Author Topic: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels  (Read 13177 times)

deepspace

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2010, 03:37:44 PM »
I recognise that Austere did put a warning in the title: yet the fact remains that most of the posters in this thread have been releasing music over the last 3-4 years.  It's a slightly silly thing to post, even with a warning.  Luckily, Austere's work is very good, so he's partially redeemed. ;)

In a way, any argument that follows his statement is void, unless it's a defense of recent ambient music, because the initial statement is untrue.

I think that saying that the quality of the genre is diminishing is pointless. Brian's post is an excellent and gentle rebuttal to Austere's statement.  It takes into account the complexity of the ambient scene and the fact that a lot of us are trying to make beautiful and mysterious music, we're not necessarily trying to advance the genre so it fits more squarely within a marketed genre and we can finally get our space on the Wall-mart shelf!  It's not something that is as prone to cultural influence as pop music is.  The scene is going to go up and down.  It's going to blow in the wind like a tumbleweed.  The scene is a bit like the music itself.  Slightly formless and floating.  I don't know about you, but that's why I escape to it.   
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Scott M2

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #41 on: January 07, 2010, 04:36:46 PM »
"It's going to blow in the wind like a tumbleweed."  Nicely phrased... and so it shall.

hdibrell

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #42 on: January 07, 2010, 10:14:31 PM »
"It's going to blow in the wind like a tumbleweed."  Nicely phrased... and so it shall.
Hear, hear. Well said , Deepspace.
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Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #43 on: January 08, 2010, 02:10:49 PM »
Mike wrote:
Quote
Interesting post, Paul.  I would stop short of "blaming" listeners for not being passionate enough, but I do think it's worthwhile for all of us to spend some time thinking about why the passion about this genre has diminished.  Why are people buying less music, and talking less about the music they do listen to?

I wasn't trying to blame listeners for not being passionate, really it is more trying to find out what makes them passionate musically speaking. Which leads to more questions:

1. What makes you want to actually purchase a new CD?
  • Name Recognition?
  • Peer Reviews (IE the folks on forums like this)?
  • Magazine / Webzine reviews?
  • Obsessive compulsive need to own everything a certain artist or label releases?
  • Price...Sales...
  • Packaging...CD, Download, Limited edition with goodies and gimicks?

2. You get the Cd home or the music downloaded and then what?
  • If you love it do you tell friends, do you post? Why or Why Not?
  • If you hate it do you tell friends or post? Why or Why not?
  • Do you play it more than once?
  • Do you let it sink in? How many listens does that take?

3. Where do you actually find new music to listen too...both brand new and an artist's back catalog? (these may be similar questions to #1)


Deepspace Wrote:
Quote
It takes into account the complexity of the ambient scene and the fact that a lot of us are trying to make beautiful and mysterious music, we're not necessarily trying to advance the genre so it fits more squarely within a marketed genre and we can finally get our space on the Wall-mart shelf!

You may think me a jerk, but I am not sure I entirely agree.

Yes of course there are artists who buy into the age old "I do this for me/art for art sake" argument, but almost every artist I know both in art and in music has a deep inherent want/need and drive to be successful. Of course only you can define personal success.

Now I am not delusional, but I would love for the average person to open their hearts, minds and ears and give this music a chance! I would love to see the "Space Music" display at Wal Mart. I really would. Lots of folks put a lot of time, effort, money and sacrifice into their music and it is sad that when a new CD comes out on most of this genre's labels or self promoted download sites, if they sell 50 - 200 albums, they are a god!

I long for the return of the "Hearts of Space heyday" and the New Age boom of the mid 90's of which I only got to be part of the tail end personally, but it was exciting! I used to go to my local record stores and new age shops and art galleries and real living breathing humans stood around and pontificated on the music and the mood and we all listened and fell deeply into the scene. We also purchased and the artists actually made some cash so they could sustain the circle of life. I had an economics teacher point out once that when you have to save up and actually purchase something, it means more to you than if it was free or near free...plus when its rare and you have to seek it out the experience is heightened even more. With the internet where you can find more than you wanted, nothing is rare and most of it is percieved as free...maybe that is part of the scene's death.

Next,

I actually find the statement: "We're not necessarily trying to advance the genre" a tad bit disturbing. Now maybe I am misinterpreting it, but boy am I glad that Brian Eno and Miles Davis and Led Zeppelin and so on in each ones respective genre's did not think that way.

