When repeated or revisited enough, imagination is traced as memory, and thus becomes a form of interior reality.
This is Paul Clipson. He saw the world in a way that few others did. He created films from this unique perspective and inspired a whole lot of us through doing so. I’ll miss you Paul. Safe onward journeys.
You can read my essay on Ambient via Fact Magazine. In the meantime, here are 12 provocations towards the music’s future.
Ambient is a music of lived moments.
Ambient recognizes control must be forgone with respect to how the music is encountered (but not how it is composed).
Ambient is experientially discrete, but not musically so.
Ambient acknowledges the deceit that is the promise of repetition.
Ambient is never only music for escapism. It is a zone for participation in a pursuit of musical listenership that acknowledges sound’s potential values in broader spheres (the social, political, cultural etc). It is a freeing up, an opening out and a deepening, simultaneously.
Ambient pulses; it courses. Rhythm is a rare friend to this music.
Ambient is never only music. It is a confluence of sound, situation and listenership; moreover it’s an unspoken contract between the creator, listener and place, seeking to achieve a specific type of musical experience.
Ambient is about the primacy of listening (for audience and creator). The music and the spaces and places (interior and exterior) it occupies are critical to how it is appreciated, understood and consumed.
Ambient is transcendent but does not seek some higher plane. It is not new age music. Rather ambient music’s transcendence is within, and invites us deeper into the lived experience of the everyday.
Ambient is never a documentation of somewhere or sometime. Instead it creates an individuated, impressionistic and imagined place. It is realized in-between our internal and external selves.
Ambient is a music of perspectives. It is never fully knowable, in that the music seeps between perspectives (micro and macro) and dimensions of listening constantly. It maintains a sense of the eerie (as Mark Fisher noted).
Ambient is friend to noise, to volume, to physicality. It is however, an enemy of uncalculated dynamism.
Ambient is never finished. It is an experiential process of becoming – for listeners, for creators and more broadly as a musical philosophy.
In the late naughties, Tujiko Noriko, John Chantler and myself were touring in AU. We played Brisbane the same night as The Fall (was a shame to miss them). The next morning we were on route to the airport and as we pulled up at the lights, The Fall were in a small bus next to us. Mark E. Smith was sitting in the window holding his head. As we finished checking in, we turned around and low and behold Mark E. Smith was right there in front of us. He looked UTTERLY hungover; Pacing around in circles. Rather than let the poor fellow spiral onward John and I decided to pop over and say hello. He asked us what we were doing, and we told him we were touring with Tujiko Noriko. Without missing a beat, he glanced at us and in the most diminishingly elegant way, he said to us ‘so what you then? the backing band?’. I couldn’t help but smirk (caught in the photo too), such a perfect exchange with a frontman par excellence. One who clearly did not have much time for the ‘backing band’. Another great character of our age gone…RIP.
And still it sounded, but who listens?