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Ambient music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual" or "unobtrusive" quality.


It can be reasonably argued that ambient music has roots that go back to the earliest years of the 20th century. In particular, the period just before and after the first world war gave rise to two significant Art Movements that encouraged experimentation with various musical (and non musical) forms, while rejecting more conventional, tradition-bound styles of expression. These art movements were called Futurism and Dadaism. Aside from being known for their painters and writers, these movements also attracted experimental and 'anti-music' musicians such as Francesco Balilla Pratella of the the pre-war Futurism movement and Kurt Schwitters and Erwin Schulhoff of the post-war Dadaist movement. The latter movement played an influential role in the musical development of Erik Satie.

As an early 20th century French composer, Erik Satie utilised such Dadaist inspired explorations to create an early form of ambient / background music that he labeled "furniture music" (Musique d'ameublement). This he described as being the sort of music that could be played during a dinner to create a background atmosphere for that activity, rather than serving as the focus of attention.. From this greater historical perspective, Satie is the link between these early Art movements and the work of Brian Eno, who as an Art School trained musician, had an appreciation of both the music and art worlds.

Alongside these early developments, more conventional forms of music began to take note of such experimentation and in turn gave rise to future influence of ambient in the work of impressionists composers such as John Cage and Morton Feldman as well as minimalist composers such as La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and Michael Nyman.

Brian Eno is generally credited with coining the term "Ambient Music" in the mid-1970s to refer to music that, as he stated, can be either "actively listened to with attention or as easily ignored, depending on the choice of the listener", and that exists on the "cusp between melody and texture." Eno, who describes himself as a "non-musician", termed his experiments in sound as "treatments" rather than as traditional performances. Eno used the word "ambient" to describe music that creates an atmosphere that puts the listener into a different state of mind; having chosen the word based on the Latin term "ambire", "to surround".

The album notes accompanying Eno's 1978 release Ambient 1: Music for Airports include a manifesto describing the philosophy behind his Ambient music:

"Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting."
Brian Eno, Music for Airports liner notes, September 1978

Eno has acknowledged the influence of Erik Satie and John Cage. In particular, Eno was aware Cage's use of chance such as throwing the I Ching to directly affect the creation of a musical composition. Eno then utilised a similar method of weaving randomness into his compositional structures. This approach was manifested in Eno's creation of Oblique Strategies, where he used a set of specially designed cards to create various sound dilemmas that in turn, were resolved by exploring various open ended paths, until a resolution to the musical composition revealed itself. Eno also acknowledged influences of the drone music of La Monte Young (of whom he said, "La Monte Young is the daddy of us all") and of the mood music of Miles Davis and Teo Macero, especially their 1974 epic piece, "He Loved Him Madly", about which Eno wrote, "that piece seemed to have the 'spacious' quality that I was became a touchstone to which I returned frequently."

Beyond the major influence of Brian Eno, other musicians and bands added to the growing nucleus of music that evolved around the development of "Ambient Music". While not an exhaustive list, one cannot ignore the parallel influences of Wendy Carlos , who produced the original music piece called "Timesteps" which was then used as the filmscore to Clockwork Orange, as well as her later work Sonic Seasonings. Other significant artists such as Mike Oldfield, Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis have all added to or directly influenced the evolution of Ambient music. Adding to these individual artists, works by groups such as Pink Floyd, through their albums Ummagumma : Meddle and Obscured by Clouds. Other groups including Yes with their album "Tales from Topographic Oceans" , the Hafler Trio and Kraftwerk have all added distinctive aspects to the growing and diversified genre of Ambient Music.

1990s: Ambient to Electroacoustic

By the early 1990s artists such as the The Orb, Aphex Twin, Slowdive, the Irresistible Force, Geir Jenssen's Biosphere, and the Higher Intelligence Agency were being referred to by the popular music press as ambient house, ambient techno, IDM or simply "ambient" according to Brian Eno's 1978 definition:

"Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think." Music for Airports Liner Notes

So-called 'Chillout' began as term deriving from British ecstacy culture which was originally applied in relaxed downtempo 'chillout rooms' outside of the main dance floor where ambient, dub and downtempo beats were played to ease the tripping mind..

