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Is it time for a 5 minute song standard for ambient music? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 17th April 2018
  #31
Well, looked through my fav ambient tracks from years past and can't find a single one that's close to 5 minutes. A few are quite a bit shorter, most are 8-22 minutes. Granted, it's frightfully easy to make 22 minutes of mindless drivel (ie latched chord and generic factory patch on a poly evolver and the dreaded slow "filter sweep"), but "in the hands of a good artist" time should be no limit...
Old 17th April 2018
  #32
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choond's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NEXUS-6 View Post
After awhile it's just a self indulgent jerk off session...
Make your point say it & move on you're not that special Really. No one wants to hear your hour & half concept *song*.
I feel so hurtz.............my pet said it was ok in pet language (ie didn't dump on my monitors and leave)

:(
Old 17th April 2018
  #33
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
hah...5 mins psychedelic time is about a nano second..
Well I love a good long ambient track when I’m tripping balls. This is the one I run through PaulStretch after some shroom caps and dabs:

Old 17th April 2018
  #34
I was at an experimental electronics night yesterday and had a long conversation with a friend about this very topic, since one "ambient shoegaze" group played a completely boring set for 30-minutes without ever changing key or doing anything surprising, and someone else did a 25-minute harsh noise set.

If you are going to make something over 5-minutes long, there better be a good reason. Simply having some cool effects pedals and in interest in drone and texture is not enough. There needs to be structure and form: a beginning, a middle and an end. And then within that beginning section, a smaller, sub-form. Dynamics are your friend.

As for harsh noise, there used to be an unwritten rule of 3-10 minute sets. You better have a VERY good reason for going longer than 10 minutes in that world.
Old 17th April 2018
  #35
Gear Maniac
 

TFW people post complaints about ambient music because they don't understand what the music is about or how to listen to it.
Old 17th April 2018
  #36
Gear Maniac
 

Since I have always preferred making plans to executing them, I have gravitated towards situations and systems that, once set into operation, could create music with little or no intervention on my part.

That is to say, I tend towards the roles of the planner and programmer, and then become an audience to the results.

Two ways of satisfying this interest are exemplified on this album. "Discreet Music" is a technological approach to the problem. If there is any score for the piece, it must be the operational diagram of the particular apparatus I used for its production. The key configuration here is the long delay echo system with which I have experimented since I became aware of the musical possibilities of tape recorders in 1964. Having set up this apparatus, my degree of participation in what it subsequently did was limited to (a) providing an input (in this case, two simple and mutually compatible melodic lines of different duration stored on a digital recall system) and (b) occasionally altering the timbre of the synthesizer's output by means of a graphic equalizer.

It is a point of discipline to accept this passive role, and for once, to ignore the tendency to play the artist by dabbling and interfering. In this case, I was aided by the idea that what I was making was simply a background for my friend Robert Fripp to play over in a series of concerts we had planned. This notion of its future utility, coupled with my own pleasure in "gradual processes" prevented me from attempting to create surprises and less than predictable changes in the piece. I was trying to make a piece that could be listened to and yet could be ignored... perhaps in the spirit of Satie who wanted to make music that could "mingle with the sound of the knives and forks at dinner."

In January this year I had an accident. I was not seriously hurt, but I was confined to bed in a stiff and static position. My friend Judy Nylon visited me and brought me a record of 18th century harp music. After she had gone, and with some considerable difficulty, I put on the record. Having laid down, I realized that the amplifier was set at an extremely low level, and that one channel of the stereo had failed completely. Since I hadn't the energy to get up and improve matters, the record played on almost inaudibly. This presented what was for me a new way of hearing music - as part of the ambience 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 that I suggest listening to the piece at comparatively low levels, even to the extent that it frequently falls below the threshold of audibility.

Another way of satisfying the interest in self-regulating and self-generating systems is exemplified in the 3 variations on the Pachebel Canon. These take their titles from the charmingly inaccurate translation of the French cover notes for the "Erato" recording of the piece made by the orchestra of Jean Francois Paillard. That particular recording inspired these pieces by its unashamedly romantic rendition of a very systematic Renaissance canon.

In this case the "system" is a group of performers with a set of instructions - and the "input" is the fragment of Pachebel. Each variation takes a small section of the score (two or four bars) as its starting point, and permutates the players' parts such that they overlay each other in ways not suggested by the original score. In "Fullness of Wind" each player's tempo is decreased, the rate of decrease governed by the pitch of his instrument (bass=slow). "French Catalogues" groups together sets of notes and melodies with time directions gathered from other parts of the score. In "Brutal Ardour" each player has a sequence of notes related to those of the other players, but the sequences are of different lengths so that the original relationships quickly break down.

