Part 6: The Journey of a Thousand Songs Starts with a Single Note (Wrapping Up)
First, I must offer apologies to Lao Tzu for butchering his quote above, but we have reached the end of what I set out intending to be a “brief” introduction. It perhaps grew in length more than I initially anticipated, but that’s because in my passion and excitement for the music and the brilliant artists who create it I couldn’t bring myself to cut many of them. Indeed, the task of who to axe was quite hard, but I think the list I presented give a great overview of all the types of music in this genre that have been or are being created.
I first discovered ambient music on an iTunes review of Wendy Carlos’ seminal Switched-On Bach. Someone had left a review singing it’s praises and suggested modern electronic bands, including Moderat. I listened to Moderat, liked the sound, and bought their album. From there I discovered Apparat, began listening to him, and eventually saw the word “ambient” on his Wikipedia page. This started me down the rabbit hole into which I am still falling. I continuously discovered more bands, composers, and producers by reading web pages, reviews, subreddits, and old, abandoned email lists. I hope this can serve doubly as a reference guide to remove some of the legwork if someone else discovers a similar level of enjoyment of this style.
To end, I should also say I am but a simple graduate student with no great musical background. If I have described anything badly or categorized something wrongly I do apologize, there was no ill intent. Ambient is a hard field to nail down, since it’s inception it has been a catch-all term with fans frequently disagreeing as to what should be considered ambient and what should not. This list contains music that I enjoy and have personally listened to quite a bit and I consider it all ambient, but others may not. To end I will say that I once read, in an old ambient mailing list, a member say that most fans of the genre would not want it to be popular. I disagree, while I have no delusion it will ever be a huge force of mainstream popularity, I hope it continues to expand in listeners as this only increases the chances of some future great musician joining the field and creating the next Substrata, or what have you. I hope this article has some small role in that goal, but I would be happy if it helps just one other person find that, like me, they love this magical field of music and all the endless and beautiful songs within it.