The London scene artists, such as Aphex Twin (specifically: Selected Ambient Works Volume II, 1994), Global Communication (76:14,1994), FSOL The Future Sound of London (Lifeforms, ISDN), The Black Dog (Temple of Transparent Balls,1993), Autechre, (Incunabula,1993, Amber), Boards of Canada, and The KLF's seminal Chill Out, 1990, all took a part in popularising and diversifying ambient music where it was used as a calming respite from the intensity of the hardcore and techno popular at that time.

Later in the period much experimental electronica, (particularly sound artists such as Pole, Mika Vainio, Ryoji Ikeda, Christian Fennesz, Aphex Twin (drukQs, 2000) and Autechre) expanded the themes of 'ambient' along the lines of earlier 1970s ambient music & dub but with increasingly abstracted sample-based textures and digital electronics that ultimately began to converge with minimalist compositions and music concrete.

Digital era electronic 'electroacoustic' artists, including the recent work of Eno himself, are notable in their attempts to create 'sonic sculptures' which interact with the physical architecture of the listening space using advanced electronic installations.

Literally 'ambient' field recordings are a specialism of the Touch Music label. The electroacoustic influence can be heard in the contemporary work of Polish artist Jacaszek.

Glitch music is a major subset of this work produced by (usually German-speaking) labels such Mille Plateaux (Clicks & Cuts Series, 2000).

Some dubstep producers, notably Burial,2006, have nostalgically referenced the sonic 'post-rave' ambience of the nineties era.

Black Ambient

Several second-wave black metal artists (most notably Burzum) experimented with Dark Ambient textures on some of their albums, since being coined as Black Ambient. The two genres still remain linked, however loosely, to this day, as evidenced by the music of Xasthur.Or Norwegian band Ulver, which started out as a Black Metal-band, but is now a well-known ambient/electronica-act.


Ambient music has been used in many video games, television shows and motion pictures and is notable for contributing to their atmosphere, or soundscapes. David Lynch's 1984 film Dune, for example, forgoes the epic sci-fi adventure style theme music popularized by Star Wars in favor of a more atmospheric music score by Toto and Brian Eno. Electronic musician Paddy Kingsland is noted for the music style he brought to several serials of the television series Doctor Who which had until then relied mostly on stock music cues or minimal music for much of its history. The video game trilogy Fallout and its spinoffs use ambient music that sometimes contains gentle rumblings to portray the bleakness of the post-apocalyptic world which the games are set in. Another game series that uses ambient music is the Oddworld games, notably Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath. That music was composed by Michael Bross. The games featured in Valve's Half-Life series, including spinoffs such as Portal, feature ambient music soundtracks by composers Kelly Bailey and Mike Morasky.

Related and derivative genres

Ambient dub

"Ambient dub" is a phrase first coined by the now defunct Beyond Records from early 1990s in Birmingham, England. Their defining series of albums Ambient Dub 1, 2, through to 4 inspired many, including sound engineer and producer Bill Laswell, who used the same phrase in his music project Divination, where he collaborates with different musicians on each album (though sometimes the same ones are on more than one of the albums such as Tetsu Inoue and others). Laswell also presented ambient dub and ambient house music on albums by his collaboration project Axiom Dub, featuring recording artists The Orb, Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit, Scorn and DJ Spooky.

Ambient dub involves the genre melding of dub styles made famous by King Tubby and other Jamaican sound artists with DJ inspired ambient electronica, complete with all the inherent drop-outs, echo, equalization and psychedelic electronic effects. As writer and performer David Toop explains in an early Beyond Records newsletter, "Dub music is like a long echo delay, looping through time...turning the rational order of musical sequences into an ocean of sensation."

