Author Topic: Overrated Ambient  (Read 15288 times)

drone on

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #80 on: October 04, 2012, 05:36:04 PM »
When I met Robin Guthrie backstage at a Cocteau Twins show in '93, I offered my "Moon and the Melodies" cd for him to sign.  He said, "You actually like this?!". I was a little disappointed with that reaction, but he was still nice about it.  He was almost embarrassed by it.  He wanted to talk about how nice Harold Budd was instead of the music.  Years later he talked about how his drug problem was a part of slagging off his own work.  I don't think an artist should hold back if there's something they did they aren't proud of, even if I happen to really like it.

judd stephens

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #81 on: October 04, 2012, 07:30:37 PM »
When I met Robin Guthrie backstage at a Cocteau Twins show in '93, I offered my "Moon and the Melodies" cd for him to sign.  He said, "You actually like this?!". I was a little disappointed with that reaction, but he was still nice about it.  He was almost embarrassed by it.  He wanted to talk about how nice Harold Budd was instead of the music.  Years later he talked about how his drug problem was a part of slagging off his own work.  I don't think an artist should hold back if there's something they did they aren't proud of, even if I happen to really like it.

That's pretty candid talk from the artist, and I guess you could appreciate the honesty while letting you down softly there.  You know, now that I think about it, that is an album I'll vote as somewhat overrated.  I like Harold Budd's contribution to it but the CTwins as talented as they are, have done a lot better. 

judd stephens

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #82 on: October 04, 2012, 07:42:11 PM »
Jesse was my first big celebrity so I don't know why I bombed so much the 2nd time with Mr. Rich .

Hi Judd,

If it makes you feel any better, I remember being really excited about meeting one of Steve Reich's soloists, who happened to be staying in my school dormitory during a new music festival.  After telling her how much Reich had influenced me, I gave her a copy of my second album, which she promised to give to him.  I never heard back from him, which was really a bummer.  I once had the chance to approach John Cage (at the same new music festival), but lost the nerve because I couldn't think of anything to say to him that wouldn't sound lame.

Forrest

It's cool Forrest, but thanks for that.  I realize now what is well enough obvious, that I'll just treat them like another human, and the fact that they made some piece of work that highly influenced me or makes me nostalgic, to them could be just as irrelevant given a million scenarios (so many listeners, the artist has moved on, etc). 

Gongland however, got me through a very trying summer one year... that's all I'll say for now.  ;D

judd stephens

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #83 on: October 04, 2012, 07:51:36 PM »
And clearly Rainforest is not overrated?  Ive not heard it.....need to change that.

Julio, I'm not sure about it being rated super-high by most.  My feeling is people highly rate several of his works:  I imagine he gets plenty of Stalker references, probably also Trances & Drones, and maybe Strata and Fissures.  (a lot of collaborations in there, but Robert's influence is plenty in all cases)  I just don't know if his later works receive as much kudos, maybe Echo of Small Things & Calling Down the Sky have come close to the status of the aforementioned. 

Rainforest is probably mentioned but I doubt it's consistently listed as a favorite or whatnot.  On the other hand it was kind of an important release for his career.  As was said it was his first Hearts of Space release and most likely his highest selling so there are definitely a lot of people who at least valued it highly at one time.

jdh

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #84 on: October 04, 2012, 08:44:21 PM »
My favorite RR is Somnium by far,then others in his sleep/ full ambient mode. Rainforest ( which I have is way down on the list) But I rate highly Echo and that was way later so I think he was gotten better and better and he has a vast catalogue.Even though I am not into his more tribal or sequencer music,I can understand it.I have met him,chatted and seen him live 3 times.My recollection is he knew what he wanted and how to say it.Not very shy.

Bill Binkelman

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #85 on: October 04, 2012, 09:50:36 PM »
Hi Bill,

I'm glad you clarified your position.  The reason I thought you were second-guessing Robert's opinion of his own work is that you stated that "the ultimate appraisal of an artist's work should be made by the audience, not the artist."  I couldn't disagree more with this statement.  If this were the case, then chart position would be the equivalent of aesthetic merit---which really begs the question.

