Ambient – Quiet music for all ages.
I recently watched a documentary about the age of the first generation of rockstars such as the Rolling Stones and other artists of their era, who were still going well into their sixties. It made me think about ambient music and the age of it’s artists and listeners. A few years ago, you could have said that ambient was primarily for middle-aged fellers, judging by the online forum discussions, groups, reviews and the like. I think it’s fair to say that the artists / listener demographics at the time would have shown this to be the case.
However, when I look at my Last.fm page, for example. I find that a much wider cross section of people listen to ambient music than might have done so in the past. I think this is great, I would much rather have all manner of people listening to my (and other peoples) ambient material and I find it particularly interesting that this trend seems to be continuing. As regards artists, I think this diversity is the case as well, again I can only think this is a good thing. Unlike say, pop music, ambient isn’t defined by a young artist / listener base and I think artists will release for as long as they want irregardless of age and (hopefully) listeners will still want to hear their work.
In my case, I got into ambient at the age of 20, I would imagine that may be unusual case, here’s the background – I was living in a house with some Buddhists in Leeds, we had no TV, so we used to play a lot of records. One guy put on a record that I had not heard the like of before, it was ‘The Pearl’ by Harold Budd and Brian Eno. I was immediately taken by it’s beautiful, delicate ethereality and I was ‘turned on’ to ambient, so to speak. Even though I was a very mentally speedy kind of person, the calming qualities of early Eno ambient works (in particular) were very valuable to me. Now that I’m approaching middle-aqe, I feel I’m slowing down much more in lots of ways and ambient is perhaps more important to me. I couldn’t imagine not creating ambient music at this time in my life and I can now see more subtlety and nuance coming into my material as I get older.
I wonder about the future of ambient music and I increasingly think it could be seen as music that’s before it’s time – a kind of a new ‘undefined’ music, in it’s wordless, formless and abstract state. I’m interested to see how the genre evolves over time. Quiet / slow music should be as regarded as other types of music in my book and I think this will be the case over time.
Here’s two recent ‘Sky-shots‘ I took from my studio window. I sometimes think ‘dry text’ needs some pictorial assistance !