12/23/2014

AMBIENT



Some random photos taken at different phases of my life.


As the title suggests this post is about ambient music. One of the things that I find very enjoyable when it's done well. This genre, often times devoid of any lyrics or at least putting little emphasis on them, concentrates instead on evoking a certain atmosphere. That is, the way it sounds becomes of extreme importance, since it's the only thing that defines the music. I guess, normally you would want to have a nice balance between thought-provoking lyrics and a sound that gets you the chills. I have to say, though, that sometimes I neglect the lyric part if I like the sound to the extent that it almost compensates for boring lyrics. As a matter of fact, a couple of years ago I didn't really give a damn about what they were singing as long as it sounded good. But today, after my boyfriend having introduced the exciting world of lyrics, paying attention to that side of music as well has made me change my music listening habits. Basically it has brought another layer to music, one which makes it even more enjoyable. Boring or, what you often encounter today, (especially on the radio) downright irritating lyrics, be it Taylor Swift or Pitbull, makes me not want to listen to something. Quite honestly I start feeling nauseous when I listen to what today's top artist have to say. And what does that say about the majority of people inhabiting this planet? I'm sure a lot of things, but one of them being the sad fact that we convince ourselves of being "too busy" to really pay attention to what's happening around us... 

        Before this turns into a rant, lets get back to ambient music. When the main focus is away from the obvious (and sometimes not so obvious) meaning, that means the artist will have to find a way through sound in order to create an atmosphere that is as emotive as possible to keep it interesting. This genre of music is also very easy to listen to. And what I mean by that is that getting absorbed into sounds is easier than having to interpret words. Which also means that it's great for relaxation, and for "letting go", since it's a place very easy to get lost into. Another great thing about it is the fact that there's almost an infinite amount of interpretations to be made out of the music. No lyrics means the music is what you feel when you hear it. Every individual will channel it differently and have a unique picture painted in their mind when listening, since we are all composed differently.

       One thing that particularly fascinates me is collecting sounds from your environment (sounds that aren't created with a musical instrument) and compiling them into a track. At least for me it tends to wake a particularly abundant stream of mental images. When I close my eyes I may sometimes be able to build a very detailed and precise imaginary environment based on the sounds. This type of music is exactly what Swedish artist Alex Boman did, and VICE just did a Lost and Found episode on him recording sounds all over Stockholm, his home city, and showing the result of the final track created from those. The idea of the Lost and Found series is to get artists to pay homage to their home cities through music. I really like the concept of the series, it's interesting to see what sides of their city the artists bring up and highlight. Especially in this case since Stockholm is my childhood home as well. Boman's track ended up being very light and peaceful. I would imagine it be a good listen along with something to read (I often listen to music while I read, especially when sitting in a bus, to block all the other unwanted noise). Will have to give it a try. What are your thoughts on the track (listen below), the Lost and Found series (watch below), or just generally this genre of music? I'd love to hear! Also you can read the post regarding this particular episode on noisey's website by clicking here.


  
  
  

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