A big fan of sci-fi movies, eh? Then this collection of movie-inspired ambients on YouTube is for you.
Remember when playing a song on YouTube ended up sucking you into an hours-long trip in the uncharted territories of recommended artists and songs?
Yeah, nostalgia hits harder than ever.
While some of us still grudge about the number of annoying advertisements, it’s still possible to recall the good old times. Particularly in the area of movie scores blended into ambient mixes.
For most sci-fi movies, sound effects are used for multiple purposes. A particular sound may be used to create the perception of space or bolster the feeling of alienation. Sometimes, the sound design adds more to the overall effect than any orchestral score.
This article compiles ten awesome sci-fi ambients that create entire soundscapes based on great genre classics.
Alien (1979) ambience
No wonder there are dozens of ambient mixes based on scores from the Alien franchise. Aside from blazing the trail for most cosmic horror movies out there, Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) grew to become one of the most iconic horror films in history. From brilliant cinematography cramped in spaceship corridors, stuck between hatches, and dehumanized interiors, the first Alien movie deserves praise for its outstanding sound design.
To commemorate the latter, this obscure mix from the Black Hole Ambient channel uses dialogue from the film, mixed with machine beeping, howling of the wind, and other robotic sounds. The result feels close to being a story on its own, thanks to the same linear structure as the plot of Alien (1979).
Prometheus (2012) ambience – Shaw’s Paradise
Perhaps the most calming, nerves-soothing of all ambiance mixes we shared in this article is Shaw’s Paradise – a tribute to Noomi Rapace’s character in Prometheus (2012). The droning bass captures the endless highlands of the planet discovered by the Prometheus crew.
At the same time, the vocalizing echoing in the distance adds just a bit of unease to the composition.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017) ambience- Off World
Ridley Scott’s cyberpunk classic matured like the finest of wines, giving birth to many new adventures that billowed out, majorly inspired by the sheer bliss of Blade Runner (1982) – its gorgeous looks, its gorgeous sounds, and its provocative nature.
Just as prolific were attempts at creating ambient soundscapes composed from bits of Vangelis’ score. Among them is A’AN’s monumental ambiance that beautifully bridges Ridley Scott’s classic with Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 (2017). Echoes of esoteric chimes, perhaps a nod to tears of rain, blended with gentle raindrops, sounds of Blade Runner blues, mechanic beeps, and soft vocalizing.
On top of it all, you’ll also hear bits of the dialogue from the film – arguably, it’s one of my most frequent mixes on shuffle.
Alien Covenant (2017) ambience
Alien: Covenant (2017) divided audiences. On the one hand, the story has finally left the repetitive concept of xenomorphs hunting down an armed squadron. On the other side of the fence are those for whom the characters acted in an idiotic way, making it hard to connect with the crew.
Whatever you may think about Alien: Covenant (2017), the score by Jed Kurzel has reimagined the franchise’s central theme and breathed new life into it. Dressed in its new melodic garments, the score’s lost in the ominous echoes of odd whirrings and thrums, only occasionally revealing the mellifluous nature of the Alien score. This ambiance mix works perfectly as background music for full focus.
Avatar (2009) ambiance
Avatar (2009) went from the most hyped blockbuster ever made to an attempt to establish a potent moneymaker that’s been forgotten only a few years ago. Notwithstanding its ultimate failure to elicit the same excitement as Star Wars or the MCU, James Cameron’s film was a milestone in world-building.
Pandora, the planet where the movie’s story takes place, pioneered the development of 3D cinema, and hardly any subsequent film made in three dimensions matched the brilliance of Avatar (2009). This ambiance from the Ambient Worlds channel unravels the side of the film that’s not as recognizable. The soft, mellifluous score by James Horner completes the whimsical fables that Pandora stores, gently fiddling with the trilling of toads and chirping insects.
Predator (1987) ambience (I)
Hardly any movie creature other than Predator may pride itself on freezing the blood in veins with nothing more than a sound. In the 80s, the clicking sound made hearts tremble, waiting in awe whether Arnold Schwarzenegger would make it alive from the clash with the cosmic hunter.
Mister Ambience’s mix benefits from this ominous clanking. The composition leans towards the more unsettling combinations on this list, and the use of Alan Silvestri’s cryptic soundtrack works perfectly with the melodies of the jungle. After a while, you’ll find yourself in the stuffy heat, surrounded by lianas and followed by the cosmic hunter…
Predator (1987) ambience (II)
This ambiance from Predator (1987) feels even more immersive in the jungle setting of the movie. The rhythmic drum adds a drop of unease to the soothing orchestra of monkeys, birds, and insects. The Armchair Ambience also brings more of an extraterrestrial layer to the mix. However, this might not work so well if you’re more into movie soundscapes that utilize vast chunks of the original score.
Interstellar (2014) ambience – Meditating with Amelia Brand
Although Hans Zimmer composed a towering piece of film score for Interstellar (2014), the magnitude and complexity of its orchestra may not be perfect for playing softly in the background. Instead of betting on its gravitas, this blend called Meditating with Amelia Brand softens the monumental work from Mr. Zimmer. While keeping its iconic space organs theme, this ambiance captures the more ruminative part of Christoper Nolan’s epic.
The Thing (1982) ambience
John Carpenter’s opus magnum employs its audio effects to achieve a masterful level of body horror. This ambiance reflects the complete isolation of the blood-soaked outpost. Mixed by Armchair Ambience, this 2 hours-long composition relies on an undertone made by a bass synthesizer. Yet the full effect crystallizes thanks to the howling sound of the wind, which imbues the soundscape with a sinister, outlandish aura.
Eraserhead (1977) ambience
Okay, so it’s a bit of cheating here because Eraserhead (1977) isn’t a sci-fi classic. However, the film’s stunning achievement in sound design deserves a shoutout. One of David Lynch’s most peculiar works is an elaboration on loneliness. There’s an evident link between the intentions of what the soundtrack’s supposed to do for enhancing the experience and how it is organically grown into the world created by the director. This ambiance captures the unsettling cacophony of a world that resembles a gargantuan manufacturing site full of caterwauling, clanking, and whirring.
Let us know in the comments which mixes should be added to the list!