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  • Length of ambient tracks

    some thoughts that appeared in my mind:

    in the late eighties and early ninenties my tracks used to have a legth about 3 minutes.
    passing y2k i was on 5 minutes ... now i go over 10 minutes. where will that lead to?
    even doing the mix takes much longer on longer tracks, i play less notes in more time.
    slowing down is one thing ... reminds me on the change from bebop to cool jazz in the early fourties.
    slowing down the speed i am rushing through my live is the other thing that happens.

    :uh:
    ahornberg.bandcamp.com
    soundcloud.com/ahornberg

  • #2
    Hi.

    Personally, I do not mind the long tracks; a track should be as long as it needs to be. That being said, I do have a preference for the shorter ones. I think 4-5 minutes is an ideal time for a piece of ambient music. That way you get the chance to include several of varying sounds on your album. My tracks are often improvisational and juxtapositional in nature, so I often let them end themselves when the sounds run out.
    https://thegreatschizm.bandcamp.com

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    • #3
      It all just depends on how the track feels to me, I just finished a "solo" album were each track is around an hour long.
      https://soundcloud.com/negativespectrum

      My record label
      http://xenomorphrecords.bandcamp.com/

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      • #4
        speaking practically, how do you mix such long tracks?
        ahornberg.bandcamp.com
        soundcloud.com/ahornberg

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        • #5
          Quite easily actually, I take samples from sections and analyse the spectrums then I apply a basic mix then listen carefully to each track mixing as I go, it is a long process but I'm so in love with sound that I enjoy it.
          https://soundcloud.com/negativespectrum

          My record label
          http://xenomorphrecords.bandcamp.com/

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          • #6
            I prefer long slow ambient pieces.
            | Bandcamp | Hearthis | website |


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            • #7
              I am in the process of mixing down 4 hour-long pieces for Scott Lawler's collaborative project.

              Most of the work seems to have sections or movements, and first do passes on each distinct section. The worst part of it is some of them have really long delays added that haven't been printed yet, so if I need to back up and make another pass I have to go way back to let the delay build naturally. After the sections have been roughed in, I just start back and the beginning and do the whole piece over and over, no longer focusing on the sections but the piece as a whole.

              As far as how long is long...

              I agree with Cloud Hunter--that it should be as long as it needs to be. I do realize that a good many listeners really won't sit through hour-long reverb fests. That's the great thing about this not being my profession--I can do what I enjoy without regard to any audience. I do enjoy having people listen though, so length is sometimes a consideration. When mixing these long pieces, repeated long listens should not feel horribly tedious, so it should keep me honest about maintaining someone's attention. If I'm tired of hearing it fairly soon, then it's probably not that good.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Negative Spectrum View Post
                it is a long process but I'm so in love with sound that I enjoy it.
                love what you do/do what you love :daydream:
                It's all an illusion.

                https://soundcloud.com/skyhighdiamonds

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                • #9
                  I'm another one who believes a track will be as long as it needs to be and I don't tend to personally limited anything I produce. Mind you, I do tend to lean towards longer tracks..think it has something to do with me wanting the music to never never end when I was a kid..when any good album I bought just seemed to be over way too soon after putting it on. Actually, I've always tended to like the 12 inch or extended versions of tracks, so I guess it's no surprise really that I've ended up making longer playing tracks myself.

                  As for listeners becoming board..well, I guess that's a very real possibility..but then again, I think if you're good at what you do, then somebody is going to appreciate your work when they hear it. I know we do need to be realistic to a certain extent, but I also feel..as artists..we should "stand our ground" a little more than many seem to do these days. We shouldn't worry too much if others will like our music or what we're producing is too long or too short..the music should speak for itself. If people are critical or simply don't like it for whatever reasons, then that's fine..that's their right. I think we need to draw a line for ourselves and be a bit more assertive about our art.

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                  • #10
                    My tracks range from 6 seconds (it was a for a challenge) to an hour in length. It depends on what I'm doing and what mood I'm in.
                    https://soundcloud.com/ian-haygreen
                    https://ianhaygreen.bandcamp.com/

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                    • #11
                      I agree with Ambient Mechanics 100%, at the end of the day I don't produce "pop" music, I'm not doing this because I want a platinum record. I write long tracks because it's what I want to hear and I know I'm not alone in that. There will be someone out there that I reach with my long pieces.
                      https://soundcloud.com/negativespectrum

                      My record label
                      http://xenomorphrecords.bandcamp.com/

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Negative Spectrum View Post
                        ..There will be someone out there that I reach with my long pieces.
                        I think it's safe enough to say there's already more than one listener around who likes what you do, NS. :thumbsup:

                        But seriously..I know exactly what you mean and I feel the same way myself.

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                        • #13
                          For many years I played in cover bands and got quite used to shorter songs. In fact if something got to the 5+ minute mark it started to get uncomfortable. But that was understandable because in a cover band situation you're trying to cover as much ground as possible in keeping many people with different music tastes happy. When I was writing my own music most of the early material was the same...6 to 7 minutes was the max I would allow. Over time I started composing/producing longer tracks because I felt that those songs needed to be longer. On the few times that I've done 30 minute plus tracks I tend to have different sections or 'movements' each lasting ~10 minutes or however long they needed to be. These were tied together by a common sound motif. So far this has worked well for me. In the end though the song should dictate how long it needs to be. In most cases when I've heard the original length cuts of tracks I've preferred them over the 'radio cut versions'.

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                          • #14
                            My OP-1 limits me to 6 minutes of recording time so if I'm using that, well, I don't go beyond that :D It really just depends on the song, and I will say that working on sklawlor's 1 hour track took a lot longer than I'm really comfortable with and I don't see myself doing something quite that long too often.
                            Meh.

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