Author Topic: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?  (Read 35131 times)

jdh

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #40 on: October 07, 2009, 06:49:01 PM »
This a great thread.I agree that the packaging has little value if the music is sub par.I do remember the days though when I would buy the artist for the music first but the artwork was not far behind.These were the days of LPs,for me 1978-1985.I remember listening to Kraftwerk-Man Machine,Ultravox -Rage in Eden or New Order-Power,Corruption,Lies or Seti on Instinct and staring at the covers.Art work by Peter Saville or Taylor Deupree is still amazing.I also like the consistency of artwork-packaging on Hypnos or Kranky.And I have never bought music as an investment to re-sell.I was once told always collect art (music,paintings,books,etc..) because you love it first.if later,you can think of selling it,then fine.I would rather give away my music to someone who would appreciate it instead of getting $4.Of course,if I can get $50 for a Fax title,well maybe...

9dragons

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2009, 08:10:44 PM »
Hope I didn't give the wrong impression in the last post, jdh. I've never bought a cd thinking I was going to simply resell it for more money. I always buy with the intent of enjoying the music and art. But as we all know, quality and enjoyment is not guarunteed. That is why I prefer to buy the real thing, as opposed to cdrs or downloads. If one does not like the album, or gets in a pinch financially, cds can be resold. And that $4 a pop adds up when you're talking hundreds of cds. I think this approach, in the past, led me to take a lot of chances, to distribute my money happily to ambient artists and labels. Just knowing that little basket of cash is there when you need it...

Went to the local small record store that sells ambient, drone, experimental, and metal. It is cool, they are tucked away above an audiophile shop. It's a great time just browsing through all the music I usually only see distributed online. Hoping they will thrive somehow, or at least reasonably survive. They have a lot of instore live shows to bring in the people. A great idea. And through the guys there, discovered this blog that features the ambient/experimental live scene in Seattle: http://nseq.blogspot.com/. Things are looking interesting around here...

MarkM

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2009, 07:27:45 PM »
As an 8th grade teacher, I think I get a good look at the future of music listening.

The medium has changed.  Music is being listened to via cellphones and MP3 players. Older generations buy CDs, but the target of marketing by the industry giants is still to youth. The price of manufacturing and distribution of CDs will be the cause of its death.

It is the nature of the cellphone/mp3 player that is making a drastic change not only on the medium but also the way in which music is played and perceived. First of all, teens are listening to individual tracks and not whole albums. They download individual tracks and put their player in random mode or create their own playlist from a variety of artists.  I have read that many name artists from the pop music scene are now (or considering) releasing singles. The concept album will become a rarity.

Teens don't listen to music; they watch it.  Since the advent of MTV the video has become more and more dominant. The music video started as a marketing tool, but with download capabilities and YouTube the music video will become even more essential.

Because many (or most) teens are able to download music for free, the perceived value of music makes it a disposable product.  They can delete, and if they ever want the music again, they can download or copy it from a friend for free. There will no longer be cabinets full of old music such as my collection of old LPs from my youth.

So what does this have to do with ambient music? The younger generation is music's future. If ambient music doesn't reach their ears or appeal to their flighty sense of music, then it will die off with the baby boomer generation. Ambient music needs to update.  It has rested too long on its reputation of being avant garde and experimental.

APK

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2009, 06:18:52 AM »
Well said, Mark. Totally agree.
Its all very well trying to please the older generation by turning out nice
physical packages, but the much younger generation is already viewing
the CD as obsolete (for good or for bad).
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jkn

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #44 on: October 09, 2009, 06:20:40 AM »
Darn nice post, Mark.

I'm not sure video's matter much anymore... maybe I'm wrong on that.   I have 6 nieces and nephews ranging from 11 to 24 and have watched them grow in some cases from "hey, Uncle John, have you ever heard this song?" played on their tiny cell phone speaker - to them discovering Rock Band, discovering the "classics", and raiding their parent's old collections for awhile.    I don't think any of my 6 have large physical music collections - a couple are "into" music.  

However, I also remember that in the 80's - when I was in high school and going to record shops in every town in the area and to special record shows to buy rarities...  I had more friends that never bought an album (record or cassette... ha) - at all.   There were collectors - and there were casual listeners that would buy and album if it was "really really big".  

I think it's the "collector" people that develop into the more "weird" music like soundtracks, and jazz, and ambient.   The collector people veer off the beaten path.    

Then again - I'm kind of wrong there... my wife isn't a music collector - and yet she likes most of what I throw at her...

So...  ignore all that.  :-)

Future of music - it's still files... it has been for a long time whether we like it or not.   Eventually the files will be higher quality and tiny and the players will be small and still higher quality...  

