For those aficionados of a particular vein of ambient music who are still lamenting the loss of transmissions from Blue Mars internet radio that went offline in June of 2013, there is this heartening news. One of our fellow Blue Martians — can we call ourselves that who loved Ione’s late lamented internet radio station? — has recreated the playlists and has been broadcasting as “Echos of Blue Mars” since November of 2013, with all three feeds: Music for the Traveler, Cryosleep and Voices from Within, nestled within a lovely blue homage website, and everything. Truly a labor of love. Do not let it be a thankless effort. Check it out, express your gratitude for a job well done, and rejoice that the void has been filled again.
The original Blue Mars feed featured a special blend of a certain kind of ambient music that was without the distracting and brain entraining elements of words, melody, or beat, that created a soft cushion of sound that insulated the mind from the outside world. It was blissfully without attention snagging station identifiers and especially without commercials. It was the perfect music for such meticulous tasks as computer coding, writing, graphic art, reading, knitting or other attention demanding tasks. It is hard to find internet radio stations that play this particular kind of ambient mix, especially commercial free ones, and Blue Mars was at the forefront of that select few. Of the internet radio stations out there who say they play ambient, too often it is mixed in with other types of music like new age, meditation, club or some other kind of concentration shattering things.
My other go-to favorite, Major Ursa, still has a website up, but I haven’t been able to get their feed for months and months. Very, very sad.
SomaFM has it’s Space Station Soma channel, and its Deep Space One and Drone Zone channels still up and they’re good, but they have station identifiers — infrequent and discrete ones, albeit — but they’re still there.
Dark Ambient Radio is still on line, and I listen to it some, but the music tends to be darker in mode/tone (oddly enough), with a harder edge and not exactly pleasant in sound. It’s good for some things, but not for others. However, its stream is commercial- and station-identifier-free.
Ambient Sleeping Pill has a good feed, which I listen to and need to program into the internet radio in my bedroom as it is good for sleeping. It is a commercial and station identifier free feed. A Winamp playable feed is here.
Another nice station is A.M. Ambient, with a nice, commercial free feed, although they still have some tracks with vocal and/or a beat. I can get its feed through the internet radio in my bedroom and play it to sleep to frequently. Another commercial and station identifier free feed.
Fluid Radio has a nice feed I listen to sometimes. Can’t remember if they have station identifiers, but prospective feeds gets deleted from my Winamp at the first commercial, so I know they don’t have commercials.
Interstellar Radio Station apparently doesn’t have a website, but it is available through Streema and TuneIn. I was able to get a Winamp playable feed here. It’s OK, but again, occasionally has songs with either vocals or beats or both.
Mixing of Particulate Solids is still up and has three feeds that are all commercial and station identifier free feeds
Replayscape apparently does playlists by people in chat rooms. Not sure how that works, but some of their stuff is nice.
Sleepbot continues to broadcast, but has some tracks with vocal and/or beats. No station identifiers or commercials, though.
Still Stream Radio is still on, too, with a station identifier free (I think) and commercial free (definitely) feed, but it has DJs.
That’s what I’ve got for now. There’s good “Blue Martian ambient” out there, but you have to dig for it, and it’s very hard to find a pure vein.
I listen through Winamp, which I downloaded before it was sold, but it is still available here. It’s pretty simple to set up. I keep all my internet radio stations under “playlists.” If you want to use this software to store your cache of good feeds, from the player select “View” then “Media Library” and choose “playlists.” Then do whatever you need to do to get the feed playing on Winamp. (Many individual internet radio websites offer your choice of Winamp, Windows Media Player, Quicktime, and RealPlayer playable feeds, or pls, m3u, ram or fla file types. Internet Radio.Com is a search website that does. SHOUTcast is another one). You may have to go into Windows Control Panel to the Default Programs option and assign a file type to Winamp as the default player (i.e., take the file type away from Windows Media Player, or Quicktime or Realtime players and give it to Winamp) to get an internet radio station feed to play through Winamp.
Once you get the feed playing on Winamp, it is a simple matter to go to the bottom of your media library window, and select “Import” and “Import (active) current playlist.” It always puts the imported playlist at the bottom of your list of playlists and calls them “Imported Playlist” — simply highlight it, right click your mouse and choose “Rename” and give it the name of the internet radio station. Also, if you highlight “Playlists” on the Media Library menu and right click, you have the option to “Sort” and can alphabetize your list. Of course, you can use the “Playlist” option to import tracks from music you have stored on computer and can build playlists that way.
Of course, you can always bookmarks your favorite internet radio station and play them through the in-browser player most of them provide, if that’s how you want to do it. Or you can go through TuneIn or Streema, or RadioTuna or SHOUTcast or one of the other services, favorite your preferred stations and go that route. You can haz options.