Saturday, April 5, 2008

Can somebody please direct me to the chill out room?

I’ve recently found myself listening to a lot of ambient music. It’s something I’ve long had a soft spot for; now that I think about it, it actually predates my interest in dance music.

When I’m in the mood for ambient music, I’m usually not in the mood to play DJ. I don’t want to dig through CDs, vinyl, and MP3 files; I’d much rather someone else do that for me (preferably while I lounge about in a beanbag). As a consequence I’ve been searching about online for mixes of ambient material, but I’ve come up almost empty-handed.

As well as making me a little annoyed, this has gotten me thinking about the relationship between ambient and dance music. Once upon a time they held hands quite comfortably. Remember the days of the chill out room? It used to be de rigueur for parties to have a side room dedicated to relaxing soundscapes. Now they’re gone.

In a recent interview over at the Mutek site, Stefan Betke (better known to you and I as Pole) said something very similar as he lamented the lack of diversity in electronic music.

“For me, the electronic music scene and how it was ten years ago there was a lot of diverse places and different things. Even in the same club you had a main room and an ambient floor where you heard something totally weird, and I have no idea why this isn’t existing anymore.”

The man has a point. Remember when dance labels and producers released ambient records? Remember Mille Plateaux releasing ambient albums by Wolfgang Voigt (the sublime Gas releases, which set the blueprint for the Kompakt Pop Ambient sound), Robert Babicz, Donnacha Costello? (“Together Is The New Alone” still ranks as one of my favourite albums … I could listen to “Dry Retch” on repeat endlessly.) Remember Richie Hawtin teaming up with Pete Namlook for the From Within albums?

Looking back, it appears that the relationship between ambient and dance music was largely a 90s thing, with a slight carry-over into the early 2000s. Today, Kompakt is one of the few dance labels that still flies an ambient flag. For the most part, ambient has become somewhat distanced from dance music, with such music mostly appearing on ambient-only labels, or on "home listening electronica" labels such as Type, Leaf, and City Centre Offices.

Why did ambient and dance music fall out of love with each other? Why are there so few ambient mixes to be found online? What happened to the chill out rooms?

In honour of the chill out rooms of yesteryear, and the first step in creating a virtual chill out room of our own, I’d like to present two ambient mixes that have caught my attention.

A little while ago I mentioned how much I was enjoying Bvdub’s productions. When I wrote that I had only just stumbled across the mixes on his site. I still haven’t listened to them all, but one that I’ve been listening to repeatedly is the final mix, “A Willing End.” A little over an hour long, it’s a gorgeous mix that starts with warm static (bringing to mind Tim Hecker), moves into some lovely sombre strings, and finishes off with some delicate piano. Overall a very warm, comforting mix.

The second is a 2006 mix by microsound artist Richard Chartier, which you can stream from the WPS1 website. Where the Bvdub mix is warm, this mix is a little colder, mostly using artists from the 12K and Raster-Noton labels, such as Fourcolor, Motion, Sogar, Taylor Deupree, and William Basinski (although he also uses artist such as Laurie Anderson, Chris Carter, Nurse With Wound, and Zoviet France). Some may find this mix a touch too eerie at times, but it’s sublime listening for those who want a hint of darkness to their ambience.

Consider this post an open call. If you know of any ambient mixes floating around that you think are particularly good, please let us know. Let’s carve out a virtual chill out room together.


  1. please visit my collection of ambient mixes.

    try 'singing speaking sounding' or 'weird and alive in 2005'

    thanks for listening!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. i love ambient stuff too, though i tend to dig it in album format instead of deejay mixes. im gonna check that bvdub mix, but also rememeber that the deepchord guys are doing alot of really nice ambient albums as well, that newest rod modell is a good one.

    i have a chill mix, not really ambient per se until the very end, but heavily atmospheric and very slow. check it here.

  4. investigate detroit's paxahau. a nice intersection between the familiar detroit sounds and their more chill leanings. there's some great ambient mixes archived in their past shows. also 'tune in' for the best in pastoral bliss.

    thanks for being around mnml ssgs.

