This collection of essays has been assembled and developed from papers given at the Ambient@40 International Conference held in February 2018 at the University of Huddersfield. The original premise of the conference was not merely to celebrate Eno’s work and the landmark release of Music for Airports in 1978, but to consider the development of the genre, how it has permeated our wider musical culture, and what the role of such music is today given the societal changes that have occurred since the release of that album.
In the context of the conference, ambient was considered from the perspectives of aesthetic, influence, appropriation, process, strategy and activity. A detailed consideration of each of these topics could fill many volumes. With that in mind, this book does not seek to provide an in-depth analysis of each of these topics or a comprehensive history of the last 40 years of ambient music. Rather it provides a series of provocations, observations and reflections that each open up seams for further discussion. As such, this book should be read as a starting point for future research, one that seeks to critically interrogate the very meaning of ‘ambient’, how it creates its effect, and how the genre can remain vital and relevant in twenty-first century music-making.
CHAPTER 1 – David Toop
How Much World Do You Want? Ambient Listening And Its Questions
CHAPTER 2 – Ambrose Field
Space In The Ambience: Is Ambient Music Socially Relevant?
CHAPTER 3 – Ulf Holbrook
A Question Of Background: Sites Of Listening
CHAPTER 4 – Richard Talbot
Three Manifestations Of Spatiality In Ambient Music
CHAPTER 5 – Simon Cummings
The Steady State Theory: Recalibrating The Quiddity Of Ambient Music
CHAPTER 6 – Monty Adkins
Fragility, Noise, And Atmosphere In Ambient Music
CHAPTER 7 – Lisa Colton
Channelling The Ecstasy Of Hildegard Von Bingen: “O Euchari” Remixed
CHAPTER 8 – Justin Morey
Ambient House: “Little Fluffy Clouds” And The Sampler As Time Machine
Are you an undergraduate student who is interested in submitting your work to a professional research journal? Fields: journal of Huddersfield student research is a yearly publication, which showcases outstanding research from all seven schools within the university. Submissions can be in the form of a journal article or even a collection of poetry, music scores, photographs or a case study. To take part, get in touch with your dissertation/project tutor, or visit the Fields website to contact a member of the editorial team to see how you could be published in this year’s edition.
Benefits of getting published:
Raise the profile of your work and get interest and feedback from other academics and professionals.
Gain experience of the publishing process and a professional publication to enhance your CV.
Benefit from the support of a professional team through a writing retreat and drop in advice session.
Receive a £400 bursary upon submission of your final article.
Contact your dissertation/project tutor and tell them you are interested in submitting your work to Fields.
Once you have contacted a member of our editorial team, or your tutor, they will put you in touch with the publishing team to find out about the submission, review and publishing process.
Publishing in Fields is a fantastic opportunity to take your studies and degree to the next level, the Fields journal is an accredited, well-respected publication, that encourages its authors to aspire to more –check out our blog posts from previous Fields authors to find out what they thought of the opportunity.
The new issue of our popular journal Performance and Mindfulness has arrived! The new issue focuses on the importance of spirituality within dramatic performance and asks for its readers to re-think individual meditation. It considers how meditation and Buddhist practices are important in the execution of the dramatic arts.
This issue is a fantastic read for those who are keen performers interested in physicality and mindfulness, but it may also spark interest in those who are keen to broaden their horizons within their own perspectives of spirituality. The articles cover all corners of performance art, including;
Performance and Mindfulness includes original work from researchers at the University of Huddersfield, but also from academics across the globe. Read on to discover a wide range of perspectives on what spirituality within performance means to the individual, and how it manifests and expresses itself within other cultures and the independent performer.
This issue of TiLL is somewhat different from previous ones in that it is a special edition publishing four papers by project teams who were involved in The Education & Training Foundation’s (ETF) funded Outstanding Teaching Learning and Assessment (OTLA) Phase 3 programme in the north-east and Cumbria. I had the privilege of being the evaluator for the programme and very early on I offered to publish papers in a special edition of TiLL, and I am delighted that five of the project teams accepted my invitation and submitted their papers for review.
David Powell, Editor of Teaching in Lifelong Learning
It has been a privilege to work with Geoffrey and John on this fascinating collection of essays, and we asked them to put a few words together about their research and the driving force behind the book.