London, September 1975
Old 17th April 2018
  #37
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acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ihearanewworld View Post
If you are going to make something over 5-minutes long, there better be a good reason. Simply having some cool effects pedals and in interest in drone and texture is not enough.
I think you can rephrase that as "make it however long it needs to be, but try your best to make it not suck", which applies just as well to any other form of music.

Quote:
There needs to be structure and form: a beginning, a middle and an end. And then within that beginning section, a smaller, sub-form. Dynamics are your friend.
Not necessarily, I think stasis is fine if there's enough substance and variation to it to sustain interest. See Eliane Radigue, or Nurse With Wound's Soliloquy for Lilith. I don't find those boring or excessively long (although the Soliloquy for Lilith bonus tracks are unnecessary). The static quality of it allows you to perceive more subtle details.

Honestly I think it's important for the listener to be intentionally challenged. The expectation that everything should be constantly entertaining is bad for art.
Old 17th April 2018
  #38
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pr0gr4m's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thevegasnerve View Post
...I just cant devote 10 minutes, sometimes way longer, to listening to everyone's songs...
You aren't supposed to. It's Ambient. Put it on and let it play in the background of your life.
Old 17th April 2018
  #39
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If you are calling them songs, you have no idea what music is.

THIS is music
Old 17th April 2018
  #40
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NEXUS-6's Avatar
 

Fruit salad.. Yummy Yummy ... the first step peel your banana
Old 17th April 2018
  #41
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shreddoggie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pr0gr4m View Post
You aren't supposed to. It's Ambient. Put it on and let it play in the background of your life.
... and it only took 38 posts for someone to finally write this ...
Old 17th April 2018
  #42
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Hazmatic's Avatar
Putting limits or constraints on music is just plain silly and anyone that is a proponent of doing so isn't an artist.
Old 17th April 2018
  #43
Gear Nut
 

I’d love to know how many listens all these guys on here are getting for their sprawled our ambient masterpieces of creativity.
I agree with the OP - give the listener a chance and give yourself a chance to be listened to.
Old 17th April 2018
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Last System View Post
But, you talk about different things

One will be a professional musician and another is a "product"

Say to Mike Oldfield , for example , that him have to do a 3 minute song for the radio and you will see his answer
A musician will do what he thinks necessary the duration of his songs,... 1 minute .. or 1 hour

Maybe what has to change are the radios
???

sorry where did i say the limit should be imposed?
Old 17th April 2018
  #45
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Jamie munro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEXUS-6 View Post
After awhile it's just a self indulgent jerk off session...
Make your point say it & move on you're not that special Really. No one wants to hear your hour & half concept *song*.
i agree in one respect IF i am buying or even acting as AR but in all honesty if i am listening on the internet (YT subjects and artists being a big part of this thread) i am rarely paying 100% attention anyway, longer stuff is just on while i am pottering around cooking curry for a couple of hours or cleaning or whatever.
Old 17th April 2018
  #46
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie munro View Post
i agree in one respect IF i am buying or even acting as AR but in all honesty if i am listening on the internet (YT subjects and artists being a big part of this thread) i am rarely paying 100% attention anyway, longer stuff is just on while i am pottering around cooking curry for a couple of hours or cleaning or whatever.
It's as if you are looking to throw on an ambient album.
Old 17th April 2018
  #47
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got one on now
Old 17th April 2018
  #48
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fiddlestickz's Avatar
Perhaps soon we might have 3 min ambient pieces with 2 massive drops in them...
Old 17th April 2018
  #49
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thevegasnerve View Post
But I just cant devote 10 minutes, sometimes way longer, to listening to everyone's songs, and I try.
I think the solution used to be called a "fast-forward" button. In recent times, the song pointer is expressed as an arrow on a line, and with some devices, it can also be moved to arbitrary positions, allowing you to skip over the not-so-interesting bits.

Basically, you want the Cliff's Notes version of the music.

Now try to sell this idea to a movie director. Sort of like "I want to watch the Shining, but only the bits where things actually happen". Do you think they'd be happy with such a question?

That doesn't mean that ambient makers are on Kubrick's level, though, but what you're asking from them is pretty much the same.

