Greetings AV readers and welcome to a June blog from ye olde editor. I hope that I didn't promise to keep these coming up on a real regular basis because if I did boy have I been lax in my duties. I hope everyone has noticed that I am working on keeping AV more up to date than in times past and that there has been more new and original material going up on the site on a pretty regular basis over the past few months. For now lets say that the stars are aligned just right for me to work on Ambient Visions most weekends and that the interviews have been moving along at a nice clip these days.
I don't know if it is just me or if everyone has been noticing that there appears to be a lot of great music being produced as of late. I am thrilled to see a much higher rate of great music being released as opposed to a few great CDs coming out each year mixed with a lot of bland or uninspired releases. Perhaps ambient music is breaking out of its rut and is setting course to make a comeback to a degree. Don't get me wrong I still see releases coming out that I wonder to myself why? but lately I have been putting more music into my CD player and leaving it there for several play throughs before moving on to the next release. This might be becuase of the amount of music that I listen to here at AV and so this trend might not seem as obvious to those who only get to hear a few new releases each year but for whatever reason I am happy to see that it is happening.
There has been discussion that perhaps ambient music has already reached a peak and that it is on a downhill slide at this point never to regain the ground it once had. From my perspective it seems that there has not been a lot of reasons for folks to get overly excited about the music that was being released. I always stand in awe of those musicians who can constantly compose and produce music that breaks new ground without rehashing all of their other releases. I know how difficult this must be as I am sure that there is a similar problem with any of the arts when it comes to creating new and original works of art be they written or on a canvas or between the pages of a book. There is also the pressure from within to surpass what you have done previously done and from without by fans who want to hear something that entertains them but does not repeat what they have heard before. I salute those who have chosen this artistic life and I hope that there inspirational well never runs dry.
Having said all of that I also wanted to say that listeners are a fickle bunch they want their music to stimulate and entertain them and if that is not happening they will look elsewhere for those musical attributes. In many ways the music that we call ambient is morphing into other strains and is offering the listener not only the kind of music that sits in the background and begs not to be noticed but now it is also offering us a much broader selection of how far in the background that we want our music to be. I enjoy a good piece of space music or atmospheric drift as much as the next person but do I want an entire music collection of nothing but that? No not actually. I have moods and emotions that I occasionally want to play my music to and not all of those moods will be happy drifting through space. Perhaps that is what excites me about the music that I am seeing coming through Ambient Visions. It is a mixture of styles that cater to a much broader range of my emotions. From space, to ambient, to piano, to tribal to beat driven eletronica the music is meeting a wider range of my moods and emotions and ergo has a much greater appeal for when it comes to time to add music to my collection.
These days I have been looking forward to what arrives here at AV with more anticipation than I have in times past and I am always happy to get the word out via the website that my readers should be checking out these releases. I hope that this is the beginning of a revival of ambient music even if all of it would not appropriately be called ambient in the strictest sense of the word. After all it is the fan or the listener who decides what will sell and what will not so an artist or musician that wants to make a living doing what they love will ignore their fans at their own expense. Granted ambient music doesn't always allow most musicians to make a living at it but perhaps some of the rules that govern pop music might apply in the realm of ambient music as well. Just my opinion and I'm sure that there are those who disagree with that point of view but if you are only making music for yourself then I guess when it doesn't really catch on among the listners out there you are trying to reach then you've no one to blame but yourself. Besides if you are happy with your music then making money is the last thing on your mind, right?
Michael Foster, editor