Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
re:dream
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Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by re:dream » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:41 am

gjm wrote: Making Ambient music, Tips, Methods, workflow etc would make an interesting thread (I think). I am pretty well locked into structure dominant compositions, ie building everything around scale tone chord sequences. I am also comfortable with hearing just the basic instruments (ie guitars, piano, drums) with small adjustments to tone. Pretty traditional stuff really. I can only think of Ambient in terms of a relationship with something visual. Composing to imagery makes it easier to think about. Getting an insight into how others compose as well as hearing their work in context might be good.
I am not sure what counts as ambient any more (some of my friends would call anything below 135 bpm ambient)... but this would be an interesting discussion. I don't call what I make ambient (more downtempo electronica) but I am aware there is a lot of unknowns for me in making a track that doesn't start with the standard kick/snare/hats/bass combo. It would be interested in hearing what people do...

david.barker
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by david.barker » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:28 am

Well to start things off

I like to make ambient music,the subject is vast as there is many forms,for example, industrial,minimalist etc

and everyone has their own approach,the key is to make the music,interesting and forever changing,kind of painting but with sound,to evoke an atmosphere,or mood :D

I like the dark ambient stuff,getting ideas form horror films and other sources

david.barker
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by david.barker » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:56 am

Ha,ha thanks bud :D

I got a few tracks on my Soundcloud page,some made with Live,some made with Live and Reason together :D

And currently working on some new material.I got a storyboard full of ideas,its a slow process.

But also getting to grips with the new Live 9 stuff,and soon,I will be using Reason 7 with Live too,eventually ( that's going to be awesome)

Also working on a special project for Halloween 2013 ,as well,lol

Trying to get as much,practice and experimental time in as possible,(when I got rest days and holidays,from my shift work) :D

AustinThumper
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by AustinThumper » Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:09 pm

david.barker wrote:...the key is to make the music,interesting and forever changing,kind of painting but with sound,to evoke an atmosphere,or mood...
I like to include a generative element or two as well.

I love the sound of Reaktors' Metaphysical Function, I sometimes leave that running while I putter around the house. More interesting than Music For Airports.. :lol:

Edit: OT a little, but PaulStretch can make "ambient" music out of most anything..

http://hypermammut.sourceforge.net/paulstretch/
Live 9.6 Suite / Max 7.2 / REAPER / Reaktor 6 / Win10 64bit / 4.2GHz i7 / 32GB DRAM / SSD / 828mk3 / 4 x HR824 / QX25 / HPD-15 / Sonor club kit / Mother-32 and a growing Eurorack.

david.barker
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by david.barker » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:12 pm

AustinThumper wrote:
david.barker wrote:...the key is to make the music,interesting and forever changing,kind of painting but with sound,to evoke an atmosphere,or mood...
I like to include a generative element or two as well.

I love the sound of Reaktors' Metaphysical Function, I sometimes leave that running while I putter around the house. More interesting than Music For Airports.. :lol:

Edit: OT a little, but PaulStretch can make "ambient" music out of most anything..

http://hypermammut.sourceforge.net/paulstretch/
Yep heard of his work, Austin

I'm also a big fan of Jean Michel Jarre. Two of his albums Oxygene as an example, and Waiting for Cousteau,as another example of atmospheric work

With me,I try and avoid making the kind of music,found in for shopping centers,lifts and airports, too ha,ha

But try to have something,that's interesting and can hold the listeners attention.As an example a sudden cut off the main sound except for a few drips,heavy fx affected breathing,footsteps etc :D

But sure, anything can be used for ambient work,the genre as we agree is huge :D

re:dream
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by re:dream » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:42 pm

AustinThumper wrote:[
I like to include a generative element or two as well.

I love the sound of Reaktors' Metaphysical Function, I sometimes leave that running while I putter around the house. More interesting than Music For Airports.. :lol:



http://hypermammut.sourceforge.net/paulstretch/
I am interesting in learning more about this. I used to like audiomulch for its generative capabilities, and I'm interested in Live devices / plugins that have this dimension...

ObtuseMoose
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by ObtuseMoose » Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:52 pm

I love "ambient" music that meets Brian Eno's original definition: "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." That is, it's something I can put on that sets a mood, but never intrudes or distracts. Anything from Eno's "Ambient 1" and "Ambient 4", the title track of Jarre's "Waiting for Cousteau", DAC Crowell's "Umi No Kami Ni Kansha" from "The Sea and the Sky".