Forrest


To some degree, I stand by my statement about "ultimate appraisal." But I sure as hell am not equating appraisal with commercial success. My point is this: IF (and that may be a big IF), an artist is trying to communicate something via his/her work (whether it is an idea, an emotion, or whatever), then, ultimately, the transmission of that thing (idea, emotion) is the goal and only the recipient of said info can be the "judge" of whether or not the art was "successful." Now, I understand, appreciate, and respect if an artist only does his/her art to "let out the muse," i.e there is nothing to communicate. The art is for its own sake. It just "is." It may express something an artist thinks or feels, but if no one else "gets" it, that's fine and dandy.

This is an important distinction, IMO. Does art exist for the "appreciator" or for the artist? If one extends the analogy to food, then if the person who eats the food says it's "terrible" (even if prepared well), does that invalidate the food's worth? Conversely, if a person thinks Robert Rich's Rainforest is "good" but Stalker is crap, does that mean anything other than what it is? A preference?

But, from a different perspective, viewing the appreciation of one's work as the "goal," then even if the cook "makes a mistake" (e.g. cooks a a Kobe beef cut to medium well) but the patron loves it and finds the meal delicious, well, was the "goal" met?

It's a curious thing, i.e. art appreciation. I had a former girlfriend consider the work of wildlife painter Terry Redlin (see below for an example) as "kitsch" and chided me - overtly - for my love of it.



But to me, the artwork strikes to the core of my emotional being and floods me with emotion . Is it good "art?" Frankly, I don't give a shit as it means something to me.

This was my sole purpose in my original post in this topic. The recipient of any art is the ultimate judge of the art's worth TO THAT INDIVIDUAL. There is never any absolute judgement of art. But an artist should, IMO, appreciate that what the artist may deem as inconsequential may hold deep meaning for the fan. That should never be taken lightly, IMO.
May the odds be ever in your favor.

ffcal

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #86 on: October 04, 2012, 10:41:01 PM »
But to me, the artwork strikes to the core of my emotional being and floods me with emotion . Is it good "art?" Frankly, I don't give a shit as it means something to me.

Yikes, Bill, I think it feel a Thomas Kincaid moment coming on...;)

I can't speak to what other musicians intend or don't intend, but when I create music, it happens on a subconscious level, and not through an deliberative process or even as an express communication to a particular listener or group of listeners.  It's just a pure form of expression, like a gesture, but with more focus.  When I decide to release a piece, it becomes its own vehicle or thing, separate and apart from me, if that makes any sense.  A lot of what I like to do comes out of the love of hearing what different combinations of timbres and textures sound like together.  Not that I worship at the altar of Brian Eno, but I liked his description of part of his creative process as "playing with paints."  It's that joy of experimenting and finding something unexpected and interesting that keeps me doing it.  If other listeners like what they hear, it of course makes me feel good and I am appreciative of it, but that is not why I do it.

Forrest

Poaalpina

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #87 on: October 04, 2012, 11:27:11 PM »
Hello Forrest,

I 'm reading this thread and listen to your Gongland album. Bought it a week ago and all these days i swimming in music. Really like a hazy place you created.
If you will say right now you don't like it  anymore, because you think your last album is much better, i will not cry.  ;) I really like it, and it lives now separate and apart from you.  :)
« Last Edit: October 05, 2012, 12:49:40 AM by Poaalpina »
Ambient DNA

Seren

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #88 on: October 05, 2012, 12:43:07 AM »
Great thread and discussion.

I too tend to say stupid things in the presence of (my own) celebrities/persons of inspiration - or say nothing at all. I remember being told by Simon King of Hawkwind that he had just been kicked out, but I was too stoned to reply......... :-[

Mike's decision to release my music from the Umbra Label on HSS has embroiled me in my own version of this discussion. I know what I was trying to achieve in the earliest of those albums and pieces and had to consider how I felt about them now. And whether to add anything, subtract or change them or leave them as signposts/celelbrations/tombstones of the past.