  5. I've got an ambient mix or two on my site under the mixes tab in the menu. You might especially like Absolute Zero.

    Also, recently I asked a similar question of the 313 mailing list over at hyperreal, and came up with this extensive list of contemporary ambient artists/labels, most of which I haven't had a chance to check out yet:

    ambient labels:
    kranky records, thinner, autoplate,
    elektrolux, touch

    growing, brian mcbride, chris herbert, windy & carl, loscil,
    sans soleil, shuttle 358, thomas koner, opium, chain reaction, manual, swod, city centre offices,
    danny kreutzfeldt, rob modell,
    sonic continuum, autonomous music project, radio fore, michael mantra, Bill Nelson, susumu yakota, rei harakami, Jasper TX, Kaada, Johann Johannsson, Klimek, Marsen Jules, Mountains, Tim Hecker, Detroit Escalator Company, Sean Deason, Tony Drake, Engineers, Piano Magic Fridge, Mono, The Drift, Eluvium, Sybarite, Fennesz

  6. Cameron, you may enjoy this one... it's by Chloe Harris (not to be confused with DJ Chloe). She does a show on Proton, and I picked up this mix through 4four. Lovely mix, and has the added bonus of containing Vladislav Delay's "I Saw a Polysexual". Nice!

  7. Terre Thaemlitz' top ten:

    Listed in alphabetical order.

    * Babicz, Robert. MoMente. (Germany: Mille Plateaux, 1998. MPCD57).
    * Dumb Type. [O/R]. (Japan: Foil Records, 1998. DTOR).
    * Gastr Del Sol. Camofleur. (US: Drag City, 1998. DC133CD).
    * Kuniyoshi-Kuhn, Akemi. Motion-E-Motion. (UK: Leo Records, 1988. LR 155).
    * Rimbaud, Robin (a.k.a. Scanner). The Garden Is Full Of Metal. (UK: Sub Rosa, 1998. SR104.).
    * Roberts, Dean. All Cracked Medias (Germany: Mille Plateaux, 1998. MP59).
    * Ultra-red, Second Nature: An Electroacoustic Pastoral. (Germany: Mille Plateaux, 1999. MP62).
    * Various. Modulation & Transformation 4. (Germany: Mille Plateaux, 1999.).
    * Various. Super Best of Alfa Ambient Collection. (Japan: Alfa, 1998. ALCA 5115/5116).
    * World Standard. Country Gazette. (Japan: Daisyworld Discs, and US: Asphodel, 1998. Asphodel 0982).

    More charts here:

    Anyone else got a rough top ten?

  8. KLF - Chill Out

    Robert Fripp - Let the Power Fall

    Robert Fripp - God Save the Queen

    Gas - Pop, Zauberberg, Koeningsforst

    Donnacha Costello - Together is the New Alone

    The Orb - Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld

    Mouse on Mars - Glam (this is perhaps my favourite album)

    Tortoise - Tortoise

    Aphex - Selected Ambient Works I & II

    Pole - Blue, Red, Yellow

    Porterricks - Porterricks

    Fennesz - Endless Summer

    Oren Ambarchi - Grapes from the Estate

    Ekkehard Ehlers - Plays

    Shuttle 358 - Frame

    Shuttle 358 - Understanding Wildlife

    Oval - 94 Diskont

    Monolake - Gobi

    The Buddha Machine

    gosh, these are just some that suggest themselves immediately...

  9. nice post cam. and thanks for the suggestions guys...

    i think you are on to something with the disconnect between the two. at least in my own case, i know i used to listen to a lot of ambient, but stopped quite a few years ago and have never really gone back. at the time - and this comment could be incredibly wrong so i may retract it later - but it struck me that ambient was rather stale. the last thing i remember getting really excited about were william basinski's 'disintegration loops'. raster norton have kept on doing innovative stuff (i think) but i have never been able to connect with their sound palette.

    in recent times, i've been needing some ambient (due to the sorry state of my head) and it has mainly deep dub techno that i've been listening to, which is not quite the same. one notable exception is the album pipecock mentions: rod modell's 'insense and black light'. probably the best album i've heard this year.

    in my search for new ambient, i came across this new net album (free!) from an australian artist, deepspace. on two listens, i really liked it. you can grab it here:


    also, if you to to his homepage, you can find quite a few links to ambient stuff there:


    it looks like the ambient cyber world is a bit separate/removed from the techno one, which suggests the disconnect does exist. and looking through the comments - and i mean this not in a negative or critical sense - but many of the suggestions made are more obvious/connected with the techno world (broadly understood).

    anyway, this is a good first step. hopefully we'll get a full blown ssg chill room in effect!

