thirdform

Well-known member
i would never claim this stuff is an exact, fully settled science. for example, even though they're friends and on the same "side" in a sense, michel chion objects to bayle's concept of the i-sound:

Representation is more differentiated, sure. But if you listen to capture ephemer again, it sounds more like drum machine pulses and/or proto-glitch towards the end than it does birds flapping their wings.

So this can be relative. I'm not against the concept of representation or images, I just think when we try to talk about sound in a depersonalised sense, we have to talk about its immediately concrete dimensions. The way it envelops the environment, the manner in which it accelerates and decelerates. It's tessitura as you say. Eno's approach I don't find very helpful for this. It's very crude, empiricist late bourgeois gash. Listen! it's a geese honking, as if labour to record that sound can just be subtracted from the process.
 

mvuent

Void Dweller
I'm not against the concept of representation or images, I just think when we try to talk about sound in a depersonalised sense, we have to talk about its immediately concrete dimensions.
i feel similarly. that's like what i was telling luka here:
these two categories are very closely linked, so much so that i often lose track of which side i'm on. but my assumption was that talking in terms of formal characteristics would put us on somewhat less ambiguous, easier-to-agree-upon ground.
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
becasue all our co-ordinate points are derived from this. all our reference points, all our extremities are measured by this
from desert to rainforest pole to pole and all points in between. add the atmosphere and little fluffy clouds, forbidden planets and outer space and there you have it

so that would make Gaston Bachelard the first philosopher of ambient - "intimate immensity", "the poetics of space" etc etc
 

thirdform

Well-known member
so that would make Gaston Bachelard the first philosopher of ambient - "the intimacy of immensity", "the poetics of space" etc etc

god, how depressing. I want Hegelian cosmic unfolding. Not in the hippy dippy sense, but real vacuum music. lost in the void.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
but indeed if that is the case then that substantiates my contension that Chopin was the ambient composer par excellence.

God, imagine it. You live in Oscar Wild's time and you have to hear Dorian Gray constantly play Chopin for Lord Henry Watton and his guests.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
one of my favourite novels, mind. But the aristocrat is a Kantian blockhead, in the same way that De Sade was. A secularisation of the christian concepts of beautiful and sublime, just inverted.

If sodomy was not a crime of great immorality, then it would neither be beautiful nor revolting, as it were.
 

WashYourHands

Cat Malogen
Russian ans synth compilation introduced me to a composition that’s hung around a lot. Came out just before the millennium, last year of skag nods where Mr Buloshkin drifted sounds in like an embrace

B0A15A6A-FEE8-403F-ADAE-EC841F788633.jpeg

 

thirdform

Well-known member
anyone dare rehabilitate the hippy arpy end of this music? Rainbow dome musik, Future Sound of London after 1992, Cosmic Jokers, Emeralds... Banco de gaia? Or is that going a bit too far. Mixmaster Morris? Jose Padilla (def cannot hack him whatsoever!)

Go on then, let's actually challenge each other. Droid, step up to the podium.
 

shakahislop

Well-known member
i think probably a cartography of ambient should include post-2010ish ambient as something quite separate to what's discussed in this thread. i don't think its very similar to what came previously. what it sounds like to me is more or less everyone suddenly having access to computers powerful enough to make ambient music, rather than a handful of people with access to the processing power or who could be bothered to make tape loops etc. and then everyone exploring that new power. lets face it it is a piece of piss to make ambient stuff on the computer, with some guitar pedals (ie loopers) you can make it basically by accident. not necessarily good ambient stuff but generating a wash of sound isn't hard.

more than nature it all sounds like the inner workings of a computer to me
 

woops

is not like other people
i think probably a cartography of ambient should include post-2010ish ambient as something quite separate to what's discussed in this thread. i don't think its very similar to what came previously. what it sounds like to me is more or less everyone suddenly having access to computers powerful enough to make ambient music, rather than a handful of people with access to the processing power or who could be bothered to make tape loops etc. and then everyone exploring that new power. lets face it it is a piece of piss to make ambient stuff on the computer, with some guitar pedals (ie loopers) you can make it basically by accident. not necessarily good ambient stuff but generating a wash of sound isn't hard.

more than nature it all sounds like the inner workings of a computer to me
hmm also coinciding with the rise of noise / drone / any Moron could do this in same era
 

suspended

Well-known member
Ultimately I take the Deweyan stance on art as laid out in Art As Experience

To modernist aestheticians contemporaneous with Dewey—Clement Greenberg being the most conspicuous example—painting is pure materiality. It is all about the art object, emphasis on object.

Dewey's intervention is to say that the art lies not in the material object but the experience—temporal, phenomenal, cognitive—of interfacing with the work.

In that sense I think it is important to say that what we are ultimately mapping here is a cognitive landscape. And we can see this in e.g. the way that our brains interpret ambient sounds through a sociocultural schema of reputational baggage, connotation, association etc
 

suspended

Well-known member
Why do I bring any of this up? Because I think cognitive-perceptual concepts of attention, of foreground and background, are crucial to our concept of the ambient. And these are properties of perception, not the literal landscape itself. There is no concept of foreground and background without an observer, just as there is no concept of sunset or sunrise. (Just a perpetual revolution of planet around star.)
 

suspended

Well-known member
For instance, I am sitting in a coffeeshop right now trying to listen to various examples posted in this thread, and I can't, because there is blaring foreground oriented pop music that intrudes even through the earbuds
 

suspended

Well-known member
Ambient does not impose itself directly. It suggests. It manipulates by altering the background context of the actual, the possible, the plausible. It evokes a framework and passes this evocation off as fact. This is a wholly different means of manipulating minds than traditional pop, which captures and railroads attention
 

suspended

Well-known member
And yet, even as the sunset is a perspectival phenomenon, it can only practically occur if there is also, in addition to the observer, a planet and a star.

So the cognitive is provoked by something that exists beyond the cognitive.

The myth of formalism is not wrong so much as it is partial. It believes it can seek in techne, and within techne, that which exists really as the interaction between techne and culturated mind
 
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suspended

Well-known member
Now, I feel that the term which best captures the sense of background cognitive landscape is "mood."

Mood is, in my understanding, a response to figurative weather. Weather in the sense I have seen @luka use it, for instance—weather in the sense of forecast. Mood is represented classically in the modes of tragedy and comedy, because each represents an outlook: machinic doom vs all's well that ends well. Tragedy is deterministic. Comedy retains the role of chance and spontaneity. One is able to retain ones optimism in comedy because anything could happen. A sudden reversal in social structure—which, to social organisms, is akin to a change in the laws of physics—is one of comedy's central tropes, exemplified best in Shakespeare
 
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