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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ambient Music

How is one supposed to discuss "ambient" music? (or should it be "ambient music"?)This stems off of the whole, "how does one discuss music at all?" issue. I don't want to simply list of a string of adjectives that bear little meaning outside of my individual world-view, but how else can it be described at all?


Specifically: "Gravitational Pull vs. The Desire for an Aquatic Life", how am I supposed to discuss this?I mean, /I/ think this is a great album, except for the time I was awfully tripping-balls... but even then, I chose it because it was one of the most soothing and mellow records I owned, even if in the end it was still /too intense/ for that trip...

So fuck it, why not simply /embrace/ the subjective?


I've owned this album for a good long while now. I bought it, probably, during my first semester at University. I remember spending my three-hour break between history and philosophy sleeping in the St. Josephs college student lounge, listening to this record. Am I subtlely saying this album will put you to sleep? No, but I'm saying this album is /great/ to fall asleep to. Around this time I was also listening to the first cLOUDDEAD album nearly every day (in fact, in that two-year period, I probably listened to cLOUDDEAD 1.5 times a day, on average) So as a triumvirate, I propose SOTL-cLOUDDEAD-Boards of Canada (because they just /fit/, even if I never bought their albums) BoC has the distinction of being one of the first "cool" bands I was aware of (also Plaid--hey umu, remember Plaid? what was that song of thiers I liked?)

I was going to complain about how the song titles are essentially meaningless to me, and mention how indistinguishable the songs themselves are. But that's not to say they aren't "songs", and despite the pace, they do have their own melodies, and they're just as legitimate as any other melodies (in fact, even more legitimate that a lot of "melodies" propagated by Of Montreal, for example)

Initially I wanted to pair this with a discussion of "At All Ends" by dee Yellow Swans, but I think I'll save that discussion for another time. (or possibly later today, depending on how I feel)

3 comments:

Aja (when all my dime dancing is thorugh) said...

SOTL have admitted that their song titles are self-consciously ridiculous, so as not to seem like they're taking themselves too seriously.

But I'm not quite sure what you're getting at with this post. A justification of ambient music? If I had to give one I'd say that ambient music more readily and more successfully evokes a sense of place other genres. And often that place is created by the music itself. Ambient music is like the closest you can get to dreaming while still awake (and sober, of course). I've become a bit obsessed but man this stuff is so MEANINGFUL

But I don't think Boards of Canada belong in this post. Though they do evoke place (and time, especially), I can't take them as seriously, probably because they're all trip-hop, y'know? My ambient triumvirate would have to include SOTL, Eno, and Tetsu Inoue, the latter mostly for his album World Receiver.

Tezcatlipoca said...

i'm not really trying to make any grand statements about anything, really, I was just talking about gravitational pull. I wasn't even trying to come up with an "ambient" triumvirate, rather a completely different and idiosyncratic triumvirate...
I'm not trying to attack ambient music, I just want to talk about it...

But here's a legitimate question: I have the CD version, and it includes a "throw-away" track not included on the original LP. Can /you/ tell the difference between the tracks? I mean, Jan '69 sounds just as good as all the other stuff, I can't say it strikes me as being any better or any worse than the other tracks...

beneaththecastle said...

Nah I can't tell the difference. But then I haven't listened to the album as much as their others that I own.

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