Author Topic: What does this music do to you?  (Read 8120 times)

deepspace

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What does this music do to you?
« on: July 26, 2008, 06:01:03 PM »
Electronic/ambient music functions differently for me than any other type of music.  It accompanies me, and like a chameleon, the same piece will transform along with my moods.  This may sound whacky and drug-induced, but when I walk along listening to ambient on my ipod, it's almost as if I am re-seeing the world through a piece of coloured cellophane paper, or a kaleidoscope.  Certain albums will also bring me to the same place.  Mantram by Steve Roach is one that just takes me to such a distinct place, yet suits whatever mood i am in.  Ambient music really affects me, which probably explains why I listen to so much of it, and feel the need to create it as well.  What about you?  What does it do for you?  And is the feeling the same after years of listening.
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jim brenholts

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2008, 06:21:00 AM »
well stated, deepspace. there are lots of psychoacoustic and psychoactive cd's available that just transcend normal music. most of them - imo - are not among the cd's that are mentioned here most frequently. they are certainly not in the style favored on the forum either.
(all of this is in my opinion - and nothing humble about it!)
i am referring to artists like jonathan goldman, anugama, deborah van dyke, nawang khechog, xumantra and too many others to mention. they use instruments and techniques that involve overtones - usually bowls or chants. their stuff is deep and involved and - most often - not dark at all but enlightening and empowering. most think of it as new age but it is decidedly hypnotic.
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2008, 07:57:45 AM »
I remember asking a friend what he thought of Brian Eno's "Thursday Afternoon" (it had just come out and we both had a copy).  He replied "It kinda washes your brain".  I remember when I got my first copy of Fripp and Eno "No Pussyfooting".  It was completely new.  Where as any other type of music which claimed to be relaxing, this actually was.  I actually think that the realxing bit is not for every one.  I am the kind of person that does math puzzles to relax.  Relax, defined as escaping to a point where no outside thought interfer. 

Kraftwerk's "Autobahn" was significant album when it was released because there where many people that held an interest in new music, but that one took them to a level they didn't want to be.  My first stint in college, I lived in a dorm at FSU.  I could walk down hallways, smelling the smoke, and the differences were which rooms would be playing southern rock, which would be playing jazz fusion, and which was into electronic.  It is interesting how many different genres of electronic music, and even ambient music are available now.

jim brenholts:
Quote
i am referring to artists like jonathan goldman, anugama, deborah van dyke, nawang khechog, xumantra and too many others to mention. they use instruments and techniques that involve overtones - usually bowls or chants. their stuff is deep and involved and - most often - not dark at all but enlightening and empowering. most think of it as new age but it is decidedly hypnotic.

That chanting stuff is ok, but gets on my nerves after a while.  I attended some chant session one night with people getting into a mantra and if I don't know what they're saying, I don't join in.  Sounded like "oo-ee-oo-ah-ah, bing bang polly wolly bing bang" to me.
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Dave Michuda

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2008, 10:47:02 AM »
deepspace,  I know exactly what you mean.  I have music playing everywhere, almost all the time.  So much so that I'm now exploring ways of having one central music server play throughout my entire house.  Like you said, the music accompanies me through the day.  So a piece will have a different feel to it if I'm listening while going to sleep vs mowing the lawn vs stargazing vs taking the dog for a walk.

I remember listening to Yagya - Rhythm of Snow while walking & loving the way the sound & pacing of my footsteps on gravel worked with the subtle rhythm in the music.  Having music around me enhances what I'm doing.  The ambidubtechno mix the Allan posted in a thread in "Now Playing" will work well for walks but will also be great for floating in the lake with a beer(which I will be doing next month!).

Ambient music can make mundane tasks more bearable and make cool activities like stargazing even more special.  It can make me forget the real world or help me deal with whats going on in it.  It provides a soundtrack for reading the paper, folding laundry, cleaning the house, watching my son's baseball games, sitting on the deck with a frosty beverage, etc.

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2008, 06:54:49 AM »
Since I can't listen to music at work, most of my listening occurs in the car during longer drives and commuting. Despite the fact that with ambient or drone music, the music player must fight with the inheret road noise, I am always surprised by how well a certain track or piece can sort of 'remove' my subconscious from the real world and bring it into a place all it's own-while, at the same time, not distracting me so much that I am a danger to myself and others on the road! This is especially true while driving at night-when the lack of beating sunshine allows the eyes to relax...giving the ears a greater range of hearing...good times!

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2008, 12:06:59 PM »
After getting into this music, and listening to it for some time, I feel like it has enhanced my sense of hearing, and my awareness of the beauty of all sounds. It is amazing how the ambient listener's attuned ears will pick up on things and equate them with the strange sounds coming out of the stereo. For instance, if a plane is flying overhead, and it modulates with the sound of a truck in the distance, my ears get excited, and I feel like I'm listening to exquisite music. I feel this general awareness of sound is due in large part to listening to such obscure, adventurous music.

