This site is only useful if I keep it focused. If I were to review all the music I like, it would become a poorly funded AllMusic.com or worse. I like Enigma and VNV Nation, and I'm quite certain I'm not the only one in the world. But, there are lot of fans of each that wouldn't care for the other. This site is for Nu Ambient fans. However, there are some artists who just aren't Nu Ambient, but whom I'm dying to mention. Read on, and hopefully it will be obvious why some subset of the visitors to this site might like each of these artists...
There's a lot of World Fusion out there, and a lot of it fits neatly into After Engima. VAST is a lot different, though, because it fuses World sounds with Hard Rock and Industrial. So far, I haven't heard anything quite like it, though Black Ether shows some VAST influence. The earlier releases, Visual Audio Sensory Theatre and Music for People are great. The most recent release, Turquoise & Crimson, seems light on the World Fusion and a little repetitive to me.
I think Iris is my favorite Synthpop band. I'm not sure if they have Depeche Mode beat... The facts that Andrew Sega (band member) used to live here in Austin, and that we have some mutual friends, don't hurt Iris' cause, but they're really pretty well known in parts of Europe without my help ;) I loved their music before I met them, too. Andrew has specifically stated that he doesn't think "Synthpop" is a good description for the band, but I think he's dead wrong. If anything, I don't think bands like VNV Nation, which are really gothed up Techno and Trance, should be called synthpop. If the music is a)made with synths and b)poppy, I say call it Synthpop. Iris isn't saccharine sweet like Erasure, mind you, but it is highly accessible, verse-chorusy goodness.
I hardly know how to begin to describe Vangelis and his copious contributions to electronic music. In short, he was among the first to wring emotion out of the machines we call synthesizers. As early as the late 60's, he was active in the Progressive Rock scene, but I'm little qualified to discuss that era or genre, so I'll direct you to Wikipedia for the details. As far as I'm concerned, the really good stuff started flowing in 1981 with what probably remains his best-known work, the score to the film Chariots of Fire.
In my opinion, the following year's Blade Runner soundtrack was a greater achievement, but it isn't nearly as useful to parodists. Due to some legal entanglements, there are actually two versions of the Blade Runner soundtrack - an "orchestral adaptation" of the score by the New American Orchestra (which was apparently assembled for the sole purpose of recording this album), and the actual Vangelis score, which wasn't released until 1994. The orchestral version is actually very good, and I think it demonstrates that Vangelis' skill as a composer is seperate and equal to his skill as a synthesist.
My other two Vangelis favorites are the score from 1492: Conquest of Paradise and the studio album Voices, which is generally considered a New Age album. Be forewarned, though, that Vangelis has written in a wide variety of styles over the years. I strongly recommend that you listen to a sample of any given album before you spend money on it.