Music In The Little Things

Perspective is as important in music as in art…taking a step back, or a step closer, can often conjure up interesting results. One man who has developed plenty of new ways of approaching music is Brian Eno…

Ambient Atlas

sun's so bright, gotta wear shades
Creative Commons License photo credit: geeky_spaz

One of the things that artists continually do is break the rules; probing new ways of creating things (whether it be painting, sculpture, music or fashion) is essential to art.

In this interesting interview at Salon (is there any other type of Eno interview?), the inventor of the Ambient genre chats with the author of Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell.

As the creative duo discuss, ambient music was something of a breakthrough on the notional Porlock Spectrum…with its emphasis on tone, texture and timbre it allows for a different kind of listening experience. It doesn’t demand to be the focus of attention, but allows the listener to engage with it on their own terms. Mitchell finds Eno’s music very conducive to writing, and indeed many painters listen to ambient music while working.

Without necessarily being an exercise in synaesthesia, ambient music and other artforms can form a productive symbiosis…just as an ambient music cocoon may assist a writer, so too a painting may inspire a musician. The fact that music can now have ‘no song, no beat, no melody, no movement’ is liberating in itself, and shows how both the imposition and removal of constraints can be a boon for creative exploration.

Getting Closer To The Music

Ambient is not quite as simple as ‘less is more’ – it’s just the focus of the ‘more’ has been shifted. Instead of catchy melodies and danceable beats, we have sonic textures and atmospheres.

On a related note, taking a closer look at music and video is Charlie Visnic, whose macro-mode perspective on iron filings shows how digital media production just keeps rolling…


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