Lawrence English: “Notes toward a future ambient”

Because I am currently recovering from a heart operation, Ambientblog will be quiet for a few weeks until I have regained my energy.

To break the silence a bit, here’s a repost of the interesting observations on the future of Ambient music that Lawrence English posted on Facebook today (reposted with permission, of course).
Food for thought!

Lawrence English


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.

Lawrence English

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    1. Yes, slowly feeling better now and regaining my energy, thanks. It just needs time (which is as predicted for this kind of operation, so nothing unusual). Beginning to think about re-starting the blog as soon as possible!

  1. Thank you for reposting this beautiful article – yes to all that English says here!

    I’ve been in that post-heart op place – actually a quiet, good place if you let your body lead, I found. Rest all you need – move as much as feels good. Blessings!