Organic ambient music

Organic ambient music is characterised by integration of electronic, electric, and acoustic musical instruments. Aside from the usual electronic music influences, organic ambient tends to incorporate influences from world music, especially drone instruments and hand percussion. Organic ambient is intended to be more harmonious with nature than with the disco. Some of the artists in this sub-genre include Robert Rich, Steve Roach, Vidna Obmana, O Yuki Conjugate, Vir Unis, James Johnson, Loren Nerell, Tuu and Robert Scott Thompson.

Some works by ambient pioneers such as Brian Eno, Laraaji or Popul Vuh who use a combination of traditional instruments (such as piano or hammered dulcimer or hand percussion, though usually processed through tape loops or other devices) and electronic instruments, would be considered New Age / organic ambient music in this sense. In the 1970s and 1980s, Klaus Schulze often recorded string ensembles and performances by solo cellists to go along with his extended Moog synthesizer workouts.

Nature inspired ambient music

The music is composed from samples and recordings of naturally occurring sounds. Sometimes these samples can be treated to make them more instrument-like. The samples may be arranged in repetitive ways to form a conventional musical structure or may be random and unfocused. Sometimes the sound is mixed with urban or "found" sounds. Examples include much of Biosphere's Substrata, Mira Calix's insect music and Chris Watson's Weather Report. Some overlap occurs between organic ambient and nature inspired New Age. One of the first albums in the genre, Wendy Carlos' Sonic Seasonings, combines sampled and synthesized nature sounds with ambient melodies and drones for a particularly relaxing effect. Transformation by Suzanne Doucet and Christian Buehner and the album Second Nature by Bill Laswell, Tetsu Inoue, and Atom Heart are ambient album that use processed nature sounds, with reverb and echo to create a hypnotic environment.

Dark ambient

Dark ambient is a general term for any kind of ambient music with a "dark" or dissonant feel, but often involves extensive use of digital reverb to create vast sonic spaces for frightening, bottom-heavy sounds such as deep drones, gloomy male chorus, echoing thunder, and distant artillery. It has an eerie feel; the term "isolationist ambient" could be used interchangeably with it according to the listener or artists perspective. Some artists and releases that epitomize the style could include Lull's Cold Summer, Controlled Bleeding's The Poisoner, and the Robert Rich/Lustmord collaboration album Stalker. Related styles include ambient industrial and isolationist ambient.

There are also a few black metal bands, such as Burzum and Beherit, who produce ambient music, albeit not always with such a dark atmosphere. Illbient is another kind of dark ambient music.

Ambient house

Ambient house is a musical category founded in the late 1980s that is used to describe acid house featuring ambient music elements and atmospheres. Tracks in the ambient house genre typically feature four-on-the-floor beats, synth pads, and vocal samples integrated in an atmospheric style. Ambient house tracks generally lack a diatonic center and feature much atonality along with synthesized chords.

Ambient industrial

Ambient industrial is a hybrid genre of ambient and industrial music; the term industrial being used in the original experimental sense, rather than in the sense of industrial metal or EBM. A "typical" ambient industrial work (if there is a such thing) might consist of evolving dissonant harmonies of metallic drones and resonances, extreme low frequency rumbles and machine noises, perhaps supplemented by gongs, percussive rhythms, bullroarers, distorted voices and/or anything else the artist might care to sample (often processed to the point where the original sample is no longer recognizable). Entire works may be based on radio telescope recordings, the babbling of newborn babies, or sounds recorded through contact microphones on telegraph wires.

Among the many artists who work in this area are Coil, CTI, Lustmord, Susumu Yokota, Hafler Trio, Nocturnal Emissions, Zoviet France, Scorn, PGR, Thomas Köner, Controlled Bleeding, and Deutsch Nepal. However many of these artists are very eclectic in their output, with much of it falling outside of ambient industrial per se.

