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engineering relaxation...

This nOde last updated December 17th, 2004 and is permanently morphing...
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ambient (mb-ent) adjective
Surrounding; encircling: ambient sound; ambient air.

[Latin ambins, ambient-, present participle of ambre, to surround : ambi-, around.]


ambiance also ambience (mb-ens, N-byNs)  noun
The special atmosphere or mood created by a particular environment: "The curriculum and intellectual ambiance are virtually identical" (Robert Kanigel).

[French, from ambiant, surrounding, from Latin ambins, ambient]

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Brian Eno's tape recorder Aphex Twin's gear
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Term coined circa 1978 by internal linkBrian Eno to describe his  forays into drifting  instrumental composition. Beginning with the 1975  album _Discreet Music_, Eno  began producing a series of  records partially influenced by the piano music of  early-century French  composer Erik Satie; internal linkintended as background music, the  discs highlighted tape internal linkloops and "treated sounds." The  combination of fast-paced electronic internal linkdance music and internal linkEcstasy that began to dominate clubs worldwide in the late  '80s paradoxically created an appetite for soothing sounds and still surroundings. Ambient music made an ideal soundtrack for "chill out" rooms in clubs; the word became a catchall label for spacey variations on numerous established forms, including house, techno, and dub. The "textural soundscapes" and "rich timbral explorations"  of name-brand groups like internal linkThe Orb andinternal linkAphex Twin rework the socially acceptable elements of progressive rock for the rave generation, and for proprietors of New Age-y restaurants and boutiques.

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"Walter Benjamin's concept of 'internal linkRezeption in der Zerstreuung,' originally conceived for film, is as valid for radio and records. According to Benjamin the mass reception of art is accompanied by a steady decline in the internal linkattention given to the individual work of art: music has become environmental sound, the radio produces ambience, the quality of which can be measured by the ease with which it goes in one ear and out the other.

Continuous and omnipresent, radio generates habituation and demands no more than an absent minded attention. With radio it's often less a matter of what there is to hear than that there is something to hear. The radio is on. The question is whether artists are satisfied with this and, imitating Brian Eno, will make 'ambient music' ridiculing the dispersal of attention." Max Bruinsma, Talking Back to the Media, Amsterdam, 1985.

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On internal linkKarlheinz Stockhausen c. 1956 -

"Using a internal linkpulse generator, volume meter and internal linkfeedbackinternal linkfilter, Stockhausen spent six months breaking down every element of human speech and matching it to every conceivable sound from sine tone to white noise...The debut performance of _Song of the internal linkYouths_ MP3atomjacked inventory cache...caused uproar and applause. Electronic music was here to stay..."

From _The Ambient Century_ - Mark Prendergast

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Future Sound Of London - Lifeforms CDx2 on Astralwerks (1994)

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Melvins - Hostile Ambient Takeover on Ipecac (2002)

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