Some I've left alone - just trying to decide where to add track points was too hard, others I've gently reworked, a light adding of better quality reverb or overlapping the seperate tracks slightly. .....

If I was making some of that music now it would likely be very different so it was both a very high compliment to be offered the releases and a hard decision to accept as some listeners might not like what I had done and define 'my music' by those releases.

I think that the interplay between artist/musician etc and appreciative audience is always a delicate shifting sands of mutual expression (and perhaps at times both sides could be more sensitive in sharing their feelings/thoughts with each other - hey we are all human!!).

I don't think I like the idea of the artists intent being considered unimportant, at any point, even if dead many years - therein lies the chance for that original inspiration being 'spun' with meanings that might even contradict the original. The (also) human tendency to think we know best about something.....

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #89 on: October 05, 2012, 03:37:32 AM »
A lot of what I like to do comes out of the love of hearing what different combinations of timbres and textures sound like together.  Not that I worship at the altar of Brian Eno, but I liked his description of part of his creative process as "playing with paints."  It's that joy of experimenting and finding something unexpected and interesting that keeps me doing it.

Yes....the "playing with paint" is spot on Forrest.  I had not heard that before but as I painted first before writing music I have always thought along these lines and it is those unexpected moments that occur on the sonic canvas that inspire me to keep stretching more canvas.

How did this all start, this creative journey......somewhere, someone asked a question, my creative expression is the coming to terms with that question. Interpreting the meaning,  It is not the answer.  Anyway once you think you have the answer most often its just another question.     

Bill Binkelman

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #90 on: October 05, 2012, 08:36:11 AM »
But to me, the artwork strikes to the core of my emotional being and floods me with emotion . Is it good "art?" Frankly, I don't give a shit as it means something to me.

Yikes, Bill, I think it feel a Thomas Kincaid moment coming on...;)

(snip)

Forrest

I expected that reaction from some folks...and I admit that on the surface Redlin and Kincaid may appear alike, but really they aren't at all (IMO). Yeah, wildlife art is not "art" to a lot of people. That's fine. Ambient music isn't "music" to a lot of people. Artistic taste is 100% subjective. I know the remake of The Italian Job (film) is not as "good" as the original but I like it better. What I was trying to say with the Redlin example is that his depiction of rural midwest scenes in autumn somehow strikes this chord in me from my childhood...it reminds me of trips up north with my (long since deceased) parents. It reminds me of playing outside in the fall (my favorite time of year) as a kid. There is no "reason" why it hits me this way or so hard. It just does. There's nothing rationale about it. Why do some things hit us the way they do? Despite my obvious cynicism (which I parade around every chance I get), in my heart I would actually call myself a romantic idealist slanted towards being somewhat obsessed with nostalgia (I tend to dwell on the past in a lot of ways). Anyway, my point is that my appreciation for a painting, an album, etc. is just that...MY appreciation for it.

As for the snipped comments you made about what drives you to make music...well, I have never been a musician so I can't even comment on that. I think that people do what they do for a lot of reasons. I don't think one impetus is automatically better or worse than another, including doing something just to make money (although, that has its limitations, e.g. labels releasing countless compilations by raiding back catalogs, which is what Windham Hill did a lot after it was sold by Ackerman to BMI). As a journalist, which is what I view myself as - not a creative writer - my impetus is solely to communicate something, which if I understand you correctly, is the opposite of what you intend...I think I get what you are saying that your music is more "pure essence," i.e. you are "playing with paints" as you wrote to see what comes out of it all. I respect that...but it is the opposite of where I come from when I write (your approach is probably closer to poetry, although that is itself a generalization on my part).
May the odds be ever in your favor.

ffcal

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #91 on: October 05, 2012, 09:29:19 AM »
Anyway, my point is that my appreciation for a painting, an album, etc. is just that...MY appreciation for it.