  10. damn. i always screw up html links. hopefully these will work:

    subantartic sessions ep

    deepspace home

  11. pete - the records you list pretty much reinforce the original point. how many, if any, of them are from this millennium? the most recent are perhaps early 2000s... so this comes back to cam's question, where has it all gone?

  12. I think part of it is: there *is* no chill out room.

    And I think it's linked to this:

    The ravespace has evaporated; and all the utopian openness with it. Let's face it, the dance lifeworld has been fully colonised by the market system.

    It's ended up in the clubs, and clubs have ended up in the toilet... and the toilet is under surveillance.

    'Electronic dance music' now mostly takes place in an incredibly conformist, conservative space designed for people to consume hedonism - and if you don't wanna consume, or can't, then you're out.

    'Electronic dance music' is a gated community.

    'Electronic dance music' is ribbed for her pleasure, and rolled on for your safety.

    'Electronic dance music' goes better with coke.

    ...and the beers are really, really expensive.

  13. This is a list from the ambient at hyperreal mail list.
    BRIAN ENO/HAROLD BUDD - The Pearl (6 Votes)
    ENO - Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror (3 Votes)
    COIL - Time Machines (3 Votes)
    JAMES JOHNSON/STEPHEN PHILLIPS - Lost at Dunn's Lake from (3 Votes)
    ENO - Discreet Music (2 Votes)
    SUSUMU YOKOTA - Sakura (2 Votes)
    BIOSPHERE - Substrata
    ROBERT RICH - Somnium
    STEVE ROACH - Quiet Music
    HAROLD BUDD - La Bella Vista
    HAROLD BUDD -Three Pianos
    PATRICK O'HEARN (No particular album)
    TETSU INOUE World Receiver.
    HAROLD BUDD/COCTEAU TWINS - The Moon and the Melodies
    ENO - Music For Airports
    OöPHOI - Spirals of Time
    STARS OF THE LID - The Tired Sounds of Stars Of The Lid

    JOHN SERRIE - And the Stars Go With You
    BARRAMUNDI - An Introduction To A Cooler World
    MUSLIMGAUZE - Azzazin
    HAFLER TRIO - Kill the King
    JEFF GREINKE - Cities in Fog

    JON MARK - The Standing Stones of Callanish
    TIM STORY - Beguiled
    DANNA AND CLEMENT - North of Niagara
    JEFF PEARCE - The Hidden Rift
    PATRICK O'HEARN - Metaphor
    ROBERT RICH - Rainforest
    JEFF GREINKE - In Another Place

    Stephan Mathieu - The Sad Mac
    Mitchell Akiyama - If night is a weed...
    Tim Hecker - Haunt me
    Giuseppe Ielasi - August
    Brian Eno - Apollo 3

    Eyeless In Gaza - Pale Hands I Loved So Well
    NNC - Fosen
    Zoviet-France - Shouting At The Ground
    David Sylvian & Holger Czukay - Plight & Premonition
    Klaus Schulze - Cyborg
    Tangerine Dream - Zeit
    Brian Eno - On Land & Apollo
    Inoyama Land - Danzindan Pojidon
    Hosono Haruomi - Mercuric Dance
    Will Sergeant - Themes For Grind
    Mirror - Eye Of The Storm
    Cluster - Sowiesoso
    Spacecraft (the French one from the 1970s) - Paradoxe

  14. The eno/harold budd stuff is amazing, mainly because of it's use of space, but also it's mainly 'real' instuments and loads of reverb. Reminds of a bit of moodyman productions at times. There are so many 'lush' pad machines that most ambient in the late 90's missed the point and became korg work/wavestation noodlings.
    Real ambient = pre-1984 (i say that tongue in cheek)

  15. I just read Phillip Sherburne's most recent post (titled 'Beta Days'), which included this wonderful part:

    "...noise ordinances were noise ordinances, and open containers were deemed unaccountably threatening. Fines were levied; the kibosh was put."