Space music

Space music, also spelled spacemusic, includes music from the ambient genre as well as a broad range of other genres with certain characteristics in common to create the experience of contemplative spaciousness.Space music ranges from simple to complex sonic textures sometimes lacking conventional melodic, rhythmic, or vocal components,generally evoking a sense of "continuum of spatial imagery and emotion",beneficial introspection, deep listeningand sensations of floating, cruising or flying.

Space music is used by individuals for both background enhancement and foreground listening, often with headphones, to stimulate relaxation, contemplation, inspiration and generally peaceful expansive moods and soundscapes. Space music is also a component of many film soundtracks, commonly used in planetariums, and used as a relaxation aid and for meditation.

Hearts of Space is a well-known radio show and affiliated record label, specializing in space music since 1984, having released over 150 albums devoted to the music style. Notable artists who have brought elements of ambient music to space music include Michael Stearns, Constance Demby, Enigma, Jean Michel Jarre, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, Numina, Dweller at the Threshold, Deepspace, Telomere, Jonn Serrie, Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream (as well as the group's founder Edgar Froese), and Vangelis.

Isolationist ambient music

Isolationist ambient music, also known as isolationism, can be differentiated from other forms of ambient music in its use of repetition, dissonance, microtonality, and unresolved harmonies to create a sense of unresolved unease and desolation. The term was popularized in the mid-1990s by the British magazine The Wire and the Ambient 4: Isolationism compilation from Virgin, this began as more or less a synonym for ambient industrial, but also inclusive of certain post-metal streams of ambient, such as Final, Lull, Main, or post-techno artists such as Autechre and Aphex Twin. It may be less appropriate to call isolationist ambient a genre than using it to describe the style or "feel" of particular works by an artist working in an ambient mode. This is because many artists better known for other styles of work can occasionally create pieces that "sound" isolationist. (For example, Labradford, Seefeel, Techno Animal, Voice of Eye, KK Null, etc.) There are many labels releasing work that could be termed Isolationist Ambient, among these are Malignant Records, Cold Spring, Manifold Records, Soleilmoon, and The Sombient label with the "drones" compilation series. Some of the artists known for this style of ambient music include Lull, Final, Deutsch Nepal, Inanna, Negru Voda, Thomas Köner, Robert Fripp and Chuck Hammer Guitarchitecture.

Of late there has been an influx of progressive metal artists who have clear ambient influences. Bands such as Cult of Luna, Isis, Devil Sold His Soul and Between the Screams have pioneered the genre and are largely credited with popularizing the sound. Often refered to as 'ambient metal', the music can is normally characterized by the use of heavy, layered synths, delayed guitars and clean vocals.

Notable musicians and works in chronological order

Artist name Influential works
Arnold Schoenberg 1909 - Fünf Orchesterstücke - III. "Farben" (Five Orchestral Pieces - III. "Colours")
Erik Satie 1917 - Furniture music (1)
1920 - Furniture music (2)
1923 - Furniture music (3)

György Ligeti 1961 - Atmosphères
Fleetwood Mac 1969 - "Albatross"
Popol Vuh 1970 - Affenstunde
1971 - In den Gärten Pharaos
Cluster 1971 - Cluster
1972 - Cluster II
1974 - Zuckerzeit
1976 - Sowiesoso
1977 - Cluster & Eno (with Brian Eno)
1978 - After the Heat (with Brian Eno)
1979 - Grosses Wasser
1981 - Curiosum
1991 - Apropos Cluster
1995 - One Hour

Tangerine Dream 1971 - Alpha Centauri
1972 - Zeit
1974 - Phaedra
1975 - Rubycon
1975 - Ricochet
1976 - Stratosfear

2000 - The Seven Letters from Tibet

Wendy Carlos 1972 - Sonic Seasonings
Klaus Schulze 1972 - Irrlicht
1973 - Cyborg
1974 - Blackdance
1975 - Timewind
1976 - Moondawn
1977 - Mirage
1977 - Body Love Vol.

