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Author Topic: Ambient Thread  (Read 9333 times)
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Piety and Iron
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« on: October 11, 2013, 01:37:45 AM »

As my contribution to the forum as a new user I would like to introduce a topic as something I have a most familiar relationship with, and this is ambient.

(there may already exist similar thread. Let me know if there is one)

I wish to hear any good recommendations that I do not know about and thoughtful reflection on what are the boundaries of ambient music, which are the qualities of good ambient music and some other shared experiences with this type of music and attitude.

To start I will share two of my favourite releases from the genre with a few words.


IRRESISTIBLE FORCE - GLOBAL CHILLAGE (Rising High Records 1994)
http://www.discogs.com/Irresistible-Force-Global-Chillage/release/72142

This is one classic for me. Mix Master Morris aka Irresistable Force has a good foundation in the classic terminology of ambient music from the 70's and at this time was very close to the trance music genre's.

What is interesting about this album is the very rhythmical nature. This is not a drone oriented album but instead features very many complex layers of synthesizer rhythms in abstract patterns. It is something very complex and is clearly an extensive and careful labour.

I have this one on vinyl and the black sleeve has some old markings from certain white powders of the hedonistic days of my youth. It is a good reminder of times of being obsessed with vinyl buying and is the kind of record that is perfect for vinyl. One long piece on each side and the repetitions of patterns over and over again create a hypnotic feel with the spinning of the classic Rising High Records logo in the centre disc.



Pete Namlook and Dr Atmo - Silence (Rising High Records) 1993
http://www.discogs.com/Silence-Silence/release/100571

Another classic from Rising High Label. This label was a big thing for me in appreciating aesthetic of a good vinyl release and classic obsession with the well designed record label logo. Sadly Pete Namlook has passed away now and I had a very deep feeling of sadness for he brought a very special landscape in his music to the world and he was very prolific in self managing his music and its distribution.

The album is in a way not so special in its themes or motifs, it simply has the conciousness of a great ambient album and I listen to it often. There is a deep atmosphere and classic style synth lines and some ethnic feel and instrumentation. A very deep trip that can be absorbed over and over again.

But for me good ambient music is not about attention grabbing or "musicianship" in the classic sense. I feel that it is about listening and discovering unique properties of sound and them sharing these in compositions that do not become too full with the authors own presence. This is a great example. And the artwork is perfect. A beautiful and deep abstract painting.

EDIT:   Former thread here regarding Pete Namlook
http://www.special-interests.net/forum/index.php?topic=2857.0
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 01:44:03 PM by Piety and Iron » Logged
Zeno Marx
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2013, 04:34:41 AM »

http://www.special-interests.net/forum/index.php?topic=3760.0

http://www.special-interests.net/forum/index.php?topic=283.0

These have acted as the ambient threads here.
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Piety and Iron
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2013, 10:42:03 AM »

These have acted as the ambient threads here.

Thank you very much for pointing these out, good reading for me here in these previous threads.

I will leave this topic open as it is if anyone wants to pick up on it. I think that leaving open a straight ambient topic could still be something people want to contribute to as it leaves open room for discussion of early 1970's work as well as other possibilities for ambient outside of and incorporating both an industrial and drone context.

Lets see what happens, if no one picks up the thread that's OK.
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dmkerr
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2013, 04:10:07 PM »

Artists that (for me) stop well short of the point where ambient turns into new age:

Lull (particularly Cold Summer)
Hafler Trio
Anakrid
Organum
Voice of Eye
Nurse with wound's "Salt Marie Celeste" and "Soliloquy for Lilith"
And a classical piece that would be called "minimalism" but fits this category for me, Morton Feldman's "Piano and String Quartet".

Just the ones off the top of my head.

Good ambient can serve two purposes - being excellent background music that is not intrusive (this one is not easy for me, as I tend to get drawn in) and music that is compelling in its outward simplicity and inner complexity.  This compelling nature is, for me, due to the nuances that I know are coming and that eventually arrive.  It requires some patience to get to its core but the nice part of it is that the journey is just as rewarding as the destination.
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Piety and Iron
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2013, 01:17:44 PM »


Lull (particularly Cold Summer)
Hafler Trio
Anakrid
Organum
Voice of Eye
Nurse with wound's "Salt Marie Celeste" and "Soliloquy for Lilith"
And a classical piece that would be called "minimalism" but fits this category for me, Morton Feldman's "Piano and String Quartet".

