Editor’s Note: A small while ago, Ross Auger (link) and I were exchanging messages as we normally do. Mentioned to me was an interest in writing. What transpired is a piece on ambient music entitled “Under the Scope,” which I graciously offered to extend to the blog as a means to cover a genre that’s cherished in the Electronic world. Not only this, but the article continues on an exploratory method of uncovering underground sounds in a way the 2020kblog project was founded upon (and also in the way Amber Waves and I do things through our monthly Hidden Gems and Northern Lights features).
Without further ado, I’m proud to present “Under the Scope…Ambient” to you.
There have been articles making rounds in the creative fields of how a little bit of ambient sound can kick start your productive juices (example). As much weight as a coffee shop carries supplying the brain jitters, it’s been noted that espresso machines and mellow chatter are a great source for subconscious entertainment. It would be an act of perjury to not recommend caffeine suppliers, but there’s so much to be said for the genre of ambient music.
When the Mona Lisa comes up in conversation, I imagine somewhere at some point someone has had to have said, “I don’t get it.” My grandfather once asked about ambient music with a blunt “So, it’s just for background music right?” What was once a skim-over genre has become a rolling stone gathering no moss taking a vocabulary of nasally terms and giving them beauty. Drone, loop, field recording…you know the ones. The umbrella keeping these captions dry is an audio dimension that some folks just might not get. In case the situation revolves around not knowing where to start, or how to start for that matter, this article may be the hand that helps you across the street.
The highest aesthetic pleasure from the ambient scene is presented through audio cassettes. Some might be savvy to the cassette store day or how not only the increasing vinyl sales, but cassette sales as well. Although that whole scenario is a detour around a large canyon of gorgeous reels and movements. A network of independent labels across the globe, each with auditory worlds of sounds to take your mind into new spaces. The ambient of what might take your creative juices to any level if that’s what your subconscious craves. Call this statement bold if you please, but ambient music might be a new sort of classical style. Movements created over structures. An experience versus an obvious message.
A Rose Worth it’s Weight in Gold by Wolf Fluorescence is the first piece on this list to drown the imagination. Best experienced, as you should all know by know, with a decent pair of headphones and the lights out. Take a peak at the track length and say what you will, but not a second itches to stop.
Sink the Stable by M. Sage presents the phonic equivalent to the word lush. If there’s ever been a need to experience what it feels like to be a wave in slow motion curling over itself in the oceanic night, again turn those lights off, plug in, and close your eyes.
If there’s some confusion on what the term loop might refer to in the ambient world, Was Utilitarian by Long Pond is a fetching example. Almost the experience of wandering an art museum without actually being there. The delight of experiencing something you can’t touch.
These movements are the attractive look back, rolling the pointer finger of invitation to the room away from it all. The albums are an even further involvement leading to discographies to independent labels each of their own flavors. The quality oil the brain never knew about to tap that well of subconscious gold. Each experience through a new understanding of bending music. Lights off, comfortable position taken, walkman welcome.