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My first ambient track

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  • My first ambient track

    Hmmm... the title may be a bit of an over-statment.
    It is not actually mine alone, since it is a collab...

    But it certainly is the first time I have consciously set out to create an ambient piece - and ended up with a finished musical piece that kind of fitted what I was trying to do.

    https://soundcloud.com/alienxxx/a-wa...the-dark-final

    You guys here are the experts. So your comments (good and bad) would be appreciated.
    Is it ambient enough, or just ambient-ish? Or not at all?

    Thank you for your comments.

  • #2
    Good effort, though the track doesn't really fit my personal definition of ambient; there's too much rhythm and beat-work, ambient is meant to be slow. But then I guess the genre is expanding, but whether that's a good or bad thing can be debated all day. Myself, I'm a bit of an ambient purist, as you may be able to tell. Therefore the mislabelling does grind on me, but that's not a criticism of your work. A good track for a first try, so well done.
    https://thegreatschizm.bandcamp.com

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    • #3
      This is what would be considered "dark electronic" music, not ambient. The track is definitely good though.

      There are elements here that would work well in ambient music, such as the vocals, and background noise. The persistent beat and repeating melody is where the problem lies. It's not that ambient doesn't have beats, but they typically are more subtle, droning types of sounds. The melodies in ambient are typically slower. Check out some of the member releases around here for examples.

      Still a good track.
      https://soundcloud.com/jacobmichaelpeterwelch/on-the-other-side

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you guys for your clear comments and your honesty.
        I feared the track might not qualify as ambient...
        The closest I can think of is Vangelis, which to me is ambient... - Although, of course, I am miles away from the quality of Vangelis.

        Of course, I know the more "drone-like" type of ambient pieces. Which I actually like.
        My problem is that I have never been able to compose a music like that (yet). I get lost without the normal musical references (i.e. rhythm). Also, whenever I made a start with this kind of piece, never was able to turn it into a finished work. - Not enough variation ( a.k.a. boring), too much variation (a.k.a disjointed), etc...
        Maybe some of the pieces were not as boring as I they sounded to me. That is possibly a result of listening to the piece over and over as I was building it...

        Anyway, this is the closest I got to "ambient". Work in progress :-)
        Last edited by AlienXXX; 11-16-2014, 04:07 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by AlienXXX View Post
          Maybe some of the pieces were not as boring as I they sounded to me. That is possibly a result of listening to the piece over and over as I was building it...
          I always let my projects sit for a day or two before I do a final listen and upload. It's a lot like writing, work in stages: outline, rough draft, edited draft, let it rest, final copy.

          Everyone has a different approach around here, though, so be sure to read through the "theory" threads. Most importantly, make the kind of music that YOU would listen to! I always assume that no one is listening, and that I'm only making it for myself.

          Good luck!
          https://soundcloud.com/jacobmichaelpeterwelch/on-the-other-side

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          • #6
            I know what you mean. A creator arguably can never experience their own music the way another listener would, as they have seen it through all stages of construction. That happens to me often.
            Maybe you could try something generative; that's the classic Eno approach to ambient. Eno spoke of how this kind of music should be extremely economical, starting with a few simple rules and letting the music evolve and make itself. My first proper ambient track was made in this way (http://thegreatschizm.bandcamp.com/track/cloud-hunter).
            https://thegreatschizm.bandcamp.com

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Cloud Hunter View Post
              I know what you mean. A creator arguably can never experience their own music the way another listener would, as they have seen it through all stages of construction. That happens to me often.
              Maybe you could try something generative; that's the classic Eno approach to ambient. Eno spoke of how this kind of music should be extremely economical, starting with a few simple rules and letting the music evolve and make itself. My first proper ambient track was made in this way (http://thegreatschizm.bandcamp.com/track/cloud-hunter).
              A fantastic idea. Thank you!
              Many years ago I created an effects chain in Reason with a feedback loop. Once it was fed a sound (any sound) it would from that point generate an endless evolving warble of (generally pleasant) sounds.
              I probably would not be happy recording that and calling it a piece. But could certainly provide the backbone for a track.
              Time to go back to the drawing board and create such an effect chain again. I might even be able to find the original one in my hard drive!

              An interesting aspect to this is that these effects chains can contain tempo synced effects - so they can, to an extent, be made to follow a certain rhythmic flow.

              Another interesting technique I am exploring at the moment is to pick a pre-made "drone type" sample. One that already contains a rhytmic flow of its own to which other elements can then be latched on. This sample can then simply be looped. Variation to be provided by filtering / effects and the other elements of the piece.

