What's HOT and what's NOT

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You know those little mini-articles in Wired magazine, and I think Esquire and Details does them too somethings... hell, probably every magazine does them... where they talk about a few things that are HOT, or NOT?

I was just thinking about a few trends I've observed recently, starting right here in our little neighborhood of ambient music. 

HOT: ambient music with melody and structure
NOT: ambient drone music

Comments... I'm seeing a greater interest in ambient music made by people who come from a more traditional music background, or at least who include more traditional elements in their ambient work.

And one more:

HOT: ambient music with acoustic instruments, guitar, and voice
NOT: ambient music with synthesizers and samplers

Comments... Same thing, just a movement I'm seeing toward more people working with these more "organic" sound sources, and despite my own synths/samplers background, this is a trend I welcome.

Does anybody else have anything to add?  Any movements, shifts or trends that can be observed?  I suppose this should be opened up behind just music-related or ambient-music-related changes.

Well, I've actually received quite a few letters from people who said that they were kind of expecting that my cello would actually sound like a cello when they ordered the album, (oops, can you say, "unpleasant surprise")?  ;D  Oh well, that's what you get for not listening to the sound clips! Anyway, I think you're right about the new trend of people looking for more "organic" sounds, I just received an email from a man who asked if I knew of any CDs that were more piano & strings, sort of like "classical ambient". (I know that's definitely more along the lines of what I want to do for my next album)...

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le):
Well I guess the whole melody...acoustic instruments thing is good news for the new Ma Ja Le album when it comes out this year.

Paul  ;D

Bill Binkelman:
So, I take it my more-than-occassional (but not ominpresent) disdain for drone-style music is FINALLY coming into vogue??? I knew it...I knew I was ahead of my time!  ;D

What I often look and hope for is more "musicality" in ambient music. And the trend (if there is one) towards melody and structure is a good sign. And interestingly, the use of acoustic instruments is often another sign of musicality, of people who can actually play musical instruments and have a musical sensibility and not just a technological ability. I do appreciate the technological side, but a needed musicality is what I find missing in a lot of electro-ambient music ... music that sounds too much alike, and too reliant on just stringing predictable samples together or applying big effects rather than playing anything with some musical and expressive expertise.

Think of Eno.


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