1978 - X
1979 - Dune
1995 - In Blue
— With Pete Namlook:
1994 - Dark Side of the Moog I - Wish you were there
1994 - Dark Side of the Moog II - A saucerful of ambience
2002 - Dark Side of the Moog IX - Set the controls for the heart of the mother
2005 - Dark Side of the Moog X - Astro know me domina

Can 1973 - Future Days
1974 - Soon Over Babaluma
Gong 1973 - Flying Teapot for "The Octave Doctors and the Crystal Machine"
1974 - You for "A Sprinkling of Clouds"
Fripp & Brian Eno 1973 - No Pussyfooting
1975 - Evening Star
2005 - The Equatorial Stars

Kraftwerk 1975 - Radio-Activity
Harmonia 1974 - Musik Von Harmonia
1997 - Tracks and Traces
Neu! 1975 - Neu! '75
Brian Eno 1975 - Another Green World
1975 - Discreet Music
1978 - Ambient 1: Music for Airports
1980 - Fourth World, Vol.

1: Possible Musics (with Jon Hassell)
1982 - Ambient 4: On Land
1983 - Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks
1985 - Thursday Afternoon
1992 - The Shutov Assembly
1993 - Neroli

Jean Michel Jarre 1976 - Oxygène
1978 - Équinoxe
1990 - Waiting for Cousteau
2001 - Interior Music
2002 - Sessions 2000
2003 - Geometry of Love

Chuck Hammer 1977 - Guitarchitecture
Harold Budd 1978 - The Pavilion of Dreams (1972–1975, recorded 1976)
1980 - Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror (with Brian Eno)
1984 - The Pearl (with Brian Eno)
1986 - Lovely Thunder
1988 - The White Arcades
2000 - The Room

Michael Stearns 1978 - Ancient Leaves
1979 - Morning Jewel
1981 - Planetary Unfolding
1984 - M'Ocean
1988 - Encounter
2000 - Within

Erik Wøllo 1985 - Traces
1986 - Silver Beach (re-release 2006)
1990 - Images of Light
1992 - Solstice
1996 - Transit
1998 - Guitar Nova
2001 - Wind Journey
2003 - Emotional Landscapes
2003 - The Polar Drones
2004 - Blue Sky, Red Guitars
2007 - Elevations

Earthstar 1978 - Salterbarty Tales
1981 - Atomkraft?

Nein, Danke!
1982 - Humans Only

Robert Fripp 1981 - Let The Power Fall
1998 - Gates Of Paradise
Robert Rich 1982 - Sunyata
1983 - Trances
1983 - Drones
1987 - Numena
1992 - Soma (with Steve Roach)
1997 - Fissures
2001 - Somnium

Steve Roach 1984 - Structures from Silence
1988 - Quiet Music
1988 - Dreamtime Return
1993 - Origins
1994 - Artifacts
1996 - The Magnificent Void
2000 - Early Man
2003 - Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces

Coil 1984 - How to Destroy Angels
1998 - Time Machines
Hirokazu Tanaka 1986 - Metroid
The KLF 1990 - Chill Out
Enigma 1990 - MCMXC A.D.

2006 - A Posteriori
The Orb 1991 - The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
1992 - U.F.Orb
Biosphere 1992 - Microgravity
1994 - Patashnik
1996 - Polar Sequences (with Higher Intelligence Agency)
1997 - Insomnia
1997 - Substrata
1998 - Nordheim Transformed (with Deathprod)
2000 - Birmingham Frequencies (with Higher Intelligence Agency)
2000 - Cirque
2002 - Shenzhou
2004 - Autour de la Lune
2006 - Dropsonde

Aphex Twin 1992 - Selected Ambient Works 85–92
1994 - Selected Ambient Works Volume II
2001 - drukQs (in some tracks)

