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drums in ambient music

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  • aoVI
    replied
    Just a suggestion:

    If you are setting out with the goal of making a piece that could or would fall into the broad category of ambient, don't start with drums as the framework. If the piece feels like it needs or is asking for them, then add them.

    Or conversely, start with a drum beat and then remove it once the structure of the piece is stable on its own.

    I am not suggesting this as a recipe for all ambient pieces, but just in this case or future exercises--seeing what happens.

    Leave a comment:


  • goro
    replied
    bvsmv, doesn't that depend on what you want the track to do? Ambient music draws on a lot of other traditions, and that affects why drums end up in the track. VidnaObmana and Robert Rich are into Eastern and primitive spirituality, and the drums they use reflect that by mimicking those sounds. Another good example are the chillout-room producers that came out of raves, like The Orb or Heavenly Music Corporation, who used drum machines. The music "suggests" the images that go along with it, and those might be really concrete images, like the techno pounding next door, instead of general ones (landscapes, nature).

    This is what I think about, anyway, when making mixes.

    Leave a comment:


  • bvsmv
    replied
    It's funny, I haven't been on the forum in a while because my music I have been making has continued to evolve. I just thought, I want to do ambient again, so do I need to make some tracks without drums? You guys are making me go back and forth. I agree, it's hard to do, but drums can definitely compliment an ambient track in my opinion.

    Leave a comment:


  • goro
    replied
    Originally posted by 3001 View Post
    Originally posted by GaryG View Post
    Originally posted by 3001 View Post
    I have a problem with drums, and not just for ambient, or space, or whatever genre have you. If drums are not tastefully done they end up aging things in a poor way and make them cheesy.
    I guess we're talking about crap 80s snares with tons of gated reverb... Yeah, I can think of recordings ruined by them ('desert' rock band Thin White Rope for instance, great band but the major label recordings certainly had that snare sound...)



    Beyond that though, I think there's a mindset with drums that every pop/rock track must have them in a fairly standard way (kick, snare, hats etc). Obviously guitar rock is pretty formulaic but it seems a lot of songs would benefit from some out of the box thinking regarding rhythm; even just losing the prominent snare maybe.

    I guess the gold standard here is Peter Gabriel 3, no cymbals and much more focus on toms etc.
    Nope i'm talking about modern stuff as well, most of the psy ambient to me turns very cheesy. Not just 80s. I think the problem lies within DAW drums that often use sample packs that are used way too much, and sticks the track within a certain timeframe of when the sample packs and soft synths were used.
    If you take this line of thought far enough, you end up in IDM irregulo-rhythmic territory. My god, the variations that exist. My normal thinking here is that drumlines are either backgrounded or foregrounded, and are brought forward or back depending on the sort of emphasis you want to create. I'm reminded of this track: , the intro sample of which comes from this short BBC documentary: https://soundcloud.com/rogerlinndesi...adio-interview

    The best drumlines for ambient music are unobtrusive as hell. They sneak in and hypnotize. There's a Biosphere set from 2004 in Detroit where he uses two separate, fully articulated drumlines, one panned to the left, the other to the right, over the melody from "The Things I Tell You" and a bassline. But because none of these elements is strong enough to stand on its own the total effect is pure rhythmic ambience.

    Leave a comment:


  • 3001
    replied
    Originally posted by GaryG View Post
    Originally posted by 3001 View Post
    I have a problem with drums, and not just for ambient, or space, or whatever genre have you. If drums are not tastefully done they end up aging things in a poor way and make them cheesy.
    I guess we're talking about crap 80s snares with tons of gated reverb... Yeah, I can think of recordings ruined by them ('desert' rock band Thin White Rope for instance, great band but the major label recordings certainly had that snare sound...)



    Beyond that though, I think there's a mindset with drums that every pop/rock track must have them in a fairly standard way (kick, snare, hats etc). Obviously guitar rock is pretty formulaic but it seems a lot of songs would benefit from some out of the box thinking regarding rhythm; even just losing the prominent snare maybe.

    I guess the gold standard here is Peter Gabriel 3, no cymbals and much more focus on toms etc.
    Nope i'm talking about modern stuff as well, most of the psy ambient to me turns very cheesy. Not just 80s. I think the problem lies within DAW drums that often use sample packs that are used way too much, and sticks the track within a certain timeframe of when the sample packs and soft synths were used.

