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The Ambient Thread
Old 3rd August 2015
  #1
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D_Davis's Avatar
 

The Ambient Thread

A thread for all things Ambient in nature.

Post your questions.

Post your answers.

Post your techniques.

Post your music.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #2
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blinky909's Avatar
i take two synths and a reverb, then what

what is the definition of ambient? is a 101 1/16th note line played at 120 bpm run thru a massive reverb ambient?
Old 3rd August 2015
  #3
Here for the gear
I'm not sure what techniques most people are using, but this has always worked for me:

Step 1: Give my 4 year old a Thermini

Step 2: Give my 3 year old a memory man wired in series with the Theremini

Step 3: ???????

Step 4: Profit.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #4
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blinky909's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by swb311 View Post
I'm not sure what techniques most people are using, but this has always worked for me:

Step 1: Give my 4 year old a Thermini

Step 2: Give my 3 year old a memory man wired in series with the Theremini

Step 3: ???????

Step 4: Profit.
step 3: press record, leave the room
Old 3rd August 2015
  #5
I struggle with ambient. I always want to compose with more traditional song structure...even tho I'm into this style because I'm no songwriter ...and that's just the half of it. It seems as though ambient is a-rhythmic, and most of my stuff is heavily rhythm influenced. Here's a sample- https://soundcloud.com/ttvw1/carolina-bound
How far off the mark am I?
Old 3rd August 2015
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinky909 View Post
i take two synths and a reverb, then what

what is the definition of ambient? is a 101 1/16th note line played at 120 bpm run thru a massive reverb ambient?
It takes you two synths and reverb to make ambient? Noob.



I always liked Eno's definition: music that is as interesting as it is ignorable.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #7
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Old 3rd August 2015
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I struggle with ambient. I always want to compose with more traditional song structure...even tho I'm into this style because I'm no songwriter ...and that's just the half of it. It seems as though ambient is a-rhythmic, and most of my stuff is heavily rhythm influenced. Here's a sample- https://soundcloud.com/ttvw1/carolina-bound
How far off the mark am I?
I think that definitely has ambient qualities - world-ambient.

I like to think of ambient music as music without edges and boundaries.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #9
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Old 3rd August 2015
  #10
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Great thread!

Some questions:

1. Learning music theory, useful or not useful at all in the ambient genre?

2. How do you get your ''own voice'' from the endless sea of drones and other samey-samey ambient artists?

3. What do you use for your rhythmic section? (Drum Machines, Sequencers)

4. Do you make any money from ambient?
Old 3rd August 2015
  #11
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syntonica's Avatar
I'm just gonna open this thread up and go do something else for a bit...
Old 3rd August 2015
  #12
Some nice minutes there D_Davis … Everything else stopped by itself listening ; thanks man for sharing



PEACE


MORDICUS
Old 3rd August 2015
  #13
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I love ambient soundscapes. I wish I was better at playing stuff like that. I always end up making something similar to something I've already made before... kind of expected after 10 years of doing this.

The Prophet 12 videos you made really made me consider the Prophet 12 again. Until I saw that video you made, I really thought the 12 sounded like ****.

I'm not sure if learning theory will help me much with ambient. I have a basic understanding of theory, but I don't practice piano at all, although I stumble on cool chords now and then. I do everything by ear basically, which I always end up playing all the white keys because they just sound better to me than any other scale. Maybe I need to start learning more theory. So many things to learn and not enough time dammit.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soothing Sound View Post
Great thread!

Some questions:

1. Learning music theory, useful or not useful at all in the ambient genre?

2. How do you get your ''own voice'' from the endless sea of drones and other samey-samey ambient artists?

3. What do you use for your rhythmic section? (Drum Machines, Sequencers)

4. Do you make any money from ambient?
1. I think it's important. With ambient, less is more, and so each note/chord/passage chosen really does need to be the most optimum, and so knowing more about theory helps in making crucial decisions.

2. I don't see having a unique voice as being as important as simply adding to the overall canon.

3. All kinds of things can be used for rhythm. Lately I've been using sampled FM radio static on the OP-1, sequences on the Korg Radias, and drum synthesis on the Analog Keys.

4. I don't make any money. I've written and released over 30 albums, and made about $500. And it's not that my music sucks. I've had people tell me they like my music as much as Eno's, Namlook's, etc. I'd love to make some money, but there is so much fee ambient out there, that it's hard. The best way is to license ambient music to commercials, libraries, games, etc., but I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. No disrespect for those artists who do, but I want my music to stand alone as it is.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by That Other Guy View Post
I love ambient soundscapes. I wish I was better at playing stuff like that. I always end up making something similar to something I've already made before... kind of expected after 10 years of doing this.
I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Sometimes I view all of the ambient compositions in the world as being part of the same uber-composition. You know, when I put one of my ambient playlists, I don't really want one particular track to stand out too much. So while there is room for different and unique things, I think it is necessary for there to be a narrow passage.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #16
This was my first attempt at "Glacially Slow" ambient awhile back... just a Guitar, an Ebow and the Strymon blueSky and Empress Effects SuperDelay pedals (and a cymbal thrown in there at one point as well.)




Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
<snip>I don't make any money. I've written and released over 30 albums, and made about $500. And it's not that my music sucks. I've had people tell me they like my music as much as Eno's, Namlook's, etc. <snip>
I bought your "Escalator" album awhile back. It is that good!
Old 3rd August 2015
  #17
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Really nice.

Have we "talked" before via email?
Old 3rd August 2015
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
Really nice.

Have we "talked" before via email?
We may have a couple of years ago...
Old 3rd August 2015
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
I think that definitely has ambient qualities - world-ambient.

I like to think of ambient music as music without edges and boundaries.

thanks D-Davis
so, am I correct in thinking movement of sound is where the focus should be; as opposed to traditional elements of rhythm & harmony?
Old 3rd August 2015
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genshi View Post
We may have a couple of years ago...
I think we exchanged messages after you purchased the Escalators album.

I recognized the genshi name.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
thanks D-Davis
so, am I correct in thinking movement of sound is where the focus should be; as opposed to traditional elements of rhythm & harmony?
I think that's one approach, although maybe not the only approach.

It is the approach that tends to work for me more than others, and the one that interests me more than others.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
I think we exchanged messages after you purchased the Escalators album.

I recognized the genshi name.
Yes. Also, as I check now, I didn't realize you had sent me a LinkedIn invitation a long while back... just accepted it!
Old 3rd August 2015
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syntonica View Post
I'm just gonna open this thread up and go do something else for a bit...
You might want to invest in the AS-606 Ambient Sequencer.

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/20...t-drone-music/
Old 3rd August 2015
  #24
Gear Addict
 

I really feel like ambient is a beast that slumbers, with a snore like a cave reverberating long lost memories.

I find it quite fun that ambient could be done with the simplest or most complex of any gear, like this one, made with a bass guitar and pedals:




And another one:




And for simplicity, even a microkorg:




And in case you happen to have a few guitars, then maybe cover Rhubarb by Aphex Twin:

Old 3rd August 2015
  #25
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Soothing Sound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
thanks D-Davis
so, am I correct in thinking movement of sound is where the focus should be; as opposed to traditional elements of rhythm & harmony?
While I appreciate some artists that use traditional ''music school'' elements, artists like Oophoi IMO bring this genre to another level so I question myself if using those ''music school'' elements are expanding or shrinking the music itself, TBH sometimes they feel like a crutch.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soothing Sound View Post
While I appreciate some artists that use traditional ''music school'' elements, artists like Oophoi IMO bring this genre to another level so I question myself if using those ''music school'' elements are expanding or shrinking the music itself, TBH sometimes they feel like a crutch.
The way I see it, or rather feel it, is that it's not bad to have some musical knowledge, but it shouldn't be the only defining factor.

In my opinion, if the sound itself is rather simple, then it wouldn't hurt to have some theory to make some good note progressions, but the most fun is when you just work with texture instead, where a single note can create an ocean sound by itself, even if it is a B flat held for an hour.

At least, that's what I feel.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #27
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Releaux's Avatar
Even when stripping things down, I think I still end up doing too much. This is probably the most recent thing I've got that's come close to ambient, and the Selected Ambient Works / Music for Airports influence is obvious.




Instead of two synths and a reverb, I'd say it's more likely one synth and three reverbs.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
I think that definitely has ambient qualities - world-ambient.

I like to think of ambient music as music without edges and boundaries.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soothing Sound View Post
While I appreciate some artists that use traditional ''music school'' elements, artists like Oophoi IMO bring this genre to another level so I question myself if using those ''music school'' elements are expanding or shrinking the music itself, TBH sometimes they feel like a crutch.

I get this.
With the non-traditional composers, not only does it consume the listener's attention to fully appreciate what's happening, it often can take real effort.
Old 3rd August 2015
  #29
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Cool Topic

So.. Who are some of the popular Ambient musicians these days ?

Thanks,
Muziksculp
Old 3rd August 2015
  #30
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by muziksculp View Post
popular Ambient musicians these days?
Are there such things?

as a side note, just picked up a mint first pressing LP of 'Eno - Ambient 4 - on land'. totally worth less than 1 beer at a bar. Grabbed that together with 'another green world' for $8
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