Pete Namlook 1992 - Silence I
1993 - Air I
1994 - Air II
1996 - Outland 2 (with Bill Laswell)
1996 - The Fires of Ork (with Geir Jensen of Biosphere)

Moby aka Voodoo Child 1993 - Ambient
1996 - The End of Everything (as Voodoo Child)
2005 - Hotel:Ambient
2009 - Wait for Me

The Fireman (Paul McCartney and Youth) 1993 - Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest
1998 - Rushes
2008 - Electric Arguments

Neptune Towers (Gylve Nagell aka Fenriz) 1994 - Caravans to Empire Algol
1995 - Transmissions from Empire Algol
Kenji Yamamoto 1994 - Super Metroid
Global Communication 1994 - 76:14
The Future Sound of London 1994 - Lifeforms
Philip Cashian 1995 - Landscape
Alpha Wave Movement 1995 - Transcendence
2000 - Drifted Into Deeper Lands
Burzum (Varg Vikernes) 1996 - Filosofem (tracks 4 to 6)
1997 - Dauði Baldrs (Balder's Død)
1999 - Hliðskjálf

Stars of the Lid 1996 - Gravitational Pull vs. the Desire for an Aquatic Life
1997 - The Ballasted Orchestra
1998 - Per Aspera Ad Astra
1999 - Avec Laudenum
2001 - The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid
2007 - Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline

Robert Scott Thompson 1996 - The Silent Shore
1998 - Frontier
2002 - Sidereal
2005 - At the Still Point of the Turning World
2008 - Frozen Light

Boards of Canada 1998 - Music Has the Right to Children
2002 - Geogaddi
2005 - The Campfire Headphase

Richard Bone 1998 - The Spectral Ships
1999 - Ether Dome
Marvin Ayres 1999 - Cellosphere
2002 - Neptune
Radiohead 2000 - Kid A - Treefingers
William Basinski 2002 - The River
2002-2003 - Disintegration Loops I, II, III and IV
Devil sold his soul 2007 - A Fragile hope
Between the screams 2007 - Embryo E.P
2009 - Our last days on earth