Of course, it is nice to listen to with a cool one to just completely chill and relax...

deepspace

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2008, 05:16:09 AM »
After getting into this music, and listening to it for some time, I feel like it has enhanced my sense of hearing, and my awareness of the beauty of all sounds. It is amazing how the ambient listener's attuned ears will pick up on things and equate them with the strange sounds coming out of the stereo. For instance, if a plane is flying overhead, and it modulates with the sound of a truck in the distance, my ears get excited, and I feel like I'm listening to exquisite music. I feel this general awareness of sound is due in large part to listening to such obscure, adventurous music.

YES!  I think ambient and other similar types of music force your awareness onto the beauty of the sound.   There is no typically western narrative to hold on to (gah, I don't like that sentence: it sounds as passe as saying "communism is good, in theory" at a dinner party, but it serves my point), and your imagination travels vertically instead of horizontally, if you know what I mean.  Instead of waiting for a sound at a predictable moment, you are forced to admire the sound in the exquisite moment.  This sort of forces you to listen differently, with no real expectation of an outcome.  I don't think many listeners or composers of ambient will be surprised at my statement, but it's really nice to find other listeners who actively seek out such music, and listen to music in such a way.  I always tell people that ambient music is private.  It's something you appreciate at your own pace, usually alone, often when not completely focussed on it.  Having said that, I do tend to focus on it a lot.  Maybe because I'm trying to get to the bottom of why it makes me feel the way it does.  :)


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Wayne Higgins

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2008, 09:32:13 AM »
I was thinking this the other day.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  People who listen to ambient music are the types of people that could walk into an art gallery not make it through in one day.  Spend long periods of time looking at certain works of art.

I don't think people who listen to ambient/electronic/minimalism/ect are smarter than anyone else, but I do believe we are capable of a deeper appriciation of art.

What does it do to me is the real question.  Frees my mind to dive into the atmosphere created.  Allows me the opportunity to actually hear what the musician is trying to present. 
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Bill Binkelman

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2008, 09:57:59 AM »

I don't think people who listen to ambient/electronic/minimalism/ect are smarter than anyone else, but I do believe we are capable of a deeper appriciation of art.



I respectfully disagree. ;D

« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 11:37:47 AM by Bill Binkelman »

APK

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2008, 10:37:37 AM »
"I do believe we are capable of a deeper appreciation of art."

Of course, Bill, you surely can't disagree that he believes this  ;)

You actually think his belief is wrong/misguided.

But the thesis is far from being easy to either prove ... OR disprove.
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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2008, 10:41:37 AM »
I believe that most serious fans of any art form or genre believe that people like them have a deeper and more serious understanding of art than "outsiders."

Same is true of fans of jazz music, abstract painting, surrealist poetry, glass sculpture, documentary film, etc.
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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2008, 11:06:44 AM »
Hard to make generalizations; I definitely don't fit the mold.  Art galleries bore the hell out of me; I'd rather be outside.   ;D

For me, music is very mood-dependent.  Sometimes a piece of music just sounds so flat and dull one day, and vibrant and deep the next when I'm in the proper frame of mind.  Ambient music definitely works well as a backdrop to whatever I'm doing, and enhances the experience; not like a filter on a lens, which implies that it somehow "filters out" parts of the experience:  more like a colored lamp shining on the world, adding to the vibrancy of the colors. 

Then again, some days I just can't listen to anything, and prefer silence, especially when up in the mountains or out at sea.  But even then, I think my enjoyment of the silence is a result of my 'training' while listening to deep forms of music, being able to really appreciate "the silence between the notes."
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Bill Binkelman

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2008, 11:39:11 AM »
"I do believe we are capable of a deeper appreciation of art."

Of course, Bill, you surely can't disagree that he believes this  ;)

You actually think his belief is wrong/misguided.

But the thesis is far from being easy to either prove ... OR disprove.


Got me there, APK. :o

I misstated my opposition to his opinion. My opinion is not aligned with his.  ;)

9dragons

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2008, 12:34:00 PM »
Instead of waiting for a sound at a predictable moment, you are forced to admire the sound in the exquisite moment.  This sort of forces you to listen differently, with no real expectation of an outcome.

