brian Eno wrote:
The concept of music designed specifically as a background feature in the environment was pioneered by Muzak Inc. in the fifties, and has since come to be known generically by the term Muzak. The connotations that this term carries are those particularly associated with the kind of material that Muzak Inc. produces - familiar tunes arranged and orchestrated in a lightweight and derivative manner. Understandably, this has led most discerning listeners (and most composers) to dismiss entirely the concept of environmental music as an idea worthy of attention.
Over the past three years, I have become interested in the use of music as ambience, and have come to believe that it is possible to produce material that can be used thus without being in any way compromised. To create a distinction between my own experiments in this area and the products of the various purveyors of canned music, I have begun using the term Ambient Music.
An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint. My intention is to produce original pieces ostensibly (but not exclusively) for particular times and situations with a view to building up a small but versatile catalogue of environmental music suited to a wide variety of moods and atmospheres.
Whereas the extant canned music companies proceed from the basis of regularizing environments by blanketing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncracies, Ambient Music is intended to enhance these. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty (and thus all genuine interest) from the music, Ambient Music retains these qualities. And whereas their intention is to `brighten' the environment by adding stimulus to it (thus supposedly alleviating the tedium of routine tasks and levelling out the natural ups and downs of the body rhythms) Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think.
Ambient Music must be able to accomodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.
The above is the liner notes to 'Music For Airports', considered one of the first "ambient" records. I respect Brian Eno quite a bit. I appreciate his approach and consideration to making music which can be pretty delicate, to say the least. I don't, however, agree with him. My roommate, Connor Bell, pointed out how the term ambient is a little offensive. The music is appealing, if a little unconventional, and certainly something worth more than one listen. Ambient, he posits, implies the music should be in the background, not the forefront, which Brian Eno , at east Brian Eno circa 1978, seemed to disagreed with. Of course, I paraphrase. Hopefully, that still finds Connor's intentions in tact, as that this is what I took from it.
My point here, is that I really like this record, and the genre that it inspired, but I don't care for a tract on how I should appreciate it. Once it was released, it was open to interpretation. I've made music with a very specific function in mind, but other people took it entirely in a different direction. That to me, is what makes music, and creating music (or any art) exciting, the idea that different people interpret things entirely separate from their intended concept.
Art is for everyone. I'm not arguing one way or another about downloading. I'm just saying that art is entirely in the eye of the beholder which makes it a public affair.