Brazilian DJ and producer Wehbba is known for his pulsating techno and house on labels like Drumcode, Suara, Bedrock and Material, but he has a soft spot for ambient music. The former dentist released a new five-track EP We Have Bass on Drumcode this past Monday. Four of the records are the hard-hitting techno you might expect from Wehbba and the label, but one is slow-burning ambient one. With that in mind, we asked Wehbba to explore that side of his musical interests and make us a playlist of his favorite ambient records of all time.
“I’ve been attracted to ambient music since I was very young, influenced by some of my favorite movies from the ‘80s like Terminator, Blade Runner, Tron, etc… It’s my go-to style of music while I’m working out of the studio, alongside IDM and Dub. It also inspires me and helps to bring me into a meditative state, both spiritually and intellectually,” explains Wehbba.
“Sometimes I sit in the studio and just jam, no strings attached, and often those jams are extremely melodic and “feel-good.” That’s my escape valve, and very rarely do I remember to record these jams. “Purge” was one of those lucky times I remembered to press “rec” on Ableton Live. It’s a jam with Dave Smith Instrument’s Tetr4, Roland’s MKS-80 and a weird software synth I really love, the same I used to make the main hook for “Catarse,” from my last Drumcode EP with all the sounds going through my eventide H9 pedal. There was no looking at a screen, it was just me, Push and the synths, all in one take, no edits, no frills, completely and purely my feelings translated into music right there and then.”
The playlist includes some of the best that have been made including Tangerine Dream “Love On A Real Train” (though some may not be able to see it because of geo-blocking), Underworld “Tongue,” Autechre “Nine” and Brian Eno “1/1 (Ambient 1/Music For Airports).” As Wehbba says, “there wouldn’t be an ambient top 10 without Mr. Eno on it.
If you are coming down from a big night out this week or need to quickly focus on some work, this playlist should do the trick with some classic ambient tunes.
Tangerine Dream - Love On A Real Train
Probably the first ambient song I fell in love with, when I first heard it on the sound track of ‘Risky Business’, which is what made it famous as well. It’s so uplifting yet full of tension, I’m very thankful for movies of that era for bringing so many electronic masterpieces, such as this one, to a mainstream audience.
Humate - 3.2 (Bedrock Ambient Mix)
This has a very similar atmosphere to “Love On A Real Train,” and it’s probably why I got so attracted to it right away. This came out right around the time I started to really get into electronic music, and it would play at some of the clubs I went to before they’d ‘open’ their dancefloors.
Brian Eno - 1/1 (Ambient 1/Music For Airports)
There wouldn’t be an ambient top 10 without Mr. Eno on it. Pretty much the person who conceptualized the style, or should I say aesthetics, that is considered ambient nowadays. This is by far my favorite song of his. It mellows me out in any situation.
Angelo Badalamenti - Laura Palmer’s Theme
Have you ever seen the interview where he tells the story about how they came up with the theme for Laura Palmer? Do it! Only a genius like him would be able to do such a good job of capturing what is on David Lynch’s mind and translate into music what he does with pictures.
The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
I was blown away by The Field’s first album, it was the perfect combination of minimal music from the masterminds Steve Reich, John Cage, Phillip Glass, etc… and electronic music, using endless looping in a very interesting way. The title song from the album is a great ambient track which samples The Flamingos’ "I Only Have Eyes For You," one of my favorite songs of all time.
Underworld - Tongue
Underworld is and will always be one of my favorite bands, and one of my main influences from day one. "Tongue" features on one of their best albums, Dubnobasswithmyheadman, and it’s a standout even amongst hits like "Dark & Long" and "Cowgirl."
Autechre - Nine
Autechre is one of my favorite artists from Warp, which is no small statement. They were the ones that turned me onto IDM even before I got into Aphex Twin, and "Nine" features on my favorite album of theirs, Amber from 1994.
Apex Twin - #1 (Selected Ambient Works Volume II)
Following on from the previous entry, it’s tough picking only one song from Richard D. James, but certainly indispensable. This particular one was my main inspiration for my very first track I’ve ever released, back in 2004, called "Domingo (Coffee Table Mix)." Go dig it up and you’ll see what I mean!
Gui Boratto - Mala Strana
Had to include a fellow Brazilian in here. Gui is a multi-talented musician and producer, this song features on his first album and is a testament to his genius, one of my favorites from his repertoire.
Jon Hopkins - Abandon Window
I’m a big fan of Jon Hopkins, and especially of his sound design and engineering. Even on an ambient song, which would normally rely on textures and spaciousness, he manages to squeeze lots of elements and weight without being overwhelming.
Wehbba's EP is out now and can be streamed below and bought here. He will also play Drumcode Miami on Wednesday March 27 at Space.