I certainly feel like listening to ambient music has trained my ears up in an intense way. If I can get into listening to the whir of a ventilator deep in the walls, (or in fact right now, the humming sound of a brisk wind outside with the tack of a hammer drifting into it from below), I think I can attribute that to the "training" (as Sundummy so aptly described) that I've received from prolonged interest in this music. I do think it is valid to assume that listening to this music might attune the avid listener to phenomena not otherwise noted by the general populace. That is not necessarily a fact, but a likelihood. Just as watching way too much TV might lead to a short attention span, due to all the fast moving images. Everything we do trains our minds in a certain way. Ambient does force one to experience art in a different way; personally, it has increased my own attention span, and way of experiencing art. I actually use it when I create my own art, to get me in the proper meditative mood to go deep into the piece and cut loose into my own rhythm. I have a harder time listening to rock when I do this (though I do listen to certain bands that have an "ambient" flair) because it forces me into a certain mind rhythm that may be too jarring for my method of art creation. Your comparison of ambient to a more Eastern style sensibility is quite apt. The two main elements of my music collection are actually ambient music and Asian music (guqin, gamelan, gagaku, shakuhachi, koto, zheng, pipa, oud, sitar...etc.) and I think this is because the sensibilities between these two are similar, or at least tending in a parallel direction. At first when I started getting into music like gamelan, I felt that it sounded like ambient. Now I see the influence for what it is, meaning the other way around. The ambient practitioners are taking Western music back into the awareness of pure sound in the moment, kind of like a zen ideal, or a general awareness of music taken out of linear thinking modes. Total music.

So the next time I am spacing out on some weird sound that no one seems to be noticing let alone enjoying, I will think about this conversation...


Wayne Higgins

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2008, 03:00:27 PM »
Actually, I believe that I am the smartest being on earth, because I listen to myself.
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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2008, 04:29:34 PM »
The ambient practitioners are taking Western music back into the awareness of pure sound in the moment, kind of like a zen ideal, or a general awareness of music taken out of linear thinking modes.

A nice observation.  I feel that some of my most inspired work comes from creating "in the moment" via improvisation, though, more times than not, I'm tempted to shape my improvs into a more seemingly structured form.  Strangely, I'm not always aware that I'm creating something sonically interesting until after I have left it for a while.

...and I'm with Bill.  There is a danger of becoming too smug and insular about the subjective perception of art.

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Bill Binkelman

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2008, 05:15:35 PM »
Actually, I believe that I am the smartest being on earth, because I listen to myself.

I got ya beat. I talk to myself because then at least someone listens to me!  ;D

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2008, 09:30:00 PM »
Ambient music has a meditative effect on me but I don't listen to it that much these days. When I do I tend to analyze it, actually taking count of how many different sounds are going, how they evolve, how often they repeat, left brain stuff. Also the type of sounds, analog or VA, FM, sampled/real, the curse of being a musician/composer(at least I don't see notes on staffs before my eyes). :D

I have to admit a deeper appreciation for art now because of ambient, you get more of the "suchness" of it surreal or otherwise, and the night sky as well.

I don't have any portable listening devices and usually listen to ambient music for an hour or so but not every day, I might double that two or three times per month although that may increase if I'm creating it.  I'm a diverse listener so it has to take its place along side other genres and talk radio, I don't watch the tube, well except for YouTube.  8)

Ambient isn't just for technicians!

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deepspace

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2008, 11:23:35 PM »
9 dragons, I like your thinking: I also like the analogy of ambient music being like a lamp.  Quite possibly a lava lamp too. :)

Speaking of ambient sounds, I was buying some meat at a deli the other day, and there was this utterly beautiful chord coming from the fridge behind the counter- it was a major 9 chord, with some other overtones, and it had this soft 'bluish' pad sound.  I must have had this stupid smile on my face, as I walked around noting where the sound started and stopped.  Would have love to have recorded that.  It was the sort of sound that would have been very difficult to create, as it was so large, yet so soft sounding.  It must have been the deli freezer chugging away.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 11:30:15 PM by deepspace »
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: What does this music do to you?
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2008, 08:32:54 AM »
Good one, Mirko.  I thought I was the only one that got into things like the sound of my electric razor, ect.  I live in a forest.  The bugs are amazing at night, the birds are beautiful in the morning.
I used to have a 1975 Chevy Impala with a great sounding turn signal.  I knew a few musicians that ride around with me just to hear it.

BTW, previous comment explinations.  I had this short, futile argument with someone on another board that said that people who listen to minimallism are smarter than people who didn't.  He also said that Asians were smarter than caucasions who were all smarter than Africans (my politically correct version) and that men were smarter than women and that superior races should take control, ect.  You can imagine how such a post would rustle my feathers, the whole facism/eugenetics thing really gets to me.  ANyway...  I really do not think that anyone culture produces superior art than another, that primitive art is what it is due to the primitive society it comes from.  (I did an extensive study on cave paintings years ago.)  I just feel that in todays american society of brainwashed television addicts that those of us who would rather sit around and listen to Eno or Deepspace or Vir Unis or Interstitial would possibly get more out of a painting by Albert Masson than someone who watches The Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune, American Idol, ect.

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