Celebrating Headphone Commute’s many years of content, I am highlighting albums that I covered 15, 10, and 5 years ago. I do this by going back through my archives and selecting a favourite for the current month. But I’m not just copying and pasting the words here; I’m also refreshing these write-ups a bit to bring them up to date, and, of course, I’m listening to all this music! And so should you!

The Sight Below


The debut full-length album by The Sight Below continues the journey initiated by the enigmatic artist’s captivating teaser EP, its majestic flowing ambient textures spreading over endless soundscapes complemented with an ongoing four/four beat. This beat, while steady and unchanging, forms the backbone of the album’s hypnotic allure, mimicking a deep, visceral pulse that resonates within the listener. The use of acoustic instrumentation, enriched with a deep reverb and set against a backdrop of lush, ambient chords, adds warmth and depth to the sound that is both enveloping and expansive. Remarkably, aside from the iconic Roland TR-808 drum machine, the album’s soundscape is meticulously crafted using only a guitar, an ebow, a viola box, loop pedals, reverb units, and a delay box. The album’s deliberate avoidance of rhythmic transitions may initially appear as a limitation. However, this choice is a testament to the artist’s commitment to minimalism, a principle that serves not as a constraint but as a catalyst for creating a profoundly immersive experience. With this minimalism, Glider achieves a mesmerizing quality, drawing listeners into a meditative state where time seems to simply stand still. Each drone, pulsing gently above the serene, snow-like textures of the music, invites the audience on a journey through landscapes that are at once vast and intimate. This is ambient techno at its finest.

2024 UPDATE: Upon its release, The Sight Below shrouded their identity. The mystery was eventually lifted, revealing Rafael Anton Irisarri as the creative genius behind this project. This revelation, confirmed during the release of “Glider 10,” a remastered anniversary edition appearing on Ghostly in December of 2018, added a new dimension to the album’s appreciation, linking it to Irisarri’s broader body of ambient work and allowing fans to appreciate the evolution of his artistic vision. Irisarri is still very much active in the music scene, most recently releasing the remastered Midnight Colours out-of-print cassette.

Jon Hopkins


Jon Hopkins has lingered on the outskirts of fame for some time, working with high-profile acts such as Imogen Heap, Brian Eno, and Coldplay. His talents as a producer are varied and refined, as anyone who heard above-mentioned albums can testify, and yet his style is fairly distinct when it comes to his own solo music. His 2009 album, titled Insides (Domino, 2009), was a glitchy hybrid of tweaked IDM beats, bass music flare, and sensitive cinematic scoring. In this follow-up, Hopkins has streamlined his sound to focus on a four-to-the-floor beat and a rawer, more physical sound. The results are staggering, especially when he lets his ideas run free for over nine minutes at a time. The album is certainly front-loaded with these principles, while the second half has more room to breathe. That contrast is actually somewhat of a relief, even if all of my favourites are among the first four tracks. This skittering combination of seemingly syncopated objects and surfaces with lush cinematic arrangements overhead reflects that same push and pull I referenced earlier; even when the tempo varies and the mood differs, it’s that sweet contrast of juxtaposed sounds that is at the core of such a compelling body of work. Hopkins takes us into his world for an intense ride, but we’re safe from harm in the comfort of his musical ingenuity.

2024 UPDATE: Ten years on, and it still sounds fresh. Last year, Domino released a remastered and extended version of the album, featuring a second disk of “Asleep Versions” plus a few remixes by the likes of Moderat and Pangaea among the others. In 2022, Hopkins put out his sixth studio album, Music For Psychedelic Therapy, showing off his more “organic” side, in touch with spirituality and deeper understanding, incorporating teachings from Ram Dass. This is indeed a multifaceted artist, who, I hope, we will continue witnessing creating music that outlasts these decades and beyond.

Taylor Deupree


By now, a countless amount of music has been compared to Brian Eno‘s Music For Airports, and even though there is a touch of minor shade and offhand gloom concealed with this work, I’d say that, without even trying to achieve this, Taylor Deupree has come the closest at constructing a space in which one can thus dissolve with music. Perhaps it’s the overall tonality of major chords that make up the seemingly incidental notes that come into the forefront from each instrument recorded on tape, or the solemn atmosphere of textures painted by the tones as if by rain-drops, falling on the stage of sound from the teary eyes. The meditative rhythm once unveiled through bass or the pulsating synth, drives forth through the unfolding of the layers into your mind to process and to peel. I often speak of music used for meditation. This is an album to be tucked away for such a time. The piano notes, like buoys in the sea of sound, allow the mind to float with ease while giving it a place of an anchor in case it wanders too far off. The magnificent warm fuzz of tape and endless sustained reverberation give each piece that comfort feeling, in which it’s very easy to drown. And drown is what I’ll do with pleasure, with Captain Taylor at the helm. “Half-broken tape machines and plenty of ghostly echoes helped hide the honesty of the piano as I hid myself, and my music, away under the cover of abstraction,” says Deupree. A timeless masterpiece.

2024 UPDATE: Deupree is thankfully extremely active. In just a few days, on March 8th, 2024, we will be gifted with a three-track EP titled Aer. Earlier last summer, there was a magnificent album titled Eev, which was preceded by Small Winters in June of 2022. So yes, you can say that I’ll continue to consume and cover everything released by this amazing artist. And while I have you here, I highly recommend that you keep an eye out on an upcoming epic release by Joseph Branciforte, who realised an all-acoustic version of Deupree’s 2002 album, titled sti.ll due out in May on Greyfade‘s new format, called FOLIO.