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  • drums in ambient music

    what are your opinions about using drums in ambient music?

    I seldom use drums, sometimes melodic toms ... the lack of harmonic and melodic possibilities lets me stay away from drums.
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  • #2
    Percussion? To me anything goes. I don't care much for the etymology of Ambient Music and whether or not a given instrument, style, meter or scale system adheres to someones definition.

    What I do care about is whether it fits both thematically and tonally in the piece.

    I bet there is a way to fit a 145 bpm snare pattern (techno) into ambient. Just have to find the right hammer.

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    • #3
      Personally, I think proper ambient should not contain any form of beat. Indeed, I went through a hardcore ambient phase where I would avoid listening to anything that contained such. But recently, I have been experimenting with drum patterns in my own music. They're mostly very soft and distant-sounding, but I've tried to implement ambient elements to them. For example, have different patterns or sequences repeat at different intervals, then leave them to intertwine with one another as they go. It works well as long as you keep the timings right. Though any of my music that contains such percussive elements I do not label as ambient.

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      • #4
        Without sparking another 'what is ambient' debate, I guess this boils down to your definition of ambient. If it's broadly speaking the Eno definition then as long as the drums are 'ignorable' then they're fine. It's tricky because drums are obviously percussive so have that edge that makes them stand out. I guess that's why I stick to synth drums (easily tailored) or brush kits etc. I don't think having a beat automatically disqualifies a track as Ambient (like there's some international committee judging what is and isn't ambient ;)), just it's prominence.
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        • #5
          FSOL-school. I am a reactionary young whippersnapper wit' attitude.
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          • #6
            I believe drums have no place in ambient, until they do.

            :biggrin:

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            • #7
              indeed ... so many processed subtle/soft percussion and also some pulsating processing of just sound sources can work nicely - as said, depending on one's definition of ambient...
              And sometimes the "drums" may be completely something else - reminds me of Mike Oldfield's Guitars album where even percussion allegedly came from processed guitar sounds... of course not that it is an ambient album
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              • #8
                I believe drums and percussion elements have their place in ambient music.

                Listen to anything by Aes Dana. I highly recommend his Aftermath album or Leylines. Lots of percussive elements/drums, but yet sooo very ambient. It almost sounds "tribal" in some tracks...

                Still wondering how he processes his pads/atmospheres or field recordings... I wonder how the hell he gets some of the sounds he designs.:daydream:

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Beneath A Tree That Died View Post
                  I believe drums and percussion elements have their place in ambient music.

                  Listen to anything by Aes Dana. I highly recommend his Aftermath album or Leylines. Lots of percussive elements/drums, but yet sooo very ambient. It almost sounds "tribal" in some tracks...

                  Still wondering how he processes his pads/atmospheres or field recordings... I wonder how the hell he gets some of the sounds he designs.:daydream:
                  https://youtu.be/QWQURGd3ub4

                  https://youtu.be/3eoTTyeRX6A
                  ahornberg.bandcamp.com
                  soundcloud.com/ahornberg

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                  • #10
                    after listening to Leylines by Aes Dana I think I know what you mean ...
                    ahornberg.bandcamp.com
                    soundcloud.com/ahornberg

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                    • #11
                      Hah, cheers for posting. Amazing albums.

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                      • #12
                        Great points being raised here, thanks for the Aes Dana info too... Great stuff!
                        personally I don't mind some rhythmic percussive elements, but 4/4 relentlessly pounding maybe not!
                        https://soundcloud.com/id_23

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                        • #13
                          Drums may work fine in ambient music - Phelios used drum loops and right now I am listening to Cryo Chamber's new album on SC:

                          https://soundcloud.com/cryo-chamber/atrium-carceri-black-needle

                          https://soundcloud.com/cryo-chamber/...across-the-sea

                          And I like the percussive sounds there...
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                          • #14
                            An interesting discussion, for someone who is only just embarking upon ambient music...

                            I personally think that some percussive elements would work well in this genre. I'm thinking of cymbals for instance. And the hand percussion in the Eno example worked very well for me.

                            Listening to Aftermath kind of challenges what I thought was the idea of ambient music, but then again, the only "ambient" music I have in my collection is Music for Airports (and I always forget about Cathedral Oceans by John Foxx).

                            Most other stuff I listen to, and produce myself, has elements of ambient in them, but once that determined rhythm starts, for me, that's the end of the ambient bit.

                            Drums, though... Interesting that... I guess, as has been mentioned above, if they are not "in your face," then, why not?
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                            • #15
                              i think anything can be appropriate. as far as im concerned...if it sounds good, and it fits within the composition, then it works.
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