Now the flip side is that the folks who go into a project or a musical experience with the attitude that "I am going to do something no one has ever done before, I will be ground breaking" is also equally disturbing...

But somewhere in the middle there should always be the goal of advancing one's self and their art. If you are not passionate about your art and its propagation, well why should anyone else be?

I know when I go into the studio I always have a personal goal of: I have never tried this playing technique before, or microphone technique or hey I just got a new piece of gear and programmed a really exciting patch or maybe it is more mental like I hope this time I can get even deeper into the soundscape or be even more meditative and chilled than last time, or I am striving for something more beautiful than last time...whatever, but there is always the sense of betterment, challenge and advancement of my music.

And after the music is done and recorded, then what? Don't you want as many people to hear it as possible? Don't you want someone to be affected by it in some way? A cosmic pat on the back, whatever? If you are good with one person cool, but personally I would love the whole world to hear this stuff. Utopian...sure. Unrealistic...sure, but why the hell not!  I have never bought into the keeping the underground, underground or it ceases to be cool mythology.

Shouldn't we all be trying to advance the genre as musicians, listeners, labels, ect?

...now to bring this full circle to the inebriated split personality that is Austere  ;)

Where has all the good music gone? I, like Austere have often heard the "all the ambient music in the past ___ # of years sucks". And whether it is true of not, that perception most certainly exists, and while I appreciate the "long time listening thread", it is a tad dangerous only in that, if we have to keep going back 10-15 top find the good stuff it could lead to a sad state of affairs. Once again a flipside being that in the "flooded" scene now, many great releases have come and gone without the fan fair they deserved.

I would love a thread where we take some time and pic 5 - 10 releases we love for whatever reason that we feel never got the love they deserve. Give links to find and buy it and artworks, ect. Or another that really focuses on this is what is cool for January...right now! I guess that would be like a new release wall  :)

Ok I am done now. Flame away  ;D


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thread derailment section a quick PS
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To the guys asking about a new Ma Ja Le cd, first let me say thanks, second I can only say it is coming. Chris and I are in the overdubbing stage. Not much more I can say about that. We are really pushing our selves on this release, both as players, composers and engineers, hence the 6 year span of creation.
We did release one of the tracks intended for it on a compilation Oophoi put together last year. Maybe he or Mike have copies for sale and I did play one or two new tracks from it on Vir Unis' Rabbit Hold Radio show on Stillstream.

I had a new Cd this past year which Mike just added to the store called "Hymn Of Tongues". Its on atmoworks and is much more Ma Ja Le 'esq than most of my other solo stuff, so if you are a Ma Ja Le fan I am sure you will enjoy it. Plus Chris and I "accidentally" formed a project with Vir Unis and MJ Dawn that was one of my greatest musical experiences of the year and I think we all loved it so much that we will try and grow it into something in the coming year...

...again thank you!

Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Paul

"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

mgriffin

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #44 on: January 08, 2010, 04:35:52 PM »
That there's a lot of typing, Paul!   ;)  A few quick thoughts inresponse.

I agree it would be great for music-makers (artists and labels) to receive more feedback and more constructive criticism.  I believe, at least speaking for Hypnos, that if listeners or reviewers expressed an interest for more (or less) of some certain kind of music, or work of a certain artist, that feedback would be taken into consideration.

What do we say, though, when not much feedback is offered, when new releases don't generate much passion, and when sales of music are slower than ever?

Periodically somebody on the ambient@hyperreal.org mailing list says "obviously this list is dead and nobody cares any more," then then once in a while somebody posts something provocative (unfortunately it often has to do with piracy) and the list flares up into a level of activity and vitality to rival the old days.  So the problem isn't that people are completely unwilling to participate in an email listserv, but then what?

We've been all over the question of why people don't buy as much music.  I think it's a cumulative list of causes, which I discussed in more detail above, but I think most pundits over-state the effect of piracy and underestimate the significance of the very much larger quantity of music being released lately.

I think there is still great music being released but there is such an enormous quantity of music like this being created that most of it just doesn't stand out in a way that makes people say, "Shit, wow, you have GOT to hear this!"

As to the question of whether must be ground-breaking, or that it's important that artists should try to be revolutionary, I can see both sides of the argument.  Yes, of course it's important that some people try new things, mix in different elements and experiment and push boundaries.  But sometimes I'm glad to hear one of my favorite ambient artists covering ground not too different from something he's done before, but refining, and trying a different angle.  If Robert Rich announced "I'm going to try a modern re-take on Trances/Drones," how many of us wouldn't be enthusiastic about hearing it, even though it wouldn't be "new?"  Maybe I'd even be excited about that, than the latest edgy, cool, Wire-friendly bit of glitch-tweakery.
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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #45 on: January 08, 2010, 04:40:41 PM »
I forgot to reply to one of the more interesting parts of your post, here.


