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drums in ambient music

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  • GaryG
    replied
    I guess I treat 'ambient' like a meta tag; not describing the music per se but a quality it has.

    If you say ambient can only be ambient if it has long, slow synth passages, maybe similarly sounding guitars, no percussion etc etc then I'd say you're describing a genre not a descriptor. If some doom metal band slowed right down, dropped the harsh elements, only used subtle percussion then they could quite possibly be creating ambient music. If we're going to quote Eno then as long as it's deep, multi-layered but also quite ignorable then it could be classed as ambient. In fact, going by his original definition, I'd say most of the music presented here isn't ambient... (controversy! )

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  • noise_construct
    replied
    Originally posted by Yuroun View Post
    For me Ambient music is representing a mood or idea, capturing moments or feelings with sounds. So, if a piece needs drums then use them.

    I use now a days a lot of drums in my tracks and I still call it ambient :-)

    https://soundcloud.com/yuroun/electro-groove
    But surely you could call it bluegrass, bossa nova or yodlcore and it wouldn't be any more misleading? Your tune has a bassline and a drumbeat, and nothing that would remind me of any ambient music I've heard.

    I mean if it isn't ambient music why call it ambient? There's plenty of other genres that would be more appropriate, like electro or downtempo. Classifying your music is a service to the listener, especially important now in the internet age when music is all searched.

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  • Yuroun
    replied
    For me Ambient music is representing a mood or idea, capturing moments or feelings with sounds. So, if a piece needs drums then use them.

    I use now a days a lot of drums in my tracks and I still call it ambient :-)

    https://soundcloud.com/yuroun/electro-groove

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  • noise_construct
    replied
    This is like asking if there's big room techno without a beat, is it classical music if it's 180bpm with downtuned guitars, drum kit, bass and black metal vocals and is it rap music if there's no rap, just a banjo.

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  • Ahornberg
    replied
    for me it's ambient

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  • Ambire Seiche
    replied
    I'd classify the digital crickets track as experimental techno, it reminds me more of Autechre than FSOL's or The Orb's cross-genre brands of ambient techno

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  • pipewrench67
    replied
    While exploring the site I came across this discussion, which of course, made me want to do something ambient with drums.
    I came up with this, all original sound sources are (virtual) percussion instruments.


    Not sure if it qualifies as ambient to everyone or not (I really liked the original poly-rhythmic percussion pattern and may use it with more prominence in the near future).
    Interested in what others think.
    Does this qualify as ambient?
    Last edited by pipewrench67; 01-19-2016, 01:07 AM.

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  • betadecay
    replied
    Drum samples in dark ambient (which is somehow a descendant of industrial) are acceptable to me. But if it comes to drum loops... no, this is nor more ambient then.

    Eno's motivation do make "Music for Airports" was to create a music, that could serve as a kind of backgound music, which can be interrupted at any time to allow for the many announces on airports - without creating a noticeable gap in the music (and therefore must be non-narrative). To me, music with prominent drum loops can not fulfill these requirements and therefore cannot be called ambient.

    There seems to be a certain tendency to call some IDM stuff ambient today...

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  • el-bo
    replied
    Originally posted by aoVI View Post
    I believe drums have no place in ambient, until they do.

    :biggrin:

    i think this fails the eno test i.e that percussion totally pulls focus :fence:

    these days, the words ambient and atmospheric seem to be interchangeable. and while i don't like the idea of rigidity, especially in music, it can be helpful that genres are well-defined. it's funny that in the edm world you only have to increase the bpm of your song to create a new genre, and it's just accepted. however, suggesting that something is not properly ambient, is seen as somehow rigid, and pompous

    music can have ambient qualities, but not be ambient, and there are genres that encompass this type of thing

    i am a complete noob when it comes to ambient, despite always referring to my music as 'kinda ambient-y'. i've come to believe it's a lazy definition (wrt to my music), and just not true. i have only realised this since i have tried to make ambient music. ambient, at least for me, is difficult. it's the complete antithesis of everything that i have picked up (not studied) about music composition. no 'hook', melody, lead, beat; nothing pulling focus (at least, not for long enough that you can start to dance or hum to it)

    the real discipline, imo, is to just let the sound breathe, and not impose 'structure' onto it, or try to contain it.. it doesn't help that our daw's are mainly set up for loop-based, or at least grid-based, workflow. ambient seems best living off-the-grid

    i'm yet to succeed in my endeavours, but i am still gonna try. 'ambient', by the eno definition, is great as an unlearning process, and i am really glad for it. it would be a shame to lose it

    having said all that, and to the op, i don't why percussive elements shouldn't be in ambient music. however, once they become a repeated pattern, then maybe that just ain't ambient anymore

    ..................................................

    TL;DR: if you can dance to it, or whistle it, then it ain't ambient (runs for cover)
    Last edited by el-bo; 11-07-2015, 11:59 AM.

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  • chaosWyrM
    replied
    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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  • synkrotron
    replied
    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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  • betadecay
    replied
    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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  • ID_23
    replied
    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!

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  • Beneath A Tree That Died
    replied
    Hah, cheers for posting. Amazing albums.

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  • Ahornberg
    replied
    after listening to Leylines by Aes Dana I think I know what you mean ...

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