Ambient Music (NOT to be confused with New Age Music)

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Ambient Music (NOT to be confused with New Age Music)

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:21 am

Stop looking at me like that!!! I'm not weird!!! Well....

I am a great admirer of all things ambient. I started with some Harold Budd CDs and then discovered the classic Eno pieces and various others - such as David Sylvian's fine ambient works.

Ambient Music is really about not 'listening' to the pieces. Rather its designed to just flow around you in a room while you relax or do other things. It seeps through and influences your mood, and can significantly relax and lower your bio-rhythms, blood pressure and the like.

When successful, a good Ambient session can help you achieve a similar soothing effect sometimes experienced after a positive meditation.

I highly recommend Brian Eno's 'Neroli' and 'Thursday Afternoon' to begin with.
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Re: Ambient Music (NOT to be confused with New Age Music)

Post by Patrick on Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:34 am

When I was in college... way back in the 80s- I had a friend who was really into Brian Eno's ambient series. My favorite had to be 'music for airports.'

Eno's stuff is definately music you have to put yourself in the right mood to hear. You need to sit down, close your eyes, and focus only on the music.
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Re: Ambient Music (NOT to be confused with New Age Music)

Post by sheringham on Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:04 am

I love Harold Budd. I got into his stuff through his album with the Cocteau Twins (another of my great musical passions. There will be a thread along in a minute probably) - The moon and the melodies. Brilliant stuff. After that I searched out other stuff he had done and I wasn't disappointed.

Other ambient composers whose work I enjoy include Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Gavin Bryars. 'Jesus blood never failed me yet' is one of the most moving pieces of music I have ever heard. Some of the Cocteaus stuff is fairly ambient, too - Blue Bell Knoll and Victorialand spring to mind.
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Re: Ambient Music (NOT to be confused with New Age Music)

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:53 am

Eno's stuff is definately music you have to put yourself in the right mood to hear. You need to sit down, close your eyes, and focus only on the music.

No no no! Thrice No! That is most definately NOT the way to 'experience' ambient music.
The pieces should shape YOU as they play subliminally in the background of your life. Eno gave a lecture on this and it was fascinating. He said anyone that sits down to intently focus on an ambient piece is missing the whole point, they are designed to work 'around' you - utilising various frequencies and sonic textures in contrast to gradually bring about a 'correspondence with environment / body / mind.'

I love Harold Budd. I got into his stuff through his album with the Cocteau Twins (another of my great musical passions. There will be a thread along in a minute probably) - The moon and the melodies. Brilliant stuff. After that I searched out other stuff he had done and I wasn't disappointed.

Other ambient composers whose work I enjoy include Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Gavin Bryars. 'Jesus blood never failed me yet' is one of the most moving pieces of music I have ever heard. Some of the Cocteaus stuff is fairly ambient, too - Blue Bell Knoll and Victorialand spring to mind.

Harold composes very beautiful atmospheric music as well as his 'ambient' specific albums.
Truly 'Ambient Music' is NOT simply atmospheric music such as Blue Bell Knoll etc. I too love the Cocteaus and enjoy the ethereal soundscapes they weave - but generally their music is quite conventional in focus - vocals as a focal point, percussion to beat out tempo, sequencing etc...
Ambient Music is far less immediate and unfolds without percieved structure over a long period. As Eno pointed out, it is not 'composition to listen to' but a part of the environment to be 'lived with'.

Also, the difference between Ambient and 'New Age' music is really depth and style. New Age stuff tends to be rather trite and uses quite obvious or crude sounds - sweet synth washes, dolphin noises, the sea, harps, panpipes etc - to seduce a listener. This may have a short term effect but soon becomes rather too sweet and sickly. 'Ambient Music' on the other hand employs much subtler and less obvious sounds that tend to operate much more subliminally.
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