Just the ones off the top of my head.

Lots of these I am not familiar with. Will start to dig and see what I can find.
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Piety and Iron
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2013, 01:29:39 PM »

music that is compelling in its outward simplicity and inner complexity.  

Yeah this is what gets me about good ambient, Somehow I find the simpler the more I want to stop and intrigue over the qualities and nuances of the sound.


TR Kirstein and Jacob Kirkegaard: Imperia LP (Posh Isolation)

This one is a great new example, its definitely in the sound art realm and moody. But it is beautifully precise in its resonant vibrations and so sparse that it surprises you when the occasional incidental sound does drop in.

This recording is massive food for the imagination. The sleeve is plain, no images and the sound is so deep, wide and sparse yet my mind was full of the most intricate images of looming industrial structures and rust and abandonment, rubble and empty doorways of the location that this LP was recorded at. Recorded on location at out of commission power station.



A very high quality release.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 01:39:33 PM by Piety and Iron » Logged
dmkerr
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2013, 02:44:37 PM »

music that is compelling in its outward simplicity and inner complexity.  

the sound is so deep, wide and sparse yet my mind was full of the most intricate images

That's what "Salt Marie Celeste" does for me.  It helps to know the story of the abandoned ship, The Mary Celeste.  As I wrote somewhere else, there is a feeling of inner desperation amidst the outward calm.  Brings up all kinds of images in a piece with two droning repetitive chords and just a few loops thrown in at various times. 
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JK-blodrode
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2013, 12:55:55 AM »

Aidan Baker & A-Sun Amissa ‎– Scarpe Sensée, is the latest new ambient album which i really enjoyed. very atmospheric stuff
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Potier
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2013, 11:20:43 AM »

So much great ambient & soundscape material out there...

Just want to recommend a few acts that I have enjoyed throughout the last few years:

Pholde - Alan Bloor of Knurl-Fame...beautiful ambient and drone-scapes that are largely built on his extensive use of metal sculptures...basically a very composed approach, very restrained, beautifully composed textural work - like a very light version of the density known from his Knurl moniker.

Dale Lloyd - great material on Mystery Sea Label, also on and/OAR...often branching out into more experimental stuff & field recodings

Mathieu Ruhlmann - great sense of composition, often drifting into very dense material, borderline drone and beyond, best works probably on Somne Recordings, taâlem, Afe Records

Celer - very extensive discography, only heard very few releases, maybe look into the releases on and/OAR and Home Normal

Asher Thal-Nir - do yourselves a favor and try to track down the releases on CONV & Sourdine!

Essentially all the labels I have listed have released amazing underrated ambient-stuff...

One more:

Loscil - branches out a lot into Minimal/IDM when it comes to most of the earlier stuff on Kranky...most recent thing I've heard is Endless Falls on Kranky (2010) - definitely worth a listen.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2013, 11:28:36 AM by Potier » Logged

P-K
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2013, 01:48:03 AM »

i'm spamming the good old Reload Ambient again...sublabel of a big & defunct techno/trance/acid-label from Belgium on wich some artists released their more experimental work :
http://www.discogs.com/label/Re-load+Ambient
http://youtu.be/eOkezT1OABs
http://youtu.be/9X4RG8BgX-E
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Zeno Marx
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« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2013, 09:21:23 PM »

TR Kirstein and Jacob Kirkegaard: Imperia LP (Posh Isolation)
Initially, it reminded me of something the great John Hudak would do.  Then, a couple days later, it occurred to me it was also Niblockian.
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I only buy vinyl, d00ds.
SKY BURIAL
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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 05:34:18 AM »

The FAX label: http://www.2350.org/project/
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jesusfaggotchrist
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2013, 10:14:57 PM »

I've known the Helixes collective for while, never delved into I.corax for some reason. They seem a lot less ritual and devotional/drone than other Helixes projects like Halo Manash and Arktau Eos
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Zeno Marx
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2022, 08:17:45 PM »

the new Mick Harris Lull album is very good.

https://coldspring.bandcamp.com/album/that-space-somewhere-csr321cd
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impulse manslaughter
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2022, 08:30:17 PM »

Some ambient that has been on my turntable lately;
Hiroshi Yoshimura
Satoshi Ashikawa
Rafael Anton Irisarri
Enno Velthuys
Stars Of The Lid
Wanderwelle
Pjusk
Loscil
« Last Edit: December 04, 2022, 12:56:34 AM by impulse manslaughter » Logged
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