Tag: contemporary music

What role does ambient music have in society and in musical culture? A new book explores how the genre has developed over the last 40 years

What role does ambient music have in society and in musical culture? A new book explores how the genre has developed over the last 40 years

Today sees the release of a brand new book looking at how the genre of ambient music has developed over the last 40 years.

Music Beyond Airports: Appraising Ambient Music

Contributions by: Monty Adkins, Axel Berndt, Lisa Colton, Simon Cummings, Ambrose Field, Ulf Holbrook, Justin Morey, Richard Talbot, David Toop

ISBN10-13 eBook: 1862181616 Print: 9781862181618

Buy a print copy  Download the open access version

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 list

INTRODUCTION

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

CHAPTER 9 – Axel Berndt

Adaptive Game Scoring With Ambient Music

Buy a print copy  Download the open access version

Advertisements
New book! Soundings: documentary film and the listening experience

New book! Soundings: documentary film and the listening experience

We are delighted today to announce the publication of our newest book, a beautifully written collection edited by Geoffrey Cox and John Corner:

Soundings: documentary film and the listening experience

Buy the paperback version

Download the open access version

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.

Buy the paperback version

Download the open access version