The ambient practitioners are taking Western music back into the awareness of pure sound in the moment, kind of like a zen ideal, or a general awareness of music taken out of linear thinking modes.
A nice observation. I feel that some of my most inspired work comes from creating "in the moment" via improvisation, though, more times than not, I'm tempted to shape my improvs into a more seemingly structured form. Strangely, I'm not always aware that I'm creating something sonically interesting until after I have left it for a while.
...and I'm with Bill. There is a danger of becoming too smug and insular about the subjective perception of art.