Future of ambient music...  pretty much the same except with a smaller audience of people and for the most part - willing to take more chances to track down good music and to experiment in different formats.

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triksterb

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #45 on: October 10, 2009, 04:24:34 PM »
Interesting topic.  What I'd like to see is more effort put into creating ambient music.

I found this "album" from a netlabel: http://www.archive.org/details/wh020 , and it is literally a 2 second synth patch stretched out for 75 minutes, with nothing else added to it.  That just screams laziness to me.  Sure, you can make it seem like it's more than that with the description on the page, but in the end, it's a 2 second patch (not a nice sounding one either) looped for 75 minutes with absolutely nothing added to it.  I've seen similar albums like that at more netlabels, but this is one of the worst I've heard.  But who knows, apparently some people like it, so maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe I need a $10,000 setup to appreciate it properly.  Does anybody here like this particular piece?

It kind of makes me mad too, because I've spent at least a year now making an album combining ambient with glitch, trying to make it original and learning tons of tricks in Ableton Live, yet you could just take a sample and loop it for god knows how long , create some artificial meaning to it and release it.  It seems most people just use Paul's Extreme Soundstretch to make an instant soundscape in minutes.  I did this once, listened to it once and liked it, then realized that it was way too easy, and deleted it.

Wow, this was long and kind of rambling, so I guess my point is:  ambient needs more effort than just looping or stretching out a sample and calling it a day.  Since most ambient music is available as download only, people don't feel the need to put effort into it.  Since download only is more than likely the future of ambient, this way of thinking is dangerous.

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #46 on: October 10, 2009, 04:48:44 PM »
Welcome to the Hypnos Forum, tricksterb.

The track you linked to strikes me not as "ambient music," but as sleep-aiding background noise like those little bedside noisemaker appliances that emit digitized ocean waves or the sound of rain.  As you say, it's "3 seconds worth of creativity" stretched out to CD-length.

Having said that, it doesn't bother me at all, and I definitely understand the utility of this kind of thing (I turn a fan on near the bed to help me sleep).  It isn't really music or composition at all, and I'm not even sure the person who recorded it means to present it as such.
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michael sandler

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #47 on: October 10, 2009, 05:05:21 PM »
Interesting topic.  What I'd like to see is more effort put into creating ambient music.

I found this "album" from a netlabel: http://www.archive.org/details/wh020 , and it is literally a 2 second synth patch stretched out for 75 minutes, with nothing else added to it.  That just screams laziness to me.  Sure, you can make it seem like it's more than that with the description on the page, but in the end, it's a 2 second patch (not a nice sounding one either) looped for 75 minutes with absolutely nothing added to it.  I've seen similar albums like that at more netlabels, but this is one of the worst I've heard.  But who knows, apparently some people like it, so maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe I need a $10,000 setup to appreciate it properly.  Does anybody here like this particular piece?

I would like it for inducing sleep, except the pulsation needs to be a lot slower. As it is, it is about the rate of breathing you would experience in a nightmare. Whether this was lazy depends on how it was done. Maybe he pasted every single repetition in by hand. In that case, this would be a piece of meticulous craftsmanship.

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triksterb

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #48 on: October 10, 2009, 08:59:11 PM »
Well I listen to music as I go to sleep, and I got really bothered for a while when I realized that Steve Roach's Immersion series was just a couple minute loop for 73 minutes, but then got over it as I realized how complex it is and it does change subtly throughout.  But this piece is nothing like that.  As for how he composed it, well, I'm sorry, but even if he spent quite a bit of time cutting and pasting everything, the end piece is what matters, and to me, it's not great.  Meticulous craftmanship, sure, but are the results really that great? (Honestly, you could do this in Ableton in like 4 steps: 1. Create patch 2. Create MIDI clip 3. Stretch clip to 73 minutes 4. Render to audio and you're done.)  It reminds me of the people that own like 20 synths or 100 freeware softsynths that only use presets and never bother to learn how to work their stuff. This piece may have been meant for sleeping, but so was the Immersion series, and it's more effective.

It's not just this piece really, it's an opinion I see on a lot of forums that ambient is so easy to make, and it can be, but if you don't put any work into it, then it's fine because you can just listen to it in the background and not bother to really listen to it. 

Thanks for the welcome mgriffin!  I'm sorry if my first posts on this forum seem a little antagonizing, but I thought this was a great topic and I wanted to share my point of view.

mystified

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #49 on: October 11, 2009, 03:23:23 AM »
It's interesting. I know the artist who did this.

He is truly eccentric. Not always in a bad way.

