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Help me write a 2000wd essay on Ambient Music


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Okay so I gotta write a short (2000wd) informal research essay. It's due tomorrow and I literally just need to turn something in with 6 sources. But, as always, my problem is I can't do anything without over-thinking it. My own sophistication and pseudo-polymath interest in many subjects makes even attempting low-level writing VERY difficult. This is for a fucking english111x class, mostly freshman, I'm taking it bcuz I realized I have almost a BA in foreign languages completed (w/ minor in music) and all I have to do is bust out these bacc core classes I neglected to take earlier.
So I think just an introductory overview of the term, origin, characteristics, utility and diversification and some conclusion on its evolution and future should suffice. Can I do that in 2000 words or am I fooling myself?
I'm a pretty massive Brian Eno acolyte so I thought this would be easy, but it's not that simple.
I have some great books full of essays that I've already read, (such as Repeating Ourselves: American Minimal Music as Cultural Practice by Robert Frink, which has a whole section devoted to the development of ambient music as being tied to the invention of the LP and automatic changer, thus allowing for individuals to listen ad infinitum.
I am putting together a rough outline of what I want to touch on, please if you're willing, take a look at this as it develops and offer some points or alternatively, troll the shit out of me.

I denote what concepts I'm unsure of in the placing with a "?"

—•question or statement regarding 'background music', idk, "What is the music of stillness?" i really don't know how to open...
———Cite definition of the word "Ambient" & etymological origin
———Cite definitions of the word "Music" & etymological origin
——•Tie the two together to see and explore which definitions cooperate and which don't
?——–• Maybe cite Brian Eno's personal explanation of Ambient Music (the term he coined) and included in the liner notes of "Music For Airports"...it might be more useful later

[/b]First Idea: precedents in western music (and non-western music?), minimalist music that developed the concepts used later[/b]
——•The traditional form of western art music and it's aims (in a nutshell, a narrative structure with tension and release through linear development (not accurate at all, sorry, but this is for an introductory writing class)
——•Satie's "musique d’ameublement" or "Furniture Music" and its purpose
————maybe cite directly from Satie?
——•I'd Like to mention Ligeti's proto-drone micropolyphonic compositions but from what I've read the academic consensus is that he does not belong to the minimal tradition. Kind of weird if you ask me, considering many of his 1950's works were pretty drone-ish
——•La Monte Young, drone, and explorations in classical indian form (compositions 1960, and 'indefinite music')
——•"Background music" as a necesarily disambiguated term
———eg., ambient, incidental, 'Muzak', etc.

[/b]second idea: cultural and technological changes that informed development of 'background music'
——• the LP & automatic record changer as enabler of 'low-level listening'
——• source from Brian Eno's descriptions of what his "Ambient Music" was to be
———music for airports
(i'm running out of steam already)
.....more stuff??

[/b]third idea: ambient dichotomies, pop vs. alt, utilitarian/commercial vs. challenging, splintering/subgenres
—i guess just mention the different strands, starting with the popularity of new age in the late 1980s/1990s, the opposite 'dark, isolationist, etc'
— steve roach?
-fuck if I know man, shit
-lol just in this post I have written 600 words. how to proceed...

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Man, good luck but knowing you I'm sure you can pull it off.


All I can offer are these resources off the top of my head: a primer/essay on ambient that might resemble what you're going for


nice ambient guide site here


avant-garde archive resource, includes a lot of sounds, articles, books, interviews etc. - i think a lot of it is mid-century academic and electroacoustic stuff

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If you have time to read these may help.


A History of Ambient Music



Comparative Analysis: Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II.


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Thanks, if you haven't read it, Robert Fink's Repeating Ourselves is an extremely fascinating book and in-depth take on the underpinning logic of minimal music, tying it to advertising, late-capitalism, etc.

It mentions Generation Ecstasy by Simon Reynolds a lot and it's making me want to read it.

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It mentions Generation Ecstasy by Simon Reynolds a lot and it's making me want to read it.


Read Energy Flash a while back and I think this is the shorter version. It's no masterpiece in terms of insight or eloquence but I certainly enjoyed reading it. Reynolds seems well informed and writes with a consistent flow, so I'd recommend it for some nuggets.


I'm sure Eno's epiphany moment is covered in most of the books mentioned but here's an abridged version straight from the horses mouth (an extract from Audio Culture):



Edited by Daxx
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