    Is there a connection between ambience and openness?

    Between stylistic conservatism and actual authoritarianism?

    Has capitalism foreclosed on our house?

  16. Interesting post.I had similar thoughts last year:

    'Do a search for ambient mixes and you’ll find about a million and a half links - of course not all go to DJ mixes, but it’s surprising to see just how many sets are out there. Unfortunately (with the odd exception) they're mostly insipid 'chillout' mixes, conforming to the Cafe del Mar Ibiza sunset post-rave definition of ambient - all soft sounds and rounded corners, texturally deficient, with no dissonance, darkness or dirt to unsettle the comedowns of their intended audience. This is 'Big chill' mixing with no contrasts, just a restricted range of complimentary colours - in many cases a sickly palette of pastels perfectly suited for soporific consumption.'

    And without wanting to spam you with too much stuff, heres all of our ambient sets, ranging from classic electronica to Krautrock and full on 6 deck mixes:

    You should also check out Blogariddims for a couple of nice ambient classical sets from Tim rambler and Soundslike - theres a new one from Tim due on monday as well...

  17. ambient's not dead, you just need to scrape away the crap compilations with chicks in bikinis on them. experimenation and adventure done in for lifestyle oriented compilations.

    Droid's mixes are a brilliant example of the zone I've been trying to poke at for over a decade. Texture and stimuli was the point as opposed to sticking a slowed down amen behind a folk-song.

    I'll whore myself out for the moment

  18. pete - can you expand a bit more on why it is capitalism's fault? that seems like a bit of knee-jerk marxism kicking it. i understand roughly the point you are getting at, but i think it is more than that.

    as cam pointed out in his original post, why have people like donnacha costello stopped making ambient? why dont parties have chill rooms, but rather two or three rooms of similar sounds?

  19. Check out all the free mixes (and the sublime releases of) Type Records.

    The Deaf Center album is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.

  20. Hi,

    I have been producing music for around six years but have really focussed it towards the Ambient/musique concrete/audio-art/experimental genres over the last year.

    I wrote a quote on how to listen to Ambient, as it does not work in the same way as most well-known music genres; it is different. To new-comers, it can be difficult to listen to and understand...

    "Ambient Music is certainly not for those who seek instant musical gratification.
    Instead of the music coming right at you and forcing a reaction, it is music that needs to be carefully explored to reveal its inner charm.

    It takes time to understand, as if you were getting to know someone shy.
    Popular music is garish, very loud and in your face. It is not subtle.
    Ambient hides away peacefully and is very reserved.

    It's like a modelling kit:
    Rather than arriving unpacked and pre-built, it requires its consumer to un-pack and assemble it for themselves.
    If you don't bother to assemble it, it will remain on the shelf and you will not reap the rewards it hides shyly from you.

    At first it may seem dull. But are you REALLY listening?
    The people who REALLY listen patiently will discover this inner beauty for themselves."

    All of my compositions/experiments/recordings etc are available for free download at:

    I have two releases on, also available for free download. One is a 2 track E.P, the other is a conceptual artist alum.

    Audio Gourmet

  21. Hi everyone,

    Wow ... thanks for the tips and links! Muchly appreciated. I had no idea there were so many ambient-heads out there ... but I'm very glad to know there are!

    Okay, must sleep now, but some individual responses and further thoughts soon.


  22. hey try this page

    chris whaley's mixes are great
    not all of them are chilout/ambient
    but most are simply good music to chill and also mixed really good
    like this one here

    selected & arranged by christopher whaley
    autumn 2005

    1. Bad Loop - Your Blue Eyes [Kahvi]
    2. 7 Hurtz - 3 Sisters [Output]
    3. Pinza - Irrelevance [Kahvi]
    4. Aleksi Virta - Whirlwind Pistols Dub [Monotonik]
    5. Roots Manuva - Witness (Walworth Rd Rockers Dub) [Big Dada]
    6. DJ Olive & Earwig - Crossunder [theAgriculture]
    7. Tycho - Sunrise Projector [Gammaphone]
    8. Kunstner5 - Danish Supermen [Observatory Online]
    9. Bad Loop - Lumme [Kahvi]
    10. Jenglander - Mum’s Snow Day [Kikapu]
    11. Tycho - Red Bridge [Iso50]
    12. Seefeel - Time to Find Me (AFX remix) [Warp]
    13. Skybax - A Flowering Sea [Kahvi]
    14. Ulrich Schnauss - In All the Wrong Places [Morr Music]
    14.5 Mitch Hedberg - Base Camp [r.i.p.]
    15. Boom Bip - Last Walk Around Mirror Lake [Lex]
    (Boards of Canada remix)