Geoffrey Cox and John Corner explore the arts of sound, investigating the richness of what we hear as well as what we see in non-fiction films.
We all recognise that sound is important to documentary films, without it we would often have no idea of what we were looking at or of its significance. What is far less recognised is the often complex ways in which our listening becomes interlinked with our viewing so as to generate feelings and ideas well beyond those carried simply in ‘what is said’. This is partly a matter of how documentary producers work to let us hear the world as well as see it, a world of noises, natural, and mechanical and of patterns and textures of speech going well beyond the literal content of commentary or interview. The sonic dimension involves a range of technological and aesthetic creativity in the production process right through from initial recording through to final editing. Often, it importantly involves the use of music in ways which we might be encouraged to register but which will often work powerfully in the background, shaping the kinds of knowledge and pleasure we get from a film without our being consciously aware of it.
A huge range of non-fiction film uses sounds in this way to guide and supplement our visual experience and fill it with feeling. The longstanding practices of film, television and now web advertising show a range of sound designs importantly at work, so too do the even more longstanding techniques of film propaganda. However, many documentary and video makers, rather than reinforce the delivery of a narrow message, have wanted to use the possibilities of different sounds to enrich, make more complex and perhaps even challenge, the sense of reality ‘coming through’.
In our work, drawing on international contributors including film-makers and composers as well as academics, we ask questions about how sounds are recorded and assembled in documentary production, about the variety of the ways in which they work when listened to and about their contribution to making this area of visual culture an important culture of sounds too. Our belief is that further critical attention here goes beyond the expanding area of documentary scholarship and connects with a broader understanding of the contemporary media arts.
Hezbollah – from the original Arabic term meaning “Party of God”, which can also be transliterated as “Hizbullah” or “Hizballah” – is an Iranian-backed Shiite militia group that was established in the early 1980s. It was initially formed to drive foreign forces out of Lebanon and its bombing of French and American bases in Beirut in 1983 claimed 299 lives. Hezbollah is hostile towards Israel and supports President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.
Hezbollah’s emblem features a stylised assault rifle and its forces have adopted the “Hitler salute”. In 2002, Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said that if all the world’s Jews were to gather in Israel, this would make it easier to kill them in a “final and decisive battle”.
The organisation has a track record of global criminal activity, with a particular emphasis on terror attacks – not only against Israelis, but also against Jewish targets worldwide.
However, Hezbollah has also participated in Lebanese elections since 1992. It holds government positions and provides social welfare. For this reason Hezbollah is not completely “proscribed” or banned under current UK law. Instead the government has banned the “military wing” of Hezbollah only, but not the “political wing”.
Banning terrorist groups
The Terrorism Act 2000 gives the Home Secretary power to proscribe an organisation if it is “concerned in terrorism”. Hezbollah’s “military wing” has been proscribed since 2008. But its other “wings” – its MPs, government ministers and social welfare activities – are not.
The Terrorism Act makes it an offence for a person, in a public place, to wear an item of clothing, or to carry or display a flag “in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation”. In 2004, a man was convicted of this offence after passing through a Scottish port wearing a ring which prominently displayed the initials “UVF”. This had caused police to believe he was a member or supporter of the proscribed Ulster Volunteer Force, a loyalist paramilitary group.
The consequences of the distinction between Hezbollah’s military and non-military wings were seen at last year’s al-Quds Day rally where, as in previous years, Hezbollah flags and other articles were paraded through central London. Yet no one was arrested – even though all of Hezbollah’s wings share the same emblem.
More than just a flag
Some of the emblem-bearers – perhaps encouraged by the rally’s organisers in order to avoid trouble – even affixed stickers expressing support for the “political wing”. Yet they also chanted: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” This is generally understood to be a call for the military destruction of the state of Israel. This would suggest that the marchers were not supporting only Hezbollah’s “political wing”, but its “military wing” also.
Distinctions drawn between Hezbollah’s “military” and “political” wings are unpersuasive. The entire organisation is banned in some countries including the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Israel.
The UK government has justified taking a different approach by reference to the historical distinction between the IRA and Sinn Féin. Yet Hezbollah itself repeatedly rejects any such notion. An early Hezbollah document stated:
Our military apparatus is not separate from our overall social fabric. Each of us is a fighting soldier.