Notable films incorporating ambient music or sound design

Film Director Composer or Sound Designer Comments
1956 - Forbidden Planet Fred Wilcox Louis and Bebe Barron (electronic tonalities) This soundtrack is generally considered to be ahead of its time with its spacey ambient sounds
1968 - 2001: A Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick György Ligeti (composer "Monolith" and "Beyond Saturn" themes)
Winston Ryder (sound editor)
"A cutting edge ambient, multimedia accomplishment...the ambient revolution, now and for the past couple of decades, owes much of its impetus to the achievement of 2001." — D.B. Spalding
1971 - Clockwork Orange Stanley Kubrick Wendy Carlos (composer)
Wendy Carlos (Electronic Music)
Wendy Carlos's "Timesteps" was used as the basis of the soundtrack
1971 - THX 1138 George Lucas Lalo Schifrin (composer)
Walter Murch (sound design)
Murch's "Theater of Noise" offered as alternate soundtrack on Director's Cut DVD
1972 - Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes Werner Herzog Popol Vuh (composer)
1976 - Sebastiane Derek Jarman Brian Eno (composer)
1977 - Eraserhead David Lynch Alan Splet (sound design) Features innovative ambient noise sound design as its musical score.
1977 - Sorcerer William Friedkin Tangerine Dream (Composer)
1980 - The Elephant Man David Lynch Alan Splet (sound design)
1981 - Halloween II Rick Rosenthal John Carpenter (composer) & Alan Howarth (synthesizer programmer)
1982 - Blade Runner Ridley Scott Vangelis (composer)
1982 - Halloween III: Season of the Witch Tommy Lee Wallace John Carpenter (composer) & Alan Howarth (synthesizer programmer)
1984 - Starman John Carpenter Jack Nitzsche (composer)
1984 - Paris, Texasmarker Wim Wenders Ry Cooder (composer)
1986 - The Hitcher Robert Harmon Mark Isham (composer)
1989 - For All Mankind Al Reinert Brian Eno (composer) Score released as Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks
1989 - Sex, Lies, and Videotape Steven Soderbergh Cliff Martinez (composer) Soderbergh's instructions to Martinez were to channel Brian Eno. Soundtrack on Virgin/EMI Records
1992 - Alien 3 David Fincher Elliot Goldenthal
1997 - Insomnia Erik Skjoldbjærg Biosphere (composer)
1999 - The Limey Steven Soderbergh Cliff Martinez (composer)
2001 - Donnie Darko Richard Kelly Michael Andrews (composer)
2001 - Traffic Steven Soderbergh Cliff Martinez (composer)
Brian Eno (composer- end title theme)
End title theme is "An Ending (Ascent)" from Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks
2002 - Solaris Steven Soderbergh Cliff Martinez (composer) This score (and the film in general) is highly influenced by Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The track "Hi Energy Proton Accelerator" is very similar to György Ligeti's "Atmosphères", used in Kubrick's film.
2005 - Me and You and Everyone We Know Miranda July Michael Andrews (composer)
2006 - The Prestige Christopher Nolan David Julyan (composer)
2006 - Silent Hill Christophe Gans Akira Yamaoka (composer)
2007 - Zodiac David Fincher David Shire (composer) David Shire's dark, ambient title theme is clearly influenced by Charles Ives' "The Unanswered Question".
2007 - Southland Tales Richard Kelly Moby (composer)
2007 - Sunshine Danny Boyle John Murphy (composer) & Underworld Danny Boyle provided the film to the band Underworld, who improvised a score for the film. Karl Hyde of Underworld was influenced by the music of avant garde composer György Ligeti, which had been used in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Lux Aeterna by Ligeti particularly influenced Hyde. When Underworld finished recording, the band sent its work to composer John Murphy, who completed the score, resulting in a hybrid between Underworld and Murphy.
2007 - 30 Days of Night David Slade Brian Reitzell (composer)

Notable ambient-music shows on radio and via satellite

  • Echoes, is a daily two-hour music radio program hosted by John Diliberto featuring a soundscape of ambient, spacemusic, electronica, new acoustic and new music directions - founded in 1989 and syndicated on 130 radio stations in the USA.
  • Hearts of Space, a program hosted by Stephen Hill and broadcast on NPR in the US since 1973.
  • Musical Starstreams, a US-based commercial radio station and internet program produced, programmed and hosted by Forest since 1981.
  • Star's End a radio show on 88.5 WXPN, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker. Founded in 1976, it is the second longest-running ambient music radio show in the world.
  • Ultima Thule Ambient Music, a weekly 90-minute show broadcast since 1989 on community radio across Australia.
  • Ambient Zone, a weekly 2-hour radio show broadcast on RTRFM in Perthmarker since 1994.

