Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Interlude: The Ambient Tones of the Millennial Consciousness

Erik Satie (1866-1925).

Ambient music as a distinct genre in popular music dates from Brian Eno's work in the late 1970s.  Eno has cited the minimalist influence of La Monte Young (listen here), but according to xtimeline, Ambient music has its roots in the turn of another century and artistic movements such as Futurism:
Ambient music is a musical genre in which sound is more important than notes. It is generally identifiable as being broadly atmospheric and environmental in nature.

Ambient music evolved from early 20th century forms of "semi-audible music", from the impressionism of Erik Satie, through musique concrete and the minimalism of Terry Riley and Philip Glass, and Brian Eno's deliberate sub-audible approach.

Later developments found the dreamy non-linear elements of ambient music applied to some forms of rhythmic music presented in "chillout" rooms at raves and other dance events, but always with the primary feature that the music is intended to drift in and out of the listener's awareness while creating its effect on the listener's consciousness.
This type of music fits very well with the floating, ever-present now of constant Millennial change.  Ambient music fostered a family of sub-genres that now provide the background sound to the whole Technological Revolution, from club music, to meditation music, to mood music, to film and video game soundtracks. Some newer forms from the 90s and the 00s include (click on the links for samples): Organic Ambient; Nature-inspired Ambient; Dark Ambient; Ambient House; Ambient Industrial; Space Music; Isolationist Ambient; and Ambient Dub. Ambient music has also influenced a lot of Millennial music that would not fall neatly under that category, such as some of the videos below.

Gnossienne No. 1 (1890-1893) - Erik Satie (interpretation: Reinbert De Leeuw). Video Source: Youtube.

The Ottawa Object (LJ Kruzer Remix, 2010) - Posthuman. Video Source: Youtube.

Theme for Edanna - Myst III: Exile (Music) - Jack Wall. Video Source: Youtube.

The Swamp - Myst IV: Revelation (Music) - Jack Wall. Video Source: Youtube.

"VII6 - Obscured by Klaus" by Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook. Video Source: Youtube. CD: More Plush.

"Die Halbstarken" by Martin Böttcher. Video Source: Youtube.

Buddhist Meditation Music - Zen Garden - Kokin Gumi. Video Source: Youtube.

All copyrights for this music and their videos reside with their respective creators and owners and are reproduced here under Fair Use solely for the non-commercial purpose of discussion and review.


  1. In late 2005 Eno finally released a DVD format of "Thursday Afternoon", the video counterpart to his mid-80's album. It had previously only been available as a rare VHS or Beta tape. He saw video as a form of painting, not a medium for narrative. That's odd, because most people see video's ability to play out stories without being confined to linear narrative (like a book) to be a strength not a shortcoming.

    I don't know how many readers caught all the Pink Floyd references on the Klaus Schultze screen. Do you think they were hoping to provoke discussions comparing psychedelics to ambience, or were they just being playful?

  2. I think it was a nostalgic musical tribute to the Dark Side of the Moon and a retro nod to the old synthesizer. But I'm not sure how far the parallels go. Ambient music taps the consciousness of everyday awareness. Psychedelics were the antithesis of that, pushing as far beyond that pale as they could go.