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 Forum index » Discussion » Composition
Can ambient music contain beats?
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Can ambient music have beats
Yes
97%
 97%  [ 34 ]
No
2%
 2%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 35

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opg



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm sure you would be able to put beats in an "ambient" song. But of course, there are serious repercussions (no pun intended) for this. First of all, you will receive a visit from the Ambient Music Police. They will give you a citation for unorderly conduct. If you do not alter the song to comply with their regulations, you will be fined $10 for every percussive "beat" that is included in the "ambient" work. Failure to do so within a given time frame will result in incarceration in Ambient Prison, where inmates are forced to listen to MIDI versions of highly formulaic and overplayed oldies pop music, like "The Hop" and "Chapel of Love" 23 hours a day.
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paul e.



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

can rythmic music contain ambience... ?...i would say yes...and vice versa
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jkn



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

opg wrote:
Ambient Prison, where inmates are forced to listen to MIDI versions of highly formulaic and overplayed oldies pop music, like "The Hop" and "Chapel of Love" 23 hours a day.


Reminds me of the classic "Far Side" with John Coltrane in hell - forced to listen to New Age music for eternity...
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orczy



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i'd sign up for the Ambient Police. i'm not sure the pay would be great, but it would be rewarding.
I think the Larson cartoon was Charlie Parker. It would've made more sense if it was Coltrane, although he did get a bit "cosmic" toward the end there.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"Ambient-police is looking through my folders, ambient-police is talking to my niece...."

Hmm, doesn´t quite have the same ring, does it?

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Bad ambience killed JFK?
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So what is ambient, if we actively try to ignore Brian Eno?
I am watching the Zoetrope DVD with Brian`s ( that would be Lustmord Williams) soundtrack. magnificent stuff. I know this is supposed to be ambient of some sorts, but to me this is a huge orchestral work. OK, so if Prokofiev and Mahler are ambient artists..well.. but I think not

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

At times I think Wagner's music has an ambient quality.

What you say about Brian Eno rings true to me. He didn't invent this music style, but maybe he was the one to associate the word ambient to it. Is it safe to say that?

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If you read the quote I posted earlier here somewhere, that is the connection between ambient and music. He didn?t invent the music we today call "ambient music" and similar sounding stuff existed before Eno released that LP. His records are nice anyway. Solid stuff.
Zoetrope by Lustmord is something else. THis is ",modern" ambient music.. those who know their ambient music are calling it dark ambient. However, what I hear when I listen to Zoetrope is a late modernist orchstral work. Shocked

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
At times I think Wagner's music has an ambient quality.



Great! Very Happy Tell me more. What is that ambient quality?

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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

In the operas of the Ring, there are times where the orchestra plays long chromatic textures that just set a mood There are orchertral interludes where there is no singing, often when someone goes away or there is a big change of scene.. I don't remember them well enough to say act II in Triste or anything like that, but if you've listened to these operas, I think you'll know what I'm talking about.

We have been using a very broad definition of ambient in this thread, but if Eno was indeed the first to use the term, then perhaps a more narrow definition is appropriate. If the music he calls ambient has no beats, then maybe beats are verboden. My point is: maybe it's stretching it to call Satie and Wagner ambient music. Maybe there is a larger term that includes all of this, and other stuff as will. Any idea what that word might be?

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orczy



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I know what you are getting at here Mosc. In Tristan in particular, there are purely orchestral parts that have the same effect as an ambient piece; they set the tone for the next action, or get the audience to reflect on the full impact of what has just happened. The Ring has bits of these everywhere. I am more comfortable regarding these as ambient than beat driven material. I am trying to think of a section in particular, and the one that keeps coming into my head is the prelude to Act iii of Tristan; after the heavy start, and before the solo cor anglais, things get VERY atmospheric and floaty. Good old Wagner: horrible man, beautiful music. I wonder if this works the other way? Laughing
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Ponk



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Those liner notes of Discreet Music made me think... (No, really. I do think sometimes.)

Brian Eno wrote:
This presented what was for me a new way of hearing music - as part of the environment just as the colour of the light and the sound of the rain were parts of that ambience. It is for this reason I suggest listening to the piece at comparatively low levels, even to the extent that it frequently falls below the threshold of audibility.


So, calling some music ambient depends on how you listen to it. If the music is part of the ambience, it is ambient. Simple as that. That would mean, though, that White Zombie could be called ambient, if listened to on low volume so that some of it becomes inaudible. But that's not my problem. It's the music journalists' job to come up with all of these genres and try not to stretch them too much.

Words and concepts get their meanings in the minds of people who use them. That's why "ambient" can't be described on anything but personal level. I would say ambient music is something that can be used as ambience. So, beats are OK, if they don't spoil that effect.

