There's a certain kind of Downloady McDownloader who's always looking for the most obscure thing in new music to "introduce" (aka brag about knowing) to her/his friends. Music blogs live for being the first, or getting the exclusive track from a certain artist. Did you know there’s a way to get your hands on ALL KINDS of totally out-there, odd tracks that no one’s ever heard of without having to seriously troll the internet? It’s called the Ambient channel on iTunes Radio, specifically many of the stations alluding to the new age, astral exploration, Buddhism, or Paganism. (Skip allllll of the “chill” stations—they’re awful.)
Here are some reviews of these stations, graded with Sri Yantras, aka the Tantric symbolic process of full enlightenment. There are links to the stations where available—these people aren't necessarily in it for the fame and recognition the internet has to offer! In fact, some of these stations aren't even on iTunes 24/7, you have to just catch 'em when you can. It's all about the vibrations, folks.
This is edgier music that likes to ask questions. I wrote that before I heard their slogan: “The message is in the music.” It’s kind of cool how it makes you think, and weirdly it’s like it’s reading your mind. (Isn’t it completely bizarro when your iTunes is psychic? It’s like that.) Then it gets a little sleazy like Ecstasy sex at Burning Man when the sun’s coming up, not that I have any experience with that. For instance, a tune that sounds too close to—and maybe is—saying, “Now that we found love what are we gonna do with it?” over spa music. And it gets a little too confessional/cringey, and then when you’re about to go, “This is wayyyy too cheesy for me,” some super cool devotional music hops on and you change your mind.
RATING: 4/5 Sri Yantras
2. Pagan Radio
Man, this is pretty serious. Humorless. Non-Jesus Gregorian-style chanting for way too long. Heavy, heavy, heavy. It's not always available, probably because it's like lead: Small doses can block harmful energy from ripping through your body willy-nilly, though constant exposure is toxic.
RATING: 2/5 Sri Yantras
Relaxation, Meditation, Healing, Mothereffing Pachelbel’s Canon. This station is like one of those motivational posters that actually make you feel worse about your life. Sample track:
RATING: 1/5 Sri Yantras
4. New Age Radio
This could be beautiful sometimes for meditation background. (I know, I know, it’s supposed to be quiet when you’re meditating unless you’re a wimp and need sound to guide you, but sometimes it’s fun to have a little psychedelic prod.) This is the intense shit. You’re not going to get light the easy way here. Prepare to face some “issues” on this station.
RATING: 3/5 Sri Yantras
5. Birdsong Radio
This was more of a personal challenge. I thought there was no way it could actually be just birds, nonstop, and I was wrong. Along with the slow-motion metronomic action of a drowsy woodpecker, you can also enjoy the sounds of a million birds tweeting at once. Made me cuckoo. (Har.)
RATING: 0/5 Sri Yantras
6. Calm Radio’s Healing Channel
Calm Radio has the market on lock for bizarre atmospheric radio stations, one of which is just sounds of the Air Conditioner (aka "pink noise"); in fact, they have a whole range called "Ringing-in-the-Ears Channels." These people do not mess around.
I tuned into this specific station when I was actually sick, just to see if it worked. It started off like someone made the soundtrack to a Western film on one of those mouth harps underwater. Then it got really churned up, and turned into someone slowwwwly tweaking an oscilloscope. Maybe I was loopy from the fever, but it gave me the urge to make out with my dog. If you are not in the mood for this kind of music, it is grating. There are very high pitches and odd, hollow drones. There are often no discernible rhythms, if any rhythmic devices at all. The flute is a favored instrument, and there is no shortage of harps. There is arpeggio and flange galore. Then it will suddenly turn into a celestial haunted house with a romantic Spanish guitarist in the corner playing a duet with a child on xylophone. It’s truly, truly avant-garde, and will blow your mind with weirdness.
RATING: 5/5 Sri Yantras!