Looking for 'sonic environments'.
September 22, 2014 12:59 AM   Subscribe

I just read the Program Notes to Become Ocean, recently the subject of a post on the blue, and it contains the following: "[Become Ocean] gives almost no hint of the kind of linear structure of most Western music — no clearly defined episodes, no building of tension leading to moments of resolution, no sense of a narrative or journey with beginning, middle and end. It is not even a piece with themes and developments in any usual sense. Rather, Become Ocean is more a sonic environment in which to immerse oneself." I really like this kind of music. Can you recommend any more of it?

Aside from Become Ocean, these are some examples that I can think of:

The Avalanches - Since I Left You
The Go! Team - The Ice Storm
Boris - Flood

I would prefer instrumental music.

I don't think ambient music is what I'm looking for. I really am looking for a specific evocation of somewhere, some sort of environment.

Thanks, MeFites!
posted by Quilford to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
David Tudor’s Rainforest?
posted by misteraitch at 1:38 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

What you want is Tabletop Audio, my friend.
posted by Jairus at 2:58 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not so much music per se, but ABC Radio National's show The Night Air is an amazing example of this - soundscapes arranged around a theme, with samples often drawn from the last week of media. It's also on the iTunes podcast section.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 3:25 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

You might enjoy David Toop's books 'Ocean of Sound' and 'Haunted Weather', which both discuss this kind of music and have extensive discographies (there are CD compilations to accompany them, high recommended).
posted by Joeruckus at 6:19 AM on September 22, 2014

Ingram Marshall: Fog Tropes
posted by neroli at 6:30 AM on September 22, 2014

The heavy end of the spectrum of what you've described is Sunn o))).
posted by umbú at 9:25 AM on September 22, 2014

How do you feel about 20th century classical music? Because a lot of that music fits this bill, and was designed to eschew linear, tension and release structures.

Just to name a few: Cage, Stockhausen, Berio, Webern, Xenakis, Feldman, Boulez, Crumb, Penderecki, Cowell, Schnitkke, Ligeti, and of course, Lutoslawski.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:56 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by myitkyina at 11:38 AM on September 22, 2014

I am not sure if this quite fits the bill, as it is not earth environments, but I always kind of liked Holst The Planets The idea was to evoke the (astrological) character of each of the known seven planets.
posted by Michele in California at 12:44 PM on September 22, 2014

posted by j_curiouser at 3:58 PM on September 22, 2014

You want "Explosions in the Sky"! One of my favorites for background music that is both relaxing and exciting at the same time.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:20 AM on September 23, 2014

Sonic Seasonings.
posted by Wet Spot at 7:20 PM on September 23, 2014

The area of music sometimes called eai or (electroacoustic improvisation). Look at labels like Erstwhile, Homophoni, Slub, Hitari, Balloon&Needle, Compost and Height, Grob, and For4Ears.

Maybe try some AMM...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:50 PM on September 23, 2014

You might also consider Wandelweister and the Pisaro-centric label Gravity Wave...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:51 PM on September 23, 2014

I'm also going to second Morton Feldman and put in a vote for one of the most beautiful guitar records ever made, Taku Sugimoto's Opposite.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:46 PM on September 24, 2014

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