  23. thanks for all of the suggestions - look forward to trying many of them out.

    what i found really interesting about cam's post was not so much the question of 'where's the ambient?' but 'where is it in relation to techno?'. techno and ambient were always closely related and interactive - the chill out room being the physical representation/manifestation of this - but it seems now that the relationship is different.

    what happened? why the disconnect?

  24. I want to re-focus the discussion here.

    With all due respect to everyone who's provided us with links, the post was not really saying 'whatever happened to ambient' per se.

    Of course people are still producing ambient of various kinds.

    The title of the post was not

    'Can somebody please direct me to their chill out WEBSITE'

    but rather that ambient has become disconnected from its social outlet point. It certainly exists on our hard drives and our head spaces, but we're talking about a social disconnection, people.

    The first comment in the section on the RA site has one possible response:

    The question I ask is:

    Why have the drugs changed? Why are people doing more coke? We can either offer a 'just so' response and say "cos people are doing more coke" or "cos it's available" - but could it be a symptom?

    I want to know:

    It seems like a certain kind of SOCIAL SPACE has evaporated. If that is the case, what might that be indicative of?

    And no, the popularity of 'The Big Chill' is not an indication to the contrary.

    I urge you all to read Phillip Sherburne's most recent piece about the closure of the betalounge. This is much more to the point.

    This is not to say we don't thank you all for the links, but the sheer mass of chill out SITES as opposed to chill out ROOMS appears to have said, ironically, what was unspoken.

    And to Chris' question: why capitalism? Yes, well, the knee-jerk lefty response, isn't it.

    But can you tell me that dance music hasn't been whored out and commodified? I can't see much of the original scene left. I think the recent interviews with Theo Parrish , Thomas Brinkmann and Jan Jelinek all say something like this. Dance music has lost its daringness, its openness, its punk spirit.

    The club scene is dreadfully boring, conformist, conservative, and perhaps a symptom of worldwide securitisation tendencies: private access; VIP access; ID lanyard; upstream processing (name on door)... and what role do alcohol, cocaine and profit play in that?

  25. To add:

    ambient is obviously considered 'too risky' for most club owners, probably for these reasons:

    -people don't buy as many drinks

    -people might pass out and OD

    But that's fascinating for what it says about the reality of nightclubs today, what kind of spaces they are. Perhaps, given the available space, ambient (which in its ENOesque forms is the most wallpaper of music) becomes a kind of subversive music.

  26. sorry pete, i still dont think you have gotten much beyond the leftie (knee) jerk starting point... making bland comments about how dance music has lost its punk spirit (i am not convinced how punk it ever was in the first place) is a long way from explaining how the link between ambient and techno has been severed. 10 years ago - or even less - there'd be chill out rooms at big parties and some club nights, surely capitalism hasn't sped up or influenced techno that much since then. there is something else happening...

  27. I'd like to point out, as a producer who is as much into ambient than dance oriented music, that many of us don't do much ambient because its simply not sustainable at any point.

    The ambient scene sort of became extremely geeky where everyone started to put a lot of importance into sound design (more than the end product) and patch programmation. This is the most time consuming part. While you put all your time to it, you don't do anything else. Then if you release it but don't get any money out of it, well, who's going to pay the bills?

    We do release some ambient on my label for the pleasure but we NEVER get any financial support. In the end, we do it to support the artists and because we love the music itself.

    Its great to see some interest back to the genre. More support would be totally healthy for the dance music scene too, as we'd just put some ideas into other genre, to come back stronger to the roots.

  28. Of course (I should add) club owners are just protecting their asses from getting sued. But this is all part of the pie, to me. And (last add) I should also say that we appreciate and thank you all for your mixes and links - not saying 'that's not what we want', just 'that's not all there is at stake'.