Of course, to be honest, the term ambient makes me think of slow-moving, usually beautiful and relaxed (though sometimes haunting) music and not White Zombie. But it's great fun to mutilate the definitions of different genres beyond recognisition.
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orczy



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Another thing Eno said was that upon going to a Slayer concert, he realised that after a few songs, the volume, the tones, the pace all took on an equivalent of ambient, the listener being completely submerged in the sound.
I would love to go to a Slayer concert with Eno!
When I started this thread, I was thinking of a quote by Eno where he said he didn't understand the new "ambient" with beats. I can't find it anywhere, which is very annoying, but on hunting for it, I found a later article in which he says he is loving ambient house. He is a tricky man!
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jkn



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mustel wrote:
i'd sign up for the Ambient Police. i'm not sure the pay would be great, but it would be rewarding.
I think the Larson cartoon was Charlie Parker. It would've made more sense if it was Coltrane, although he did get a bit "cosmic" toward the end there.


I think you're right on that... been a good decade or more since I'd seen it... Smile

This has been an interesting thread. I don't know what the larger umbrella term would be (mosc mentioned this a few posts up) - regardless - I like the stuff - the vast majority of the albums I've bought in the last 5 or 8 years or so have been somewhat 'ambientish' to one degree or another.

Lustmord is usually pegged as dark ambient (although I don't find it all that dark)- I agree with ya elektro... good stuff.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The term Ambient implies in the background - something that is easilly ignored, or at least not intended for serious listening as is concert music. I know that this isn't always the case, but tell someone not into the art form that you compose ambient music and they aren't going to be enthusiastic. I prefer the term soundscapes. I think the implication is similar to the landscapes painted by visual artists. These are considered art of the most serious quality, unlike wallpaper.

Can soundscapes contain beats? Certainly.

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Ponk



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't think that music becomes somehow worse, if it's not listened to with a great deal of attention. That is just a different kind of important music. I think wallpapers should be considered serious art. Very Happy

But I like the term soundscapes as well, if we are trying to describe what that certain kind of music sounds like and not discuss about how it is used. As I said earlier, the term ambient can be stretched so that it doesn't tell anything about the music but only about the situation in which it's listened to.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ponk wrote:
I don't think that music becomes somehow worse, if it's not listened to with a great deal of attention. That is just a different kind of important music. I think wallpapers should be considered serious art. Very Happy


Yes, I agree. I'm not putting down this music at all, or the way it is listened to. Bringing up the word Soundscapes is OT anyway. Besides, the name is associated with R. Murray Schafer, so what it means is in the realm of his definition. See we need another word anyway. Laughing

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jkn



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
The term Ambient implies in the background - something that is easilly ignored, or at least not intended for serious listening as is concert music. I know that this isn't always the case, but tell someone not into the art form that you compose ambient music and they aren't going to be enthusiastic. I prefer the term soundscapes. I think the implication is similar to the landscapes painted by visual artists. These are considered art of the most serious quality, unlike wallpaper.

Can soundscapes contain beats? Certainly.


Soundscapes... oddly I just posted today to the 'sound creation philosophy' thread and tossed in the sound sculpting thing.

If I'm talking to someone who doesn't know the more niche forms of music - I usually pull out the old stand-by description of "I write music for movies that haven't been made..." or something similar to that. Which describes fairly well the backgroundish sort of music that I write - it can either be distant and faint or loud and driving the action of the imaginary movie forward. Experimental, electronic, typical, acoustic. It all works.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Some of the finest movies never seen... Wink

That's great way to describe your music.

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Ponk



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Some more of that OT shite: Robert Fripp uses the term soundscapes as well. And his solo material sounds quite a bit like Eno's.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

At least within popular music (ie-radio play), where beats are very regular, I've always seen "the beat" in terms of the carrier in a radio signal. The beat provides the connection between the musician(s) and the audience. Then I see the harmony as a connection between the carrier and the melody, with the melody as the final "messege". It doesn't work with all songs, but it's pretty consistent for me, so I apply it to most other music anyway.

The thing I like about "ambient" music, and it's typical lack of the beat, is that I find myself locking onto various parts of the music, somewhat like an FM radio tries to lock on to the strongest signal. This has a lot to do with my emotion at the moment. In the end, I find listening to an ambient song sounds very different every time I listen to it. So most of the time, the lack of beat/carrier, and my finding a new one sporadically, tends to make my brain go on auto-pilot, usually day dreaming, and usually very vividly. I think that's the end result I like so much about ambient music...I "get" the movie in my head almost every time.

So as long as a "beat" either helps or doesn't hinder my decent into auto-pilot mode and getting the movie, I like it.
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metamartyr



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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2005 8:32 pm    Post subject: Yes. Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think ambient music can be as ambient as ever with a beat, so long as the beat is subtle enough that it flows with the rest of song.

You can listen to this remix of Warwick I did for an example (once I can be bothered uploading it Razz).


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astroid power-up!



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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ambient music these days, as a genre, is a total crap shoot, and it seems like electronic musicians sometimes call their music ambient so as to avoid calling it anything else which could be potentially embarrassing. is this better or worse than over-genrification? who knows.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

astroid power-up! wrote:
ambient music these days, as a genre, is a total crap shoot, and it seems like electronic musicians sometimes call their music ambient so as to avoid calling it anything else which could be potentially embarrassing. is this better or worse than over-genrification? who knows.


Yes, that´s definately going on and quite sad. Luckily words like "atmospheric", "soundscape" and "vignette" are still open....

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