Ambient on Pandora: Can I Work to Music?

Always looking for ways to make myself stay in the chair and focus. Sometimes I think the “right music” will do the trick, but usually I’m kidding myself.

This week I’m experimenting with “ambient” music, the experimental “anti-music” genre that arose in the early 20th century along with Dadaism and Futurism. (I’m reading from Wikipedia.) Brian Eno is credited with coining the term “ambient music” in the mid-1970s, referring to music that can be either “actively listened to with attention or as easily ignored, depending on the choice of the listener” and exists on the “cusp between melody and texture.” It “creates an atmosphere that puts the listener into a different state of mind.”

That’s what I’m looking for — that slightly altered state I think of as smoothing my jittery brain waves — sending my mind to the chill-out room. I can’t predict what that will be. Usually it’s a complicated drone, with no beat to seize my attention. It’s usually processed to sound like echoes of faraway voices and mysterious industries — perhaps the half-remembered “lullaby” of a child who fell asleep to distant rooms of adult voices and night traffic. A space is defined to hold me in.

I have a few things on my iPhone now — Bill Laswell and (thanks, DT) Keith Rowe (table-top guitar, not reggae). Good old Wikipedia gave me some more names and I was reminded that Pandora could create free “radio stations” based on the name of an artist or song. I hadn’t bother to download the Pandora app to my iPhone till yesterday. Now I’m hooked, with “stations” based on La Monte Young, Steve Reich/Electronic, Robert Rich, Brian Eno and more. Excellent way to experiment with new sound.

And my brain is pretty chilled down as well.

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2 Responses to Ambient on Pandora: Can I Work to Music?

  1. Mike Garner says:

    I’d recommend late 70s and early 80s Eno, most Harold Budd, especially the Eno collaborations, The Pearl and Ambient 2. Then, if you have an iPhone, the stuff at Connect the phone to some speakers and just leave it on all day.

    BTW, there’s nothing on my website, it’s “under construction”

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