So, solution: don't. Trying to impose standards isn't really going to help anyway.
Old 17th April 2018
  #50
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
An Indian "raga" can last hours. Opera can last hours. Imagine if someone made the same suggestion the OP is making when it came to those genres. Music takes as much time as the composer deems it will take to try and "mandate" a length is a very "unmusical" way to look at compositions.

Now if you are talking TV commercials 1 second is too long IMHO. <GRIN>
Old 17th April 2018
  #51
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazmatic View Post
Putting limits or constraints on music is just plain silly and anyone that is a proponent of doing so isn't an artist.
you are confusing the issue to some extent. I am suggesting developing a form that challenges ambient artists. Painters typically use a canvas of a determined size to start, so your so called "silly" reference doesn't fly with me.
Old 17th April 2018
  #52
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thevegasnerve View Post
you are confusing the issue to some extent. I am suggesting developing a form that challenges ambient artists. Painters typically use a canvas of a determined size to start, so your so called "silly" reference doesn't fly with me.
You seem to want to start a fight with other posters and are intent on making an arbitrary "standard" when none is needed.. Why?
Old 17th April 2018
  #53
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benskia View Post
I’d love to know how many listens all these guys on here are getting for their sprawled our ambient masterpieces of creativity.
I agree with the OP - give the listener a chance and give yourself a chance to be listened to.
That is my point to some extent and appreciate what you are saying. I understand that the original intent of "ambient" music was to be in the background. Fair point. But lets be honest, there is a lot of music being developed that fits somewhere between pure ambient as originally intended by artists like Satie and Eno, vs. accessible music that is closer aligned with contemporary pop using primarily electronic instruments. Lets separate them and stop referencing ambient as a description if its not true to the form.

My intent is to challenge many of these composers to "get to the point" in their compositions. My father was a real composer of ensembles/choirs and hammered that point home to me. I am not trained like him. But many of these pieces feel like jams and not crafted pieces. Again I am a fan and supporter of fledgling artists, so I care enough to be honest in my opinions..
Old 17th April 2018
  #54
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coleman Young View Post
Since I have always preferred making plans to executing them, I have gravitated towards situations and systems that, once set into operation, could create music with little or no intervention on my part.

That is to say, I tend towards the roles of the planner and programmer, and then become an audience to the results.

Two ways of satisfying this interest are exemplified on this album. "Discreet Music" is a technological approach to the problem. If there is any score for the piece, it must be the operational diagram of the particular apparatus I used for its production. The key configuration here is the long delay echo system with which I have experimented since I became aware of the musical possibilities of tape recorders in 1964. Having set up this apparatus, my degree of participation in what it subsequently did was limited to (a) providing an input (in this case, two simple and mutually compatible melodic lines of different duration stored on a digital recall system) and (b) occasionally altering the timbre of the synthesizer's output by means of a graphic equalizer.

It is a point of discipline to accept this passive role, and for once, to ignore the tendency to play the artist by dabbling and interfering. In this case, I was aided by the idea that what I was making was simply a background for my friend Robert Fripp to play over in a series of concerts we had planned. This notion of its future utility, coupled with my own pleasure in "gradual processes" prevented me from attempting to create surprises and less than predictable changes in the piece. I was trying to make a piece that could be listened to and yet could be ignored... perhaps in the spirit of Satie who wanted to make music that could "mingle with the sound of the knives and forks at dinner."

In January this year I had an accident. I was not seriously hurt, but I was confined to bed in a stiff and static position. My friend Judy Nylon visited me and brought me a record of 18th century harp music. After she had gone, and with some considerable difficulty, I put on the record. Having laid down, I realized that the amplifier was set at an extremely low level, and that one channel of the stereo had failed completely. Since I hadn't the energy to get up and improve matters, the record played on almost inaudibly. This presented what was for me a new way of hearing music - as part of the ambience 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 that I suggest listening to the piece at comparatively low levels, even to the extent that it frequently falls below the threshold of audibility.

Another way of satisfying the interest in self-regulating and self-generating systems is exemplified in the 3 variations on the Pachebel Canon. These take their titles from the charmingly inaccurate translation of the French cover notes for the "Erato" recording of the piece made by the orchestra of Jean Francois Paillard. That particular recording inspired these pieces by its unashamedly romantic rendition of a very systematic Renaissance canon.