    Leave a comment:


  • MetaDronos
    replied
    My humble input to this very interesting discussion - my own track which I call ambient, yet it has drums on its whole length:



    In my opinion, "drum ambient" could be quite legit ambient subgenre...

    Leave a comment:


  • GaryG
    replied
    Originally posted by 3001 View Post
    I have a problem with drums, and not just for ambient, or space, or whatever genre have you. If drums are not tastefully done they end up aging things in a poor way and make them cheesy.
    I guess we're talking about crap 80s snares with tons of gated reverb... Yeah, I can think of recordings ruined by them ('desert' rock band Thin White Rope for instance, great band but the major label recordings certainly had that snare sound...)

    Beyond that though, I think there's a mindset with drums that every pop/rock track must have them in a fairly standard way (kick, snare, hats etc). Obviously guitar rock is pretty formulaic but it seems a lot of songs would benefit from some out of the box thinking regarding rhythm; even just losing the prominent snare maybe.

    I guess the gold standard here is Peter Gabriel 3, no cymbals and much more focus on toms etc.

    Leave a comment:


  • seismic1
    replied
    I think somebody was pulling your leg. The perpetrator was obviously none other than Peter Gabriel - The Moribund Burgermeister

    Leave a comment:


  • aoVI
    replied
    Originally posted by seismic1 View Post
    .... Listen to Phil Collins "This Must be Love" (studio version). The conga intro sells you a dummy, whilst the real rhythm down below steals your wallet.
    Phil Collins...is there nothing he won't steal?

    Back in the 80's I put a cheezeburger in the fridge to eat later. A few hours pass, and I went back there only to find the wrapper casually tossed aside.

    We had a friend who was into the occult; she brought over a Ouija board that evening, contacted the spirits and I asked who took the burger.

    The board spelled out "In the Air" and "ginesis" [sic].

    It was obvious at that point Phil Collins stole my burger. I am still holding a grudge.

    True story.

    Leave a comment:


  • seismic1
    replied
    Rhythm doesn't have to be a constraint. Rhythm doesn't have to consist of percussion. Rhythm is often only a matter of perception/deception. Listen to Phil Collins "This Must be Love" (studio version). The conga intro sells you a dummy, whilst the real rhythm down below steals your wallet.

    Don't get me started on King Crimson.

    Leave a comment:


  • 3001
    replied
    I have a problem with drums, and not just for ambient, or space, or whatever genre have you. If drums are not tastefully done they end up aging things in a poor way and make them cheesy. More often than not I find the drums I hear in ambient type stuff awfully cheesy, hippy dippy, and quickly dated. But I would add, I also find wavestation patches awfully corny as well!

    In my opinion Ambient is easy to make, hard to make well. Drums can be added anywhere, but very rarely are they used well in ambient/space/atmospheric stuff, I think the issue is with rhythmic constraints. I like ambient to it's lack of rhythmic constraint, to me I would question drums more for that timing constraint vs the generation of sound.

    Leave a comment:


  • seismic1
    replied
    ...and the beat goes on... :maniac::maniac::maniac:

    Take a look at these hands

    Leave a comment:


  • GaryG
    replied
    :highfive:

    Leave a comment:


  • ambientsketchbook
    replied
    Screenshot_2016-02-10-19-02-03.jpg
    :lol: To quote the great Blake Schwarzenbach: "I was passing out while you were passing out The Rules."

    Leave a comment:


  • GaryG
    replied
    Well citing Eno directly:

    "Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting"

    That says nothing about how the music is constructed or what elements it has. Nothing in there banning drums for example (FWIW I agree drums in ambient are tricky due to the nature of their sounds but not impossible to integrate 'ignorably')

    So anyone making any style of music could make ambient music if their music fulfils that criteria. IMO. I guess I do see ambient as a description rather than a set of rules for defining the genre (y'know how people say eg. House music has to have the four on the floor kick, be of a certain tempo etc?) I don't see Ambient has any of those restrictions, it's a wide open label that, yes, is useful to pull together a lot of different music if a tag or Record Store section is needed but doesn't slavishly impose any restrictions beyond that oft repeated Eno quote.

    Of course, you could be of the opinion that Eno is a total dilettante and ambient is much bigger than him anyway.

    Bigger debate here: http://www.ambientonline.org/forum/s...e-Great-Debate

    Leave a comment:

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