« on: February 24, 2010, 05:15:18 PM »
I've been enjoying all the responses here, and feel like I generally agree. I'd like to add, from my personal perspective, why ambient might not be as popular as before. I am definitely not in the camp that thinks that the majority of ambient music is crap these days - in fact, some of the best music in this genre has come out in the past few years. And while I do think our society is becoming more and more detached from human contact, and the ability to appreciate a more nuanced sonic experience, I think something is increasingly disappearing from the ambient world. I am by no means the avid collector I used to be, and that could be due in part to a feeling that the thrill and sense of discovery in ambient has faded considerably. It's likely it is just entirely my own feelings that have led me to this, but I am curious if others feel this as well. Back in 2003, when I first discovered this music, it was the entry into a bottomless and wonderful world. Sitting in my little concrete apartment, hiding out from the smoggy city and listening to Soma was an experience I will never forget. I am so thankful to this music for pulling me through some hard emotional times and enhancing my life in so many ways, but I have felt like in the past few years that sense of excitement and discovery has diminished. Most of the music, even stuff I admit is extremely polished and well put together ambient, is starting to feel cold and a kind of going through the motions. The realization of this came a couple weeks ago, when I put on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II, the first real ambient record I ever bought. There is so much emotion and heart rending beauty in that album, it actually brought me close to tears. It made me re-evaluate a lot of what I listen to. It also made me aware that I may be jaded personally. But it just doesn't feel like this kind of truly essential record, where something is really being expressed, is coming out these days.
But even though I am jaded I am still able to experience this music fully when the moment strikes. Last night I played Rich's Temple of the Invisible and Calling Down the Sky back to back and it brought back my faith in ambient music. But it was more like a thinking back to the glory of the early days of my ambient expericne that a hope for great ambient records to come. I am still very much into the masters and the music they release, but I have pretty much ceased buying cds in general. Again, I think this partly due to my lack of funds lately, but I can't help thinking that even if I did have the extra money to spend, I would no longer be buying music. Am I just personally jaded, and unaware of the great work that is being produced out there, or is there a sense of excitment fading, and what is causing this?