Ambient Music at Netizens Cyberstop

What does ambient music mean to me? To simply divide it into the two categories of beatless and beatful music seems silly. To me, what is central is the creation of a mood or atmosphere. Tie that with mind-candy aesthics and you found my love for ambient. Ambient is a mind music which might inspire dancing but which preferably demand full mental attention.

While rhymth is not central to ambient electronic music, nor does it not play a role. Where I feel rhymth does not fit with ambient is where it lies down the central element, the beat which is central in most dance musics. Let rhymth/beat-oriented music come under dance or lite trance. Ambient which uses rhymth creatively and confusingly -- say not sticking to 4/4 feels good. Dance music is very much body music - something a lot of people simply can get up and groove to - it can come naturally and quickly. Ambient is much more 'head' music - it does not necessarily come quickly, but takes time to sych with and understand. However, just as much of a rush dance music is, so can ambient music be. Once your mind follows the paths laid out in front of you, you will understand what I mean.

Listening to my ambient radio show, Electronic Ambrosia, you are just as likely to hear Tangerine Dream, the Orb or something on the Fax label, as you might hear Dead Can Dance, the Cocteau Twins, Praxis or Syd Barrett. The "electronic" in the title is a misnomer as I am interested in eclectic atmospheres more than any tie to techno. Note however, music like Orbital, Plastikman and Hardfloor fits in their own special way too. Enjoy. One radio show example that I love is Hearts of Space on public radio (WNYC - 97.3 in NYC). This show is an hour of music with no spoken interuptions and provides a variety of music which fills an atmosphere.

For more information about Ambient music -- connect to Hyperreal's Epsilon Ambient Music Information Archive, or Sheldon Drake's Ambient page.

Return to either the Netizens Cyberstop or my music page.

Michael Hauben <>
Last modified: Mon Dec 15 21:00 1997