The general musings of experimental/ambient guitarist, bassist, vocalist, writer, online ambient radio show-host, hot sauce collector, pedal effect maniac and white wine enthusiast, Har.[ Home] [ About Har ] [ Linkage ] [ Videos ] [ Audio ] [ Contact Me ]
Coming soon: "Into The Maelström, Vol4 -The Return of The Professor", my live ambient improv set from May 12th on Stillstream.com, performed entirely on processed/looped PIANO this time (AKA "The 88-String Guitar" LOL).
The whole set was over an hour and 33 minutes long - here’s a small excerpt. I’ll have the full length set available on my Bandcamp site soon. Enjoy! :)(72 plays)
Now available on Bandcamp: “Into The Maelström, Vol. 3: The Surge. LIVE: January 13, 2013”, a 50+ minute live-in-the-studio dark ambient improv soundscape performed on solo 8-string guitar on Stillstream. Enjoy! :)
As a salute to all of my Facebook friends who assume that all of THEIR Facebook friends must be watching the same TV show they are when they post their vague cryptic play-by-plays, I’ve decided to do the same thing…but for the songs I’m listening to. Ready? Here goes:
- "OMG, I can’t believe he played an F#?!"
- "Dotted eighth-notes…YEAH!!!"
- "Hybrid picking FTW!"
- "A Polymoog?? Really?"
- "Aw come on, suspended 4ths are for wussies."
- "Pick-scrape…yep…for realz, yo…"
- "Augmented scale! I HAVE A NEW HERO!"
A question of definition: without getting into the typical pointless “what is and isn’t ambient music” pissing match (AKA "The Petulent ‘But Eno Says It’s Gotta Be Ignorable!!’ Whine") - where can one draw a line between ambient/atmospheric music, and “pretty or not-so-pretty instrumental music”…? Where does one end and the other begin?
To me at least, it seems like a lot of people are starting to easily blur the lines between “ambient/atmospheric music” and what would normally be simply called “instrumental music” under any other circumstance. Not saying that I personally think it’s right or wrong - just observing what appears to be shifting perceptions and parameters.
As an example of the former: Michelle Cross & Joe Frawley’s outstanding ”Dolls Come To Life” album - while lacking so-called “standard” ambient staples like drones, and featuring melodic actually-sung vocals along with defined structures, tempo and cadence (albeit often rubato), it is indeed richly textured/soundscaped, darkly moody and undeniably very very atmospheric. In my book I’d call that ambient/atmospheric music, and featured it on my show on Stillstream. The sustaining high number of listeners during the entire album play seemed to indicate that they agreed with my opinion.
As an example of the latter: I’ve often heard either beautifully played acoustic guitar, piano or perhaps Chapman Stick instrumental solos with the ol’ hint o’ reverb…or, spikey, dry, heavily sequenced electronica…or, even full-blown metal instrumental tracks with a few whispy synth pads tossed in there…placed squarely into the “ambient music” category.
I’ve heard examples of when that definition might certainly be correct, and others when I’d say IMHO it might not be. Good-sounding and well executed? Sure. Moody? Perhaps. Atmospheric? Sometimes, but not always. Ambient? That appears to be up for grabs now.
The counter-argument I’ll often hear is: “Well, the music still depicts a mood…ergo, it’s atmospheric, and if it’s atmospheric, that means it’s ambient!”
My counter-counter-argument would then be: well, since ALL music typically depicts some kind of mood - regardless of whether it’s one you enjoy hearing or not (yes, even predictable cash-grab pop music you might totally hate and groan about can still depict a mood) - then therefore shouldn’t ALL music by this logic be considered “ambient”…?
My favorite counter-counter-counter-argument to date has been along the lines of: "yeah, but - it’s got a lot of reverb so it’s REALLY ambient!"
Again, I’m not going to call one right and one wrong - one person’s ambient soundscape is another person’s "Awww, that’s justa buncha SOUNDS, mannnnn!"….just like any other style of music. Or visual art. Or literature.
I just find it somewhat interesting how increasingly all-inclusive ambient music seems to be becoming in the eyes/ears of some people.
As always, Your Mileage May Vary.™ :)
My Doomsday-inspired track "B’ak’tun 13" from December 2012 is now available at my Bandcamp store at:
My live ambient/trip-hop-ish performance on Stillstream from July 22nd, "Into The Maelström, Vol. 2: Down The Corridor" is finally up and available on my Bandcamp store…