              Comment


              • #8
                When I'm looking for a simple drone, I take the easy route: Generate a click track, then stretch, delay, pitch shift and add reverb to my liking.
                https://soundcloud.com/jacobmichaelpeterwelch/on-the-other-side

                Comment


                • #9
                  You can get a lot of mileage (and sonic interest) from just three or four drones by using different lengths for each drone, mixing odd and even numbers of bars or perhaps using prime numbers only. The idea is that each drone repeats at different points relative to the other drones. Difficult to get this across in words...here's a very simplistic example:

                  Drone 1: 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4
                  Drone 2: 1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5

                  So the first time you hear bar 1 of drone 1, it's layered with bar 1 of drone 2. Similarly, bar 2 drone 1 is layered with bar 2 drone 2 and so on until bar 4.
                  When drone 1 repeats, bar 1 is layered with bar 5 of drone 1, meaning that bar 2 drone 1 is now layered with bar 1 of drone 2 etc. The two drones aren't 'in sync' with each other until drone 1 has repeated 5 times.

                  This just illustrates the principle - you can easily make it more complex by using longer bar lengths, starting other layers at different bar numbers, or different beat numbers within the bar, or even ignore bar/beat divisions completely if there is no rhythmic element. Hope that helps
                  My new album is available now, here: https://thoughtexperiment.bandcamp.c.../supersymmetry
                  Check out my (hopelessly out-of-date) SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/thought_experiment

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                  • #10
                    Here is another atempt at ambient music.
                    https://soundcloud.com/alienxxx/the-begining-v4-master

                    The whole track was built around a drone sound from Freesound.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Thought Experiment View Post
                      You can get a lot of mileage (and sonic interest) from just three or four drones by using different lengths for each drone, mixing odd and even numbers of bars or perhaps using prime numbers only. The idea is that each drone repeats at different points relative to the other drones. Difficult to get this across in words...here's a very simplistic example:

                      Drone 1: 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4
                      Drone 2: 1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5

                      So the first time you hear bar 1 of drone 1, it's layered with bar 1 of drone 2. Similarly, bar 2 drone 1 is layered with bar 2 drone 2 and so on until bar 4.
                      When drone 1 repeats, bar 1 is layered with bar 5 of drone 1, meaning that bar 2 drone 1 is now layered with bar 1 of drone 2 etc. The two drones aren't 'in sync' with each other until drone 1 has repeated 5 times.

                      This just illustrates the principle - you can easily make it more complex by using longer bar lengths, starting other layers at different bar numbers, or different beat numbers within the bar, or even ignore bar/beat divisions completely if there is no rhythmic element. Hope that helps
                      See also http://www.ambientonline.org/forum/s...-in-sequencing
                      SoundCloud // FreeSound // Twitter
                      Get exposure for your electronic music through WEATNU.COM independent promotion network.
                      "Shortwave" - collaboration album with Ager Sonus

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AlienXXX View Post
                        Here is another atempt at ambient music.
                        https://soundcloud.com/alienxxx/the-begining-v4-master

                        The whole track was built around a drone sound from Freesound.
                        Nice track this, you should definitely keep at the ambient.
                        https://soundcloud.com/negativespectrum

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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MetaDronos View Post
                          Originally posted by Thought Experiment View Post
                          You can get a lot of mileage (and sonic interest) from just three or four drones by using different lengths for each drone, mixing odd and even numbers of bars or perhaps using prime numbers only. The idea is that each drone repeats at different points relative to the other drones. Difficult to get this across in words...here's a very simplistic example:

                          Drone 1: 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4
                          Drone 2: 1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5

                          So the first time you hear bar 1 of drone 1, it's layered with bar 1 of drone 2. Similarly, bar 2 drone 1 is layered with bar 2 drone 2 and so on until bar 4.
                          When drone 1 repeats, bar 1 is layered with bar 5 of drone 1, meaning that bar 2 drone 1 is now layered with bar 1 of drone 2 etc. The two drones aren't 'in sync' with each other until drone 1 has repeated 5 times.

                          This just illustrates the principle - you can easily make it more complex by using longer bar lengths, starting other layers at different bar numbers, or different beat numbers within the bar, or even ignore bar/beat divisions completely if there is no rhythmic element. Hope that helps
                          See also http://www.ambientonline.org/forum/s...-in-sequencing
                          I have used this principle previously to create polyrhythms or to have a synth line that runs "at a different pace" from the drum and/or bassline.
                          Have not yet applied it to drones, but I will. - I am still very new to ambient music.

                          Thank you to all for your comments and encouragement.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Keep at it. Hard to lose the beats. I struggle letting go sometimes, but definitely try the layering up of drone approach cos it works
                            It's all an illusion.

                            https://soundcloud.com/skyhighdiamonds

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