Or this? Quadruple album merchants The Orb.

music is your ears. Of course any history of ambient music must

include one-time Roxy d'flerence Music mad accessory batween Brian Eno, who is good and bad invariably credited with ambient having defined the

music is your ears.’ - Alex Paterson

contemporary version of the genre on albums like Music for Airports, Music for Films, Apollo and most essentially. 1982’s On Land. As the recent Eno boxed sets admirably show, this wasn’t blank aural wallpaper but a cultural legacy destined for legend precisely because of its ubiquity. Wherever you go. ambience fits.

Fast-forwarding through the rather barren late 80s, we find ourselves in the chill-out room at London’s Heaven nightclub in 1990, where one Alex Paterson, along with KLF cohorts Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond, is indulging himself with a dense mesh of abstract sounds from bird warbles and sound effects to records by long- reviled cosmic space cadets like Steve Hillage and Klaus Schulxe. With the success of The Orb’s single ‘A Huge and Ever-growing Brain’ and The KLF’s seminal ‘Space’ and ‘Chill-Out’ opuses, ‘ambient house’ was born. lt spawned quadruple albums, sprawling live shows and much of the self-indulgence that the older generation among you will claim to have fought the punk wars against.

Tough. in the last three years, as house music found itself hopelessly diluted by its inevitable commercialisation, and its successor, the harsher, German-influenced sound of techno ended up as more of a test of endurance than as a purely functional soundtrack to excessive

pharmaceutical ingestion, so ambient finds itself on the rise once more. Having been refracted through the sensuality and increased receptiveness to rhythms of the post-Ecstasy generation, it has spiralled into the most adventurous, most adaptive form of music of recent years. Bands like Seefeel, Main and Bark Psychosis plunder equally from jazz, dub and white noise, while cutting- edge exponents such as Reload, Aphex Twin and Biosphere delineate the existing boundaries of ambient to fashion densely woven textures of sound without geographical or temporal context. No wonder Morris, Britain’s foremost ambient DJ (and as irresistible Force, a leading exponent of the new age of electronic symphonia) wears his optimism like an aura.


‘l’m already getting stuff on tape which is miles better than anything on record,’ he beams. ‘A year ago, I had to play a lot of old stuff to fill out an evening. This morning I got nine CDs alone. There’s so many really inspired people coming out . it’s gone way beyond “Oh look at Alex [Paterson], isn’t he clever?” It’s really something that’s happening across the planet.

from all over the world . .

‘You take any element, and imagine it’s the only thing on the

%. Howl invented ambient, by Brian Eno

The iolllcaliy-challenged inventor of aural wallpaper.

‘WE illVEllT NEW instruments tape,’ he says. ‘The challenge thousands of times a day,’ says then is to mdte something out Brian Eno. ‘That’s actually what oi it. I completely internalise most oi pop music is about in my the bass and the drums, the opinion. It’s about the invention things that have always been of new sounds.’ there, they become totally

It’s nearly twenty years since internal to you. You can take the former Roxy Music them out at the mix and you keyboardist and sound-shaper still hear them. You’re so used ‘invented’ ambient music. to them, you sort oi supply Appropriately enough, it was a them into the song. It’s like process shaped mostly by dub taken a step turther.’ chance. ‘i’d been in an accident,’ Eno is tar trom insulted at the he recalls, ‘and I put a record on Idea of his music being the stereo beiore crawling back described as ‘aural wallpaper’. to my bed. It was harp music or ‘it crops up in the strangest oi something and by the time I’d places,’ he says. ‘Peopie doing collapsed, i noticed one of my message tor instance. I even speakers wasn’t working. The met a dominatrix who played volume was also pretty low and (in land (1 982) in her dungeon. there was nothing I could do i am quite happy with her about it. The droning background choice. It’s probably justified noise became part of the because the tunes are surroundings, part of the room, extremely slow. (in that record, and ambient music was, as it there are tunes which take were, born literally by accident.’ about tour minutes to happen.

This concept oi music as part oi Th0! 8'0 V"! 8'0". but 8110! I the whole environment tuelied all while you get used to them, his work irom Discreet Music on. and start to rectum” "I'm 88

such.’ (Pierre Perrone)

Brian Eno Boxed Sets I and 2 are out now on Virgin. Also recently released and recommended are Virgin ’s Brief History of Ambience Vols 1 and 2; Rising Higlz’s Air, Dreamfish And Silence trilogy; Silk A Recycle or Die compilation on WEA; Ambient Dubs Vols 1—3 on Beyond; and The Orbs 93 Evil Bro quadruple live album.

This has been a watershed year.’ 1993 the death of the disco dancer and the birth of the ambient chill-out snoozer. Float on ’94. Cl

If? Overleat; Top ten ambient releases, plus ‘amorphous trance-inflected club sets, rhythmic minimalism and sweeping electro-waves iorge spatial soundscapes’ - Scottish ambience providers TRANSPARENT SOURCE.

The List 3- l6 December l993 11