Excursions In Ambience
"Excursions In Ambience" CD (Astralwerks)
Suddenly, the very face of ambient music is changing. Time was that ambient was composed largely on machines - now Stereolab, Seefeel, Flying Saucer Attack, Labradford and others are fucking up the ambient paradigm by bringing guitars in. Naturally, this also plays with the rock 'n' roll paradigm which suggests guitars have but one purpose - to rock. However, in the hands of these musicians, guitars reverberate seemingly infinitely, exploding the horizon and revealing it to be a limitless panorama which will always be a vista of possibility. The final seconds of FSA's "Instrumental Wish" perhaps offer the most cogent proof as they idly strum their radically fuzzed guitars, pulling chords from the aether which could provide other, lesser bands (and did back when shoegazing was on the cover of the Maker) with a career's worth of material. That FSA can simply throw such chords in to close the last 20 seconds of a 6 and a half minute long song, essentially discarding them to be forgotten due to their transitory nature and terminal position, only offers absolute proof that what is at stake in ambient music is nothing less than trying to understand, describe and make the listener feel all the grand, sweeping emotions pop music fails to convey.