Paul Vnuk and Ben Swire - I absolutely agree that knowing how to apply compression, different kinds of EQ, multi-band compression and other studio techniques is important in forming beautiful sonics, and that having an understanding of music theory and at least one 'traditional' instrument can only be a help. I certainly wasn't speaking as an anti traditionalist, and I'm just as bored by people who are opposed to any formal musical training on principle as I am by traditional musicians who dismiss our music as not being 'real music' or old skool rock 'n' roll producers who scoff at any unusual or novel applications of studio techniques. A few folk in more noise-based 'avant garde' circles (for want of a better word) come across as far more close minded than the traditionalists they oppose, and though they think they are free, I believe real freedom comes when you have worked hard at a form, consistently, over many years.
I wasn't speaking about collaboration, or studying music theory or production in an academic way, or even sitting down with a more knowledgeable producer or mastering engineer to listen through your work and critique it. I'm so thankful I've had those experiences, especially when they've been brutally honest - painful though they can be! No; I was specifically uncomfortable with the idea of ambient music being taught by some 'master', as if the rules of the genre have been established like the rules of harmonizing a Bach chorale. I just don't think it fits the nature of this movement (unless, like I said, we're talking about ambient-ish music for commercial purposes, like a film score or adverts or whatever), and I don't think the idea even honours the genre's traditions. Plus, we've already got too many sound-alikes as it is.