suspended

Well-known member
I am saying a lot of obvious things here but what I am trying to gesture at is a proof that when we talk about what ambient we like we are talking about what mood we would like to inhabit. And this is the sort of thing that cannot be argued over. It is like "worldview" or "cultural system." It is not falsifiable. It is an orientation. We can say rain is good for crops, but we cannot talk someone out of disliking rain.
 

suspended

Well-known member
What I do think we can do is map the relationship between formal properties and mood. We can say, ah yes, rain occurs when enough evaporation builds up on clouds and reaches a certain level of saturation. (I am not sure how rain works.) We can learn to forecast and dress appropriately in our slicker or wool pantaloons when we sit down to listen.
 

suspended

Well-known member
The problem with existing taxonomies, such as that which Droid has laid out, is that while they are useful from a music historical perspective, they are not a system of categorizing the weather, or the "vibe" that different planets give us. They are akin to a taxonomy of planets which goes, "These planets were made by the Urxan-5 civ between 14000kya and 10000kya. These planets were formed by collisions within the Nublagenesis belt." They are fine as far as establishing reference, if you know your history of the Urxans. And yet do we really understand anything about these planets habitability? The composition of their atmosphere? Is their air breathable?

My contention is that when we talk about art, as good Deweyans, what matters is whether the air is breathable, and/or what kind of toxic the atmosphere is. Thirdform, for instance, is a rare sort of creature who can only live off air that is fatal to most mammals.
 

suspended

Well-known member
I am unsure whether other music genres are any better mapped, but insofar as I am interested in a cartography of cognitive moments, a phenomenological approach to music as meaning, this is what I want.

The problem, or my fear, is that it also requires a taxonomy of people.
 

thirdform

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

no no no no no no no.

This is Eno's reactionary capitulation!

More Oliveros, please. Ambient as deep listening.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
ambient envelops to the extent that it cannot be treated as strictly music but a form of experimental psychoacoustic research. And in that sense, it is total immersion.

The suggestive stuff is bland, uninteresting, unimportant, of no quantifiable aesthetic merit whatever. This is not even a personal judgment. A background sound which has no quality to impose cannot be judged aesthetically.
 

suspended

Well-known member
Any part of ambience that becomes foreground is no longer ambient by definition. I don't make the rules. This is what words mean.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
Any part of ambience that becomes foreground is no longer ambient by definition. I don't make the rules. This is what words mean.

actually a definition of ambient is also that which completely envelops. One which eno has strenuously sought to deny in his quest for his stalinist regimentation of all social life. Might as well have potty ambient for defecating by his
definition.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
I like Pauline Oliveros plenty. I wouldn't call her stuff ambient.

great. so why couldn't a free jazz cocophony at low volume be ambient, per your definition. I'm currently listening to some weird horror japanese sound track on intergalactic.fm at reduced volume. Why doesn't it count as ambient, despite the feverish brass and clanging sounds? It's very quiet.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
hell a lot of john barry osts could be considered ambient when played extremely quietly, unintrusively. Yet one would not call Barry an ambient composer because he was anything but.

That's the issue with trying to impute vibe to ambient. because it lacks the collective ritual aspects of vibe musics and scenes which traffic in vibe migration, anything and everything can become ambient given the right conditions. even happy hardcore or power metal.
 

suspended

Well-known member
One axis might be the presence of concrete reference, the evocation of known world parts through bells, buzzes, beeps, hisses, whistles

One axis might be habitability. There are Hudson river school paintings and then there is Guernica
 
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suspended

Well-known member
There is the claustrophobia to agoraphobia spectrum. Very spatial metaphor

There is optimism pessimism sunshine clouds, very meteorological metaphor
 

suspended

Well-known member
How overgrown vs barren is the landscape

Do you have to beat through the thickly interwoven jungle vines or can you see for miles. What is the visibility like. How easy is it to advance through space. How easily could you notice a rider at a distance?

Rainforest vs desert is partially related to habitability but not in a linear way. (Think Hudson Valley) There's always a Goldilocks zone that lies between any two extremes, by definition, which is related to Pareto frontier stuff
 

suspended

Well-known member
How much does the landscape care about you. Is it indifferent. Is it hostile

What sort of spirits inhabit this land. What are their memories. What are selection forces that made the landscape this way
 
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