I would love a thread where we take some time and pic 5 - 10 releases we love for whatever reason that we feel never got the love they deserve. Give links to find and buy it and artworks, ect. Or another that really focuses on this is what is cool for January...right now! I guess that would be like a new release wall  :)


Yes, this would be fantastic.  It's something I've tried to do from time to time, at least for Hypnos stuff... sort of an "under-rated and overlooked releases you think other people should know about" discussion.  I'm interested in this not only from a Hypnos promotion perspective, though.  I would love to learn about other recordings people here feel deserve attention, and I would love to share information with some of those albums I love but which I don't see discussed very much.  I mentioned a couple of things like this in the "Long Term Listening" topic, that is albums I consider all-time classics but which I rarely see mentioned on other people's all-time lists.
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deepspace

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #46 on: January 09, 2010, 04:04:16 AM »

I actually find the statement: "We're not necessarily trying to advance the genre" a tad bit disturbing. Now maybe I am misinterpreting it, but boy am I glad that Brian Eno and Miles Davis and Led Zeppelin and so on in each ones respective genre's did not think that way.

Now the flip side is that the folks who go into a project or a musical experience with the attitude that "I am going to do something no one has ever done before, I will be ground breaking" is also equally disturbing...

But somewhere in the middle there should always be the goal of advancing one's self and their art. If you are not passionate about your art and its propagation, well why should anyone else be?

Exactly Paul, the last paragraph: somewhere in the middle.  I don't think Miles Davis was trying to be experimental and different- he was creating music that he found stimulating.  Brian Eno himself wrote an article about how little innovation there is in a good piece of art, and about how it should have that perfect balance of craftsmanship, genre and a dab of innovation.  That's what I was saying.  What I was also trying to get at, was how the genre of ambient music mimics the music itself. It's not in a hurry.  It has long quiet sections.  See the past couple of years a quiet part maybe.

What are people really afraid of here?  That ambient music will cease to be, or that it will be forgotten? I have no fears of this style fading away because music thrives on opposition, and ambient music thrives on isolation.  that may sound odd, but i think it's part of the genre. This style stands in opposition to most things in the world.  A style where an artists can make such a minimal statment, and others out there 'get' it....that's just cool.

Everywhere you turn today all you get is more noise: faster, 'better', brighter, sexier, louder.  This scene is a relief and it can't be blamed for turning invisible every couple of years now can it.  :)

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Wayne Higgins

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #47 on: January 09, 2010, 08:30:28 AM »
Listen to ambient music drunk...wow, what a scary concept.

As usual, when Paul gets going, he doesn't hold back.  I agreee with everything.  The sad part is the point of "breaking new ground" has never been successful in any genre of music.  That which is really new and original never sells, and is hardly ever critically acclaimed.  That which copies at the point in time when the listening public is ready for it is what becomes successful.  Way off on tanget here, but the question among thousands of punkers was "why Nirvanna 'Nevermind'?" 

I have realized over the years that those who make music make it for their own pleasure.  Every thing that comes with it, if anything, is just a perk.  Kinda like how many people can draw vs. how many make a living (or even a few spare bucks a year) drawing.

BTW, if everything put put in the past 3-4 years is shit, then I guess I'm in that category.  BFD, so it's shit.  That's why I keep working at it.
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hdibrell

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #48 on: January 09, 2010, 06:02:51 PM »

I think there is still great music being released but there is such an enormous quantity of music like this being created that most of it just doesn't stand out in a way that makes people say, "Shit, wow, you have GOT to hear this!"

I have to agree that sometimes the sheer quantity of releases is overwhelming. It is hard to get really pumped up about one release when there are so many I am enjoying at a given time. I do still find a lot of ambient music that I get excited about. One thing that was eye opening to me recently was the Best of 2009 thread here. I was amazed at how many of the releases mentioned I had not heard or in a lot of cases even heard of.    Harry
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chris23

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #49 on: November 27, 2013, 09:28:27 AM »
/bump

This was an interesting read. I'm bumping it because I've seen a few older forum faces around lately and I'm curious to know if they have a different perspective on these issues almost four years later.