Guide to ambient styles
Dark Ambient is quite the diverse genre of music. Within the realms of dark ambient we have heard enormous variation in sounds and styles. These styles have slowly taken form over the roughly three decades of dark ambient. Yet, each style always seems to have the distinct characteristics of dark ambient. So to start with, what exactly is dark ambient?
I would suggest that dark ambient is a kind of music, which is minimal on percussion and vocals. If there are guitars present there will never be a solo or a lead riff. Occasionally you will come across albums which do have a bit of guitar. But it is rarely, if ever used in the conventional manner. Field recordings are often key to the sound. They can be the main component connecting an album to an ambient genre. How these field recordings are used can be varied. The variations in field recordings is one of the main ways to distinguish one style from another. Synthesizers are another key component. Since the ’70s synths have been used to create a whole new level of sound. This has never been achieved before, through thousands of years of music. Live instrumentation is yet another key element, though not necessary. Acoustic guitars, flutes, and cellos are able to bring a lofty concept back within the realms of humanity. Yet, tribal drums can be incorporated to take us to a whole new realm of consciousness. Vocals are the least used vessel of instrumentation. Yet, when utilized through singing, chanting, or spoken word, they often become the most potent ingredient.