In 2000, deputy secretary general of Hezbollah, Sheikh Naim Qassem said:
Hezbollah has one single leadership…It manages the political activity, the jihad activity, the cultural and the social activities…we have one leadership, with one administration.
In 2002, Muhammad Fannish of Hezbollah’s political bureau said:
No differentiation is to be made between the military wing and the political wing of Hezbollah.
In 2013, Hezbollah’s political affairs official, Ammar Moussawi, said:
Everyone is aware of the fact that Hezbollah is one body…Its military and political wings are unified.
However, jokingly I will say – though I disagree on such separation or division – that I suggest that our ministers in the upcoming Lebanese government be from the military wing of Hezbollah!
Such statements cast serious doubt upon the distinction between the “military” and “political” wings maintained in UK law. It makes no sense to proscribe only the former but not the latter, when Hezbollah’s own representatives insist that there is no real division between the two.
Since last year’s al-Quds Day March, there have been calls from both Conservative and Labour figures for Hezbollah to be proscribed in its entirety. In January this year, MPs passed a motion calling for the home secretary to do just that. And it is hoped that Amber Rudd will now do so.
Political parties use immigration policies as key selling points, driving a division in public opinion – with either fear and hostility towards immigrants, or with unnecessary overwhelming praise. Both are equally undeserved.
And in this politically charged atmosphere, discussion of immigration has become the poster child of an era in which expertise is vilified and inconvenient truths become “fake news”. And the fewer facts we have, the more outrage there is.
A mixed picture
The reality is that as researchers, we know little about the relationship, if any, between immigration and crime. This is in part because lowbrow journalistic obsession with immigration and crime has made it somewhat a taboo topic for research. As evidenced by the limited academic literature available, a consensus simply does not exist.
Similarly, a large scale European study on the effects of immigration on crime concluded that while an increase in immigration generally does not affect crime levels, it does go hand-in-hand with increased public anxiety and anti-immigration stances.
It’s all about culture
Research also shows that immigrants who come from culturally similar backgrounds to their new area, are likely to commit fewer crimes than the native population. Research on Los Angeles, for example, found that a higher number of Latino immigrants who were from culturally similar regions to the current residents, reduced the rates of violence in the area.
Similarly, research in Spain showed that Spanish speaking immigrants had a much more benign impact on crime than those of other origins. Such immigrants undoubtedly have an easier time moving to a new country where the culture reflects something like their own.
Similarly in the UK, the impact of two waves of immigration has been examined by researchers, specifically looking at the relationship between a rise in immigration and crime levels. The analysis found that when workers from Eastern European states (that joined the EU in 2004) came to the UK, the impact on crime was minimal. But the research also found that the wave of asylum seekers who came to the UK in the 1990s – mainly from war torn countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia – coincided with a slight increase in the total number of property crimes at the time. This was thought to be down to the fact that employment rates for this wave of immigrants was much lower than those of the average Briton.
What about multicultural areas?
Immigrant populations tend to be very concentrated, with people tending to reside in areas with existing communities. My recent research shows that throughout England and Wales, areas where immigrants from one single background make up a significant majority of the immigrant population, tend to be low in crime. Nearly as low in crime as the areas with small immigrant populations.
It doesn’t make a difference what the background of the immigrant population is, what appears to be key is that there is a cultural similarity among the immigrant population within an area. My research also found that areas with very high numbers of immigrants that are low in crime – or below the nation’s average – tend to be areas with either European or African immigrants.
But my research also showed that areas where two or more cultures (other than that of the indigenous population) are prevalent, tend to be very high in crime. This is specifically the case in areas with the highest proportions of immigrants from Asia and Europe. In these areas violent crime is 70% higher, property crime is 92% higher and vehicle crime increases by 19% compared to national average.
What to do about it
The research I have carried out shows the need to view culture as invaluable in the examination of the impact immigration has on crime.
It must also be considered that immigrant communities are less inclined to contact police and more likely to “self police” – which inevitably can result in more crime. So, policing of immigrant communities, which are becoming increasingly more concentrated, needs to be done with cultural differences in mind.
Social housing and other affordable housing initiatives must also be thought through carefully to avoid creating cultural clashes where possible. Some recent advances such as the UK government’s Integrated Communities Strategy already try to address language barriers that preclude integration. But ultimately, more calm discussion with a view towards a safer and more cohesive world would not hurt either.