In February last year, Monty Adkins and i organised Ambient@40, the first academic conference devoted to ambient music, which took place over two days at Huddersfield University. The conference was designed to explore the history and legacy of the genre forty years after the release of Brian Eno’s pivotal album Ambient 1: Music For Airports, and i’m delighted to announce that an accompanying book, Music Beyond Airports: appraising ambient music, is published today. Co-edited by Monty and me, the book features lengthy chapters by many of the contributors from the conference, approaching ambient from a host of different angles encompassing musical, psychological, societal, cultural and gender aspects, among many others.
Here’s a summary of the chapters:
- David Toop – How Much World Do You Want? Ambient Listening and its Questions
- Ambrose Field – Space In The Ambience: Is Ambient Music Socially Relevant?
- Ulf Holbrook – A Question of Background: Sites of Listening
- Richard Talbot – Three Manifestations of Spatiality in Ambient Music
- Simon Cummings – The Steady State Theory: Recalibrating the Quiddity of Ambient Music
- Monty Adkins – Fragility, Noise, and Atmosphere in Ambient Music
- Lisa Colton – Channelling the Ecstasy Of Hildegard Von Bingen: “O Euchari” Remixed
- Justin Morey – Ambient House: “Little Fluffy Clouds” and the Sampler as Time Machine
- Axel Berndt – Adaptive Game Scoring with Ambient Music
Taken together, i believe they provide a fascinating and provocative investigation of what ambient is, how it works, and its wider implications, connotations and meanings for composers and listeners alike.
Published by The University of Huddersfield Press, the book is available as both a print edition (£30 from Gazelle Book Services and Amazon; currently only £26.70 from Wordery) and a free ebook download (PDF/EPUB/MOBI) from the Huddersfield University website.