In this case the "system" is a group of performers with a set of instructions - and the "input" is the fragment of Pachebel. Each variation takes a small section of the score (two or four bars) as its starting point, and permutates the players' parts such that they overlay each other in ways not suggested by the original score. In "Fullness of Wind" each player's tempo is decreased, the rate of decrease governed by the pitch of his instrument (bass=slow). "French Catalogues" groups together sets of notes and melodies with time directions gathered from other parts of the score. In "Brutal Ardour" each player has a sequence of notes related to those of the other players, but the sequences are of different lengths so that the original relationships quickly break down.

London, September 1975
thanks for the comments Coleman, pure ambient music is beautiful and I love and appreciate it too.
Old 17th April 2018
  #55
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acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benskia View Post
I’d love to know how many listens all these guys on here are getting for their sprawled our ambient masterpieces of creativity.
I don't think "pandering to popular tastes in order to have a larger audience" and "making ambient music" really belong together. Popularity isn't a measure of quality.
Old 17th April 2018
  #56
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
You seem to want to start a fight with other posters and are intent on making an arbitrary "standard" when none is needed.. Why?
that's an odd comment, I have no interest in fighting, whats the point of that? This is all in good fun from an analytical point. the post above called my position silly, and I explained why I thought their comment was actually silly by using the creative limits artists and poets utilize in many cases. Disagreement is a natural process in critical thinking, doesn't need to be considered aggressive. Please understand that I enjoy the comments that add to the discussion and don't enjoy the ones that want to make dismissive replies. I could do that too, but we wont challenge ourselves.

Now if I have offended someone by suggesting that we need to develop more specific genre standards to help the creative process, well that's sort-of sad actually. Again, I love and support ambient and other electronic artists. I hold myself to these standards and welcome critique.
Old 17th April 2018
  #57
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skapadelix View Post
Actually the Kompakt label has been releasing their Pop Ambient compilations every year since 2001 using pretty much the formula you propose. Each track clocks in around the 4-6 minute mark. Here’s a nice example:
listening to a compilation from them now, thanks for sharing!
Old 18th April 2018
  #58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thevegasnerve View Post
Let me start by saying I really love ambient music but its time we create our own standard for compositional length before we unintentionally destroy one of the more interesting genres in new music. Not to say that ambient music is new, but there is a lot of artists jumping into the scene, and some doing some really nice work. Don't ask for a definition of ambient, most of you have a decent idea of what it isn't at least. We can include all electronic music (including those modular ramblings, if you want.

If a song needs more time, then have a Part B, C, D, whatever. But I just cant devote 10 minutes, sometimes way longer, to listening to everyone's songs, and I try. Not to mention, a little melody sure couldn't hurt, even classical pieces are typically built upon that concept. This is coming from someone who actually cares to listen, so keep that in mind.

Feel free to spit in my face if you disagree...
WTF?

You don't want to define the term 'ambient' -- whose cultural connotation in the music scene stayed quite close to Brian Eno's initial denotation of his own 'ultra background' music (Music for Airports, etc) as ambient music for several decades but which became almost meaningless as the cut-n-paste desktop music revolution instantly created tens of millions of new producers in the 90s and into this century...

... but you DO want to impose a TIME LIMIT on the individual musical compositions (evolutions, accidents, etc) of this amorphous, purposefully undefined musical classification?


That's kind of horse-behind-the-cart isn't it?
Old 18th April 2018
  #59
Quote:
Originally Posted by skunk_hour View Post
I agree, 5 minutes is a good time for any "ambient" track. And besides a 5 minute length limit, we should also mandate that all new ambient tracks go by the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure that has worked so well for previous genres of music. We wouldn't want any of this great music spoiled by unconventional ideas about structure or time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thevegasnerve View Post
Your sarcasm isn’t appreciated. Writing standard pop songs as you seem to reference is extremely challenging and rewarding when done successfully. The point is that we have made the so called unconventional very conventional..
Speak for yourself.

Actually, I greatly appreciated his sarcasm. It was, I think, spot on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jamey777 View Post
as a former dj I am very good at dropping in on 3-4 places of a song and knowing if its worth my time... try it
I do this whenever I'm pushing myself to explore some new band or sound and don't immediately warm up to the music. I skip ahead or skip around on the album just to make sure I'm not making a judgment based on too small a sample... If it sounds worthwhile, I typically go back and start at the beginning.

Last edited by theblue1; 18th April 2018 at 06:01 PM..
Old 18th April 2018
  #60
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thevegasnerve View Post
thanks for the comments Coleman, pure ambient music is beautiful and I love and appreciate it too.
...and Coleman was citing the liner notes of Brian Eno's album "Discreet Music" released in 1975.
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