  29. So what is this 'something else', Chris?

    I'm happy to keep running a vulgar reification argument :) unless you can tell me what else is at work. Cards on the table, please.

    Pheek's point is interesting: there's no money in ambient... but a lot of people like it. But the only way to make money is through selling CDs, and no-one buys CDs much these days, well, not enough.

  30. Ambient:

    - you can't coke binge to it

    - you can't binge drink to it

    - you can't sell enough of it to survive as an artist

    - you'll never get regularly, profitably booked as an ambient DJ

    - it makes people sit down and talk to each other (and maybe pass out and die and get your club-owning ass sued)

    Are these reasons, or symptoms?

  31. @pete: well, i am not quite sure. but two thoughts based on other's posts. first, pheek makes the interesting observation that there has been a shift in the way ambient is produced. second, someone over at RA made this comment, which intuitively seems on point:

    TheElephant: "In the 90's everyone was on the same buzz . E. The E was often good quality MDMA. They were expensive and people had less money so being sorted was having one, maybe, on a big night out, two. The energetic dance rush would drop out after about three hours leaving you with a nice soft glow but in need of a rest. Hence the chillout room where kind dj's played relaxing music and you lounged around and talked.

    Then more money, more cheaper lower quality pills, then Coke and the resurgence of alcohol and the jitteriness of that vibe. Promoters don't need a chill room when their customers are dancing all the way into their cars the next morning.

    That's what happened to the chillout room."

    so lets go for the multi-causal explanation:
    (1) there is no money in 'chill out'
    (2) the cost-benefit ratio for ambient producers has worsened
    (3) the scene's culture, specifically the substances used, has made the chill out rooom obsolete

    how does that sound for starters?

  32. Chris, there's a silent (4) to add to your list, but you don't/won't seem to make the jump. You've described the conditions, but what about the 'why?'

    So I'll ask the classic lefty question:

    'Who benefits?'

    Things aren't how they are 'naturally'. There are interests involved. What might they be?

    Refrain (my claim again):

    the dance lifeworld has been fully colonised by the market system.

    It's ended up in the clubs, and clubs have ended up in the toilet... and the toilet is under surveillance.

  33. Of course, I concede that this is based around a hunch (not research) which is based around prejudices that I have anyway... which are, as you know (going back to our Yellow post) that the spaces are closing.... I'll re-quote Zuckermann's comment from that post:

    "Well, who cares about the (inevitable, but still there is a lot of work to do:_) gentrication of this shitty world? Tokyo is one of the richest places in the galaxy anyway, btw.
    All this only means the scene will be forced to go underground again - which is not the saddest thing in the world according to your article;-).
    If techno/ house/ electro, or whatever you want to call it, can't find a club that displays its splendours anymore, than its just straightout dead. Like punk. Full stop. And then we'll all be old farts...

    Here in Berlin, the times have changed dramatically as well. There may be spaces like the phantastic Panorambar or the outspaced Bar 25 (threatened by a rather forced close down btw). But most of the interesting small fringe parties are gone. The authorities have taken most of them out, and are pretty well informed what's going on in the scene. I've seen it myself while DJing here, it's like an interruptus, the crowd is just about to get off, and suddenly there is this square police guy in front of you, telling you to stop your set... well, I'm sure this would be much worse of an experience in Beijing;-).
    But ok, Berlin still is the world headquarters of electronic music for sure. Maybe they'd like to re-stage Yellow over here?_)

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. pete, i am happy to concede that the market has played a role, but i feel you are seriously over-stating it. the shift we are describing is one that has primarily taken place over the last decade or so. my point is that i don't think the nature of capitalism, or the spread of the market, has expanded/increased that much during this period.

    i am much more sympathetic - and largely in agreement - on your point about surveillance, which is related, but not equivalent to, the role of market forces.

