so deep its almost indescribable. With Love may have little variety of tones throughout the record, opting for a more tried-and-true drone method, but its conflicting underlying messages is where Ex-Confusion hypnotizes you and never lets go. With Love is one of those records that alters whatever you believe in and makes you appreciate it even more.

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