Yes, I agree.  The music that I enjoy the most appeals to me on a very subjective emotional level, and brings back memories associated with it, too.  For me, that would be progressive rock.  I think it's very similar feeling to being a longtime fan of, say, the Chicago Cubs.

I think I get what you are saying that your music is more "pure essence," i.e. you are "playing with paints" as you wrote to see what comes out of it all. I respect that...but it is the opposite of where I come from when I write (your approach is probably closer to poetry, although that is itself a generalization on my part).

I like to think my creative process as more like painting.  I admit that on some at least subliminal or marginal level, I am probably influenced by whether the music I am creating will have an audience, but I try not to be controlled by it.  It think it does explain why generally don't enjoy performing live.  Live "painting" just doesn't appeal to me.  The potential spectacle of it makes me too self-conscious to focus properly.

Forrest

judd stephens

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #92 on: October 05, 2012, 11:04:12 AM »

Yes, I agree.  The music that I enjoy the most appeals to me on a very subjective emotional level, and brings back memories associated with it, too.  For me, that would be progressive rock.  I think it's very similar feeling to being a longtime fan of, say, the Chicago Cubs.

Years from now, after the wars, a tribe will rise from the ashes of humanity.  Finding a dusty cd called "Gongland" in the rubble, the newly inspired tribe along with their god "Fang" will lead us to a thousand years of peace and prosperity. 

Probably not what you intended with your work, but what the hell?  If it works for them...

LNerell

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #93 on: October 05, 2012, 03:51:11 PM »
Loren, if you remember, what was the original title going to be?  I knew there was something very non-Robert Richian about that album cover  ;D

Track seven on the album, "The Raining Room" is what I remember it was suppose to be called. I don't remember the artwork but I seem to remember that Robert had the painting he wanted to use in his house at the time.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

Numina

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #94 on: December 09, 2012, 09:39:08 AM »
Actually Forrest, I'm a pretty shy person myself.  Jesse was my first big celebrity so I don't know why I bombed so much the 2nd time with Mr. Rich .  I didn't really approach him conventionally like an obtrusive fan.   Jesse put me up to it...  ;D

Don't forget that you stayed at this celebrity's house for a couple weeks too!  ;D

judd stephens

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #95 on: December 09, 2012, 10:02:00 AM »
Actually Forrest, I'm a pretty shy person myself.  Jesse was my first big celebrity so I don't know why I bombed so much the 2nd time with Mr. Rich .  I didn't really approach him conventionally like an obtrusive fan.   Jesse put me up to it...  ;D

Don't forget that you stayed at this celebrity's house for a couple weeks too!  ;D

I even got to tour the place where all the magic happens, the Mysterium too. 

Call me humble I guess, just didn't want to brag  ;D

Numina

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #96 on: December 09, 2012, 12:03:10 PM »
Judd - it was a pleasure to have you and your wife stay here. I'm sorry you weren't able to stay here in Denver. Hope you and your wife are doing well! Say hi from us.

fugasiyokonda

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #97 on: December 10, 2012, 03:04:23 PM »
What do you think are the most overrated ambient albums?  By this I mean albums that are put on a pedestal to near mythical status, but when you actually hear it you wonder what the big deal was about.

a myth is just that.

There is no best , just likes and dislikes which mean nothing really in truth.

drone on

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #98 on: December 10, 2012, 04:09:48 PM »
It's weird but not until recently, over the last few weeks, did I realize how great Roach's "Dreamtime Return" really is.  So I'd like to remove it officially from the status of "overrated" as I indicated earlier. 

Crepuscule

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Re: Overrated Ambient
« Reply #99 on: June 03, 2014, 07:07:04 PM »
I think anything by Robert Rich is overrated. I admit that he is technically very good and he knows his shits, but I don't know, I feel he is using the same formula over and over again, I don't feel a connection with his albums, maybe I just don't like steel guitars and PVC flutes.