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Sun 5 Oct 2014

A quote from 33⅓: Selected Ambient Works Volume II (2014) by Marc Weidenbaum, on Aphex Twin’s 1994 album:

Perhaps, though, the record did seem more beatless at the time of its initial conception. Perhaps the world is quieter now in some respects. Electric cars motor by with no engine sound. Solid state drives in computers and portable tablets have virtually eliminated the hard-drive whir that for many years served as digital music's equivalent to the surface noise of vinyl and cassettes. There is ever more abundant use of headphones, isolating listeners from the world around them. Sound design is increasingly a considered—that is restrained—component of product design, so the sounds we do experience in consumer goods—from alarm clocks to microwaves—are more tasteful. Movies and TV shows now feature the so-termed “underscoring” techniques pioneered by the likes of Lisa Gerrard (Whale Rider, Gladiator), Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan), and Cliff Martinez (sex, lies, and videotape; Solaris), rather than the foregrounded, melodramatic orchestral techniques of an earlier generation, or the synthesized renditions of those orchestral techniques that served as a bridge from orchestra to our present era of ambient movie scoring. Perhaps we only can hear the beats inherent in Selected Ambient Works Volume II two decades after the fact because those elements are, in cultural terms, louder now. Or perhaps it all depends on what the meaning of “beat” is.





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Last Updated: 5 Oct 2014

Email: liam [at] solus [dot] fm

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