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 "The cusp between melody and texture" -- Brian Eno


Ambient music is usually minimalistic, attempting to stir up a certain atmosphere or imagery to the listener. The instruments used are mostly of an electronic nature such as synthesizers, samplers and drum machines. However more traditional instrumentation is also prevelant among artists.

Its understated nature and tendency to evoke positive feelings in a listener make it very popular during relaxation and as feel good inspiration. Its darker side is also useful in creating tension and underlying emotion in TV and film. Subtle unsettling scores can make all the difference in keeping your audience on edge whilst not overpowering the scene.

The origins of the music can be seen as beginning just before and after the first World War along side art movements such as futurism which emphasized less traditional experimentation in music. According to That Other Wiki, Brian Eno actually coined the term "Ambient Music" during the 70's. He once described the music as capable of being:

"Actively listened to with attention or as easily ignored, depending on the choice of the listener".

A statement that nicely sums up why it can be engaging for some and simply background music for others.

Certain subgenres of Alternative Rock draw influences from ambient music, such as Dream Pop and Slowcore/Sadcore.

Sub-genres include:

  • Ambient House
  • Ambient Industrial
  • Dark Ambient
  • Drone Ambient
  • Isolationalism
  • Lowercase
Examples of Ambient Artists/Works:


  • Brian Eno
    • Another Green World
    • Discreet Music
    • Ambient 1: Music for Airports
    • Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics (with Jon Hassell)
    • Ambient 4: On Land
    • Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks
    • Thursday Afternoon
    • The Shutov Assembly
    • Neroli
  • Enigma
    • MCMXC A.D.
    • A Posteriori
  • Aphex Twin
    • Selected Ambient Works 85–92
    • Selected Ambient Works Volume II
  • Nine Inch Nails
    • Ghosts I-IV
  • György Ligeti
    • Atmosphères
  • Tangerine Dream
    • Alpha Centauri
    • Zeit
    • Phaedra
    • Rubycon
    • Ricochet
    • Stratosfear
    • The Seven Letters from Tibet
  • The Future Sound Of London
    • Lifeforms
  • Moby
  • Lustmord - Trope Maker of dark ambient.
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