He curates a series called "Rain". The idea of "Rain" recordings is that no new sound is introduced after the first 5 minutes, but the piece stretches on for 40-75 minutes. So he is really working against development, but on purpose.

Of course, not all people like this, but the thought is to induce laziness or sleepiness.

I have written several "Rain" pieces-- here is one:
http://www.archive.org/details/wh121

I am sure he did not mean to anger or frustrate people, and I always say that the good thing about music is, that there is a lot out there, and if there is stuff you don't like, for sure steer away.

Personally I don't mind the "Purr" piece, but I am more into ambient as a background for working and other things than as a front stage thing, usually.
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #50 on: October 14, 2009, 09:25:58 AM »
Don't take this in a bad way...

It actually reminded me of
Quote
Fountain is a 1917 work by Marcel Duchamp. It is one of the pieces which he called readymades (also known as found art), because he made use of an already existing object—in this case a urinal, which he titled Fountain and signed "R. Mutt". The art show to which Duchamp submitted the piece stated that all works would be accepted, but Fountain was not actually displayed, and the original has been lost. The work is regarded by some as a major landmark in 20th century art.[2] Replicas commissioned by Duchamp in the 1960s are now on display in museums.

It's not the effort that always makes the art, it is the art itself.  I'm listening to "Fiat Lux" right now.  It's quite good.  If everything this person did was a 75 min stretch of a 3 second loop, I might agree.  But to consider one work of many as laziness may be stretching it.  I would say ask the artist.  If he say's "Yeah, I was being lazy", then OK.  Personally, I'd rather listen to my own 75 minute pieces than someone else's, which, in itself, may be a lazy attitude.

I'm not critizing you, Mr. triksterb.  Actually, I can somewhat agree with your opinion.  I just think of everything in the frame of "Why" or "What is the intention".  Also, I'd like to if he sold any of these, who to, and where can I find these buyers.

I also consider it to be more creative to record a 75 minute hum than to record a 3 minute "Baby, Let's Fall In Love" song.  But that's just me, and I'm sure that someone will come along with a "____ did it first".  (Had to say that before anyone could beat me to it.)

So...
All of this leads me to a question that I previously haven't been able to put into words. (Thanks again, triksterb)

When it comes to the Ambient Scene, how do we actually view ambient music?  Is it art?  Is it concrete music, narrative music, background music, wallpaper music, all (or none) of the above?  Is it functional music? (theraputic, sleep inducing, calming, ect.)  Is it produced for entertainment purposes?  Why do we make it and why do we listen to it?  And once we answer that question, then how do we turn it into a viable scene that attracts others?  IMO, one of problems with ambient music is that only a small number of people listen to it, whereas a much larger number of people could enjoy it if it was presented to them in a (can't think of the right word) way.

Wow, triksterb.  You really got me thinking on that one.  THANKS!!! 8)
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judd stephens

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #51 on: October 15, 2009, 10:51:23 AM »
Can't believe no one's suggested more cowbell yet. 

drone on

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #52 on: October 30, 2009, 07:55:52 AM »
I'd like to see less laptops and more "real" instruments creating ambient music.  12k seems the worst offender to me.  I go on their website and listen to the samples and most of it sounds like computer noodling. 

jkn

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #53 on: October 30, 2009, 09:00:28 AM »
I'd like to see less laptops and more "real" instruments creating ambient music.  12k seems the worst offender to me.  I go on their website and listen to the samples and most of it sounds like computer noodling. 

Hey - a new topic tangent...  ;-)

Nothing wrong with your opinion on that one...   I've heard noodling with both laptop and people using synths or guitars or tambourines.   And I've heard utterly stunning beautiful brilliant music by people using the same.   

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #54 on: October 30, 2009, 09:06:38 AM »
I understand what drone on is saying, but I disagree with the idea that music made with laptops has a certain "sound."  I do agree that a certain category of recording artists in the glitch or microsound area have turned the idea of "laptop music," the image of this skinny bald guy in a black t-shirt sitting behind a Mac laptop or two with (gasp) no real instruments, into a sort of cliche.

But a laptop is just a portable computer and the problem here isn't the laptop.  It's possible to make very warm, organic, un-digital, or musical sounds with a laptop.

Now, the argument for more "real" instruments, I get that.  There's something to be said for real-time performances with human hands on a real, physical instrument -- and a de-emphasis on midi programming, quantization, and overreliance on digital tools.
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Seren

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Re: What would you like to see happen in the ambient genre?
« Reply #55 on: October 30, 2009, 10:47:51 AM »
Shit - as a skinny bald guy I'll have to wear something pretty awesome to avoid that cliche......nothing comfortable or easy to move in for me then ;D