  36. The only place I've found chill spaces lately is outdoor parties and the larger outdoor festivals. Even then, only a small fraction of the music played on these floors could be called ambient.
    People want a different night out and you can sleep, or chill, when you're dead. Ready. Set. Go. The race is on...
    I don't know if the market has "driven" this, but it has definitely responded to a very clear shift. Is it the drugs? Well they have changed to, not just choice but the quality that is now accepted and therefore sold. This comes back to supply and demand for me, there is a demand for the way partying is now done and the drugs involved. I think people have created the demand rather than a market forcing it on them(us). It's the punters that have called the shots. No one has time, when you're maxing stimulus vs duration of consciousness possible, for a chill space.

  37. Hello again,

    There is indeed a lot of amazing ambient stuff out there. People have mentioned some classics, like the amazing Harold Budd/Brian Eno albums (which I listen to several times a week). People have also mentioned a lot of new ambient stuff, such as the stuff you'll find on Type Records and Kranky (and I'm definitely a fan of both of those labels).

    So ambient never really went away. Thankfully.

    But what I *do* find interesting is the distance between dance music and ambient music. I mean, I *never* think of Budd/Eno in relation to dance music. Same goes for Type and Kranky.

    But there *was* a time when dance music and ambient music had a closer link. And this link even manifested itself in a very physical way ... yes, the chill out room. The place you could actually physically walk into.

    But now the chill out rooms are gone, *and* most dance producers/labels aren't doing ambient releases.

    This is what really interests me. Ambient and dance were close for a while, but now they're not. How did this distance come about? What happened?

    Is it us, the punters? Have we changed? (Or, as someone suggested, have the drugs changed ... which have then changed us.)

    Is it the spaces that have changed? No more free-wheeling raves, but tightly controlled clubs?

    Something happened, that's for sure. Ambient and dance music were friends for a while. Now (except for a few exceptions) they're not. Why?

  38. "making bland comments about how dance music has lost its punk spirit (i am not convinced how punk it ever was in the first place)"

    you need to do what you need to do in order to be convinced. dance was DIY from the very start, even if in the disco days the records were not. the formulaic production came from trying to appeal to a set of standards made by random deejays in non-club spaces with non-mainstream people and values like david mancuso. the birth of techno and house was even more "punk", all DIY labels, production was not done in "studios", distribution sales etc were all out of small DIY operations. cats in chicago even sported new wave/punk fashion! same goes for jungle later, garage after that, etc.

    i think pheek brings up the biggest point, and it was reinforced to me this weekend when i got Tony Drake's "Texture" album: the production methods for ambient have changed, largely for the worse. the kinds of things that eno did was similar to AFX's SAW2, Basic Channel, etc in that the sounds were relatively static. the structure and volume was what made it interesting. it seems like these days producers use crazy modulation on their sounds that they meticulously design and what comes out is less ambient and more "check out what i can do with max/msp" or whatever. i feel like ambient should feel very "still" for lack of a better word. deepchord nail this in some of their stuff as well as modell's solo work, but not many others get it.

  39. Pipecock, I totally understand what you mean in terms of people flipping out their DSP'd phallus (and its immaculately conceived design), but, at the same time, you almost end up by saying that ambient should do what you want it to do, because that's what the artists that you prefer prefer...

    ...I'm also interested in how this reconnects back to shrinking markets and spaces, 'outlets', and how music that could be construed as sublimely functional (Eno's 'wallpaper') has become completely freakin' useless to most people, as something that you can't:

    -dance to
    -play out
    -make money off
    -create a community with

    In one way, it's the ultimate dividual music, but in another way, its nonfitness in all kinds of environments says a lot about the world we're living in, and the preferred patterns of its wallpaper...

    ...and when you go to upmarket yuppie bars, what is the accepted formula for music? Well, in Melbourne its DFA, Permanent Vacation, Eskimo, Kompakt, etc etc... maybe even Omar S, provided you keep the volume low... this is interesting to me.

  40. very interesting posts here

    found it by googling "90's chillout rooms"

    i wish there still were chillout rooms to go to but instead we have boring minimal or harsh electro

    unfortunately it seems as though alot of this has to do with drugs
    i do not advocate drug use at all but it appears that the average persons does not appreciate ambient music without psychedelic chemicals in their brain

    now if only there was a way to listen to music while scuba diving in kelp forests!

    if you like the psychedelic side of ambient and 90's chillout stuff
    then feel free to download some my music for free
    no mixes here just long evolving intertwining textures and rhythms


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