When I've tried making such music, I've found achieving this balance of interest and ignorability to be very difficult. It always ends up distracting by either being too active to ignore or too static to sit down and listen to. So I'm quite interested in the creative and composition process that others have found useful.

"PaulStretch" was mentioned as being able to make just about anything sound "ambient". A plugin that I've found useful in a similar way is Michael Norris' "Spectral DroneMaker". It's a Mac-only AU (sorry Windows people :-( ) that does real-time spectral processing and is extremely tweakable. Brian Trifon demonstrates it at

http://nextstepaudio.com/pads/trifonic- ... ronemaker/

The plugin itself is available at

http://www.michaelnorris.info/software/ ... ctral.html

--
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tintala
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by tintala » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:29 pm

Back in the day it was called "visionary music"... ie. STeve Roach , Robert Rich, Stephen hill Hearts of SPace.. etc.


anyways, here is a link with a discussion on making Ambient like Robert Rich


http://robertrich.com/gear-talk/

eddiex
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by eddiex » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:57 pm

AustinThumper wrote: I love the sound of Reaktors' Metaphysical Function, I sometimes leave that running while I putter around the house. More interesting than Music For Airports.. :lol:
:lol: HEY!!! I LOVE MUSIC FOR AIRPORTS!!!
you know....i just purchased REAKTOR a little while back, i never even messed with METAPHYSICAL FUNCTION until this post. can you point me in the direction of a tutorial to be able to use it, instead of just let it do it's thing. i GOOGLED...i wasn't having any luck.
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StooB1969
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by StooB1969 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:07 pm

My one BIG tip on making ambient music:

put a ping pong delay on everything that matters! :mrgreen:

AustinThumper
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by AustinThumper » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:16 pm

Well after my snarky music for airports comment, I promptly put it on.. Very relaxing.

Re metaphysical, I can't recommend anything other than just adjust the million parameters and noting how the sound changes.. I think mapping the m4l Lfo to some of those params might worth a laugh or two.
Live 9.6 Suite / Max 7.2 / REAPER / Reaktor 6 / Win10 64bit / 4.2GHz i7 / 32GB DRAM / SSD / 828mk3 / 4 x HR824 / QX25 / HPD-15 / Sonor club kit / Mother-32 and a growing Eurorack.

gjm
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by gjm » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:14 am

Off to a good start :D
ObtuseMoose wrote:I love "ambient" music that meets Brian Eno's original definition: "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." That is, it's something I can put on that sets a mood, but never intrudes or distracts...

When I've tried making such music, I've found achieving this balance of interest and ignorability to be very difficult. It always ends up distracting by either being too active to ignore or too static to sit down and listen to. So I'm quite interested in the creative and composition process that others have found useful.
Thank you... very helpful insight. I tried to make something Ambient this weekend, but according to your definition as outlined above, I may have failed. If you have 3 mins then have a listen, I would appreciate some feed back. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS4yz4bTx5I

Basically I set out with no direction in mind, I just started with a preset and 'asked' what I thought should follow. Kind of a follow your nose thing. I did lean heavily on a scale tone chord structure, I-IV-iv. I was not able to break out of that box once I got going.

Ping Pong definitely did it for me :P . It added to the feeling and place I had in mind. The video imagery was just throw away stuff I had on my hard drive, but it was what came to mind as I fleshed out the music. Actually, the place WHERE I took the video came to mind so I used it.

Hope you had a good weekend. G.
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[art]
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by [art] » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:07 am

i definitely think a healthy amount of restraint goes a long way in ambient music

convex
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by convex » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:30 am

Mute the drums.

david.barker
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Re: Making Ambient Music (tips, methods, workflow, etc)

Post by david.barker » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:44 am

Less is definatly more in ambient music :D

Taking your time and focus on sections,of your track will go a long way.Avoid cramming too much,and making sure you have enough time on your tracks too,to spread out your sounds

The essential part of working is of course to colour and label,and organize your track sections,using the location markers helps with arranging too

I usually set the loop point and then start to figure out from there.Uusing a white board,I write ideas down and try out various sounds.

Although I got no musical knowledge,or qualifications,I can usually fit sounds together, (play by ear ) and start to come up with a vision of the track,lol

Being a big horror and sci film fan,I have a vivid imagination,ha,ha :D

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