See also


  1. Prendergast, M. The Ambient Century. 2001. Bloomsbury, USA
  2. (Quoting Brian Eno saying "La Monte Young is the daddy of us all" with endnote 113 p. 349 referencing it as "Quoted in Palmer, A Father Figure for the Avant-Garde, p. 49".)
  3. Altered State: The Story of Ecstacy Culture and Acid House, Matthew Collin, 1997, Serpent's Tail ISBN1-85242-377-3
  4. ibid.
  6. "Ambient House", Allmusic (Retrieved October 4, 2006).
  7. "... Originally a 1970s reference to the conjunction of ambient electronics and our expanding visions of cosmic space ... In fact, almost any music with a slow pace and space-creating sound images could be called spacemusic." Stephen Hill, co-founder, Hearts of Space, What is spacemusic?
  8. "Any music with a generally slow, relaxing pace and space-creating imagery or atmospherics may be considered Space Music, without conventional rhythmic elements, while drawing from any number of traditional, ethnic, or modern styles." Lloyde Barde, July/August 2004, Making Sense of the Last 20 Years in New Music
  9. "When you listen to space and ambient music you are connecting with a tradition of contemplative sound experience whose roots are ancient and diverse. The genre spans historical, ethnic, and contemporary styles. In fact, almost any music with a slow pace and space-creating sound images could be called spacemusic." Stephen Hill, co-founder, Hearts of Space, What is spacemusic?
  10. "A timeless ancient as the echoes of a simple bamboo flute or as contemporary as the latest ambient electronica. Any music with a generally slow pace and space-creating sound image can be called spacemusic. Generally quiet, consonant, ethereal, often without conventional rhythmic and dynamic contrasts, spacemusic is found within many historical, ethnic, and contemporary genres."Stephen Hill, co-founder, Hearts of Space, sidebar "What is Spacemusic?" in essay Contemplative Music, Broadly Defined
  11. "The early innovators in electronic "space music" were mostly located around Berlin. The term has come to refer to music in the style of the early and mid 1970s works of Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh and others in that scene. The music is characterized by long compositions, looping sequencer patterns, and improvised lead melody lines." - John Dilaberto, Berlin School, Echoes Radio on-line music glossary
  12. "This music is experienced primarily as a continuum of spatial imagery and emotion, rather than as thematic musical relationships, compositional ideas, or performance values." Essay by Stephen Hill, co-founder, Hearts of Space, New Age Music Made Simple
  13. "Innerspace, Meditative, and Transcendental... This music promotes a psychological movement inward." Stephen Hill, co-founder, Hearts of Space, essay titled New Age Music Made Simple
  14. "...Spacemusic ... conjures up either outer "space" or "inner space" " - Lloyd Barde, founder of Backroads Music Notes on Ambient Music, Hyperreal Music Archive
  15. "Space And Travel Music: Celestial, Cosmic, and Terrestrial... This New Age sub-category has the effect of outward psychological expansion. Celestial or cosmic music removes listeners from their ordinary acoustical surroundings by creating stereo sound images of vast, virtually dimensionless spatial environments. In a word — spacey. Rhythmic or tonal movements animate the experience of flying, floating, cruising, gliding, or hovering within the auditory space."Stephen Hill, co-founder, Hearts of Space, in an essay titled New Age Music Made Simple
  16. " Restorative powers are often claimed for it, and at its best it can create an effective environment to balance some of the stress, noise, and complexity of everyday life." – Stephen Hill, Founder, Music from the Hearts of Space What is Spacemusic?
  17. "This was the soundtrack for countless planetarium shows, on massage tables, and as soundtracks to many videos and movies."- Lloyd Barde Notes on Ambient Music, Hyperreal Music Archive
  18. Reynolds, Simon; Chill: the new ambient, ArtForum, Jan, 1995
  21. "The program has defined its own niche — a mix of ambient, electronic, world, New Age, classical and experimental music....Slow-paced, space-creating music from many cultures — ancient bell meditations, classical adagios, creative space jazz, and the latest electronic and acoustic ambient music are woven into a seamless sequence unified by sound, emotion, and spatial imagery." Stephen Hill, co-founder, Hearts of Space, essay titled Contemplative Music, Broadly Defined
  22. "Hill's Hearts of Space Web site provides streaming access to an archive of hundreds of hours of spacemusic artfully blended into one-hour programs combining ambient, electronic, world, New Age and classical music." Steve Sande, The Sky's the Limit with Ambient Music, SF Chronicle, Sunday, January 11, 2004
  23. "Star's End" is (with the exception of "Music from the Hearts of Space") the longest running radio program of ambient music in the world. Since 1976, Star's End has been providing the Philadelphia broadcast area with music to sleep and dream to." "Star's End" website background information page
  24. "Ambient Zone Online"

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