The Guilty Pleasure of Ambient Music

Long gone are those school days where I wouldn’t let any of my friends hold my phone when I showed them a song. We used to sit on the corridor floors at lunch, passing our phones and MP3 players to each other trying to show off about who has the best music taste and who’s parents let them pirate music.

I never ever let anyone look through my playlist though. At the age of 14, when being uncool was worse than death, I had several classical and ambient tracks on my phone- and I was dead scared of anyone finding out.

Many would say that your teenage years are years of experimentation – I was in the thick of it (in my mind though, because high introversion and that). I listened to everything that sparked my interest. I was one of those kids who was given a copy of Sophie’s World, which caused me to drop all want of a “decent job” and made me decide that I was going to be a philosopher for the rest of my life (haha). This had its natural consequences. I wasn’t just dabbling in different metal genres – heck, I could even explain the sound tracks to my favourite cheesy and nostalgic games- but ambient? Opera? Gregorian Chant? I was already bullied to the ground by then, I didn’t need anyone to find this out.

It’s funny isn’t it though, how the internet has changed and consequently changed our lives. Nowadays people speak openly about what they think might be “weird” music tastes. Hell, they even defend ASMR as a normal and acceptable thing (although we all know that it’s just softcore porn, like most of Twitch). In all honesty, because of my experience, I’m all for people listening to whatever they like and not having to feel ashamed of it. I mean, I used to think music and what people listen to was a very teenage topic, but you’d be surprised at how many people I know at university that only listen to one music genre and consider all else heresy made for the sheeple.

Those people are usually some sort of ex-scene kid types who listen to all sorts of “cores.” They remind me of the good old Myspace days when I was considered a cat-killer and greasy Satanist greebo for listening to MCR (IKR?!). Back in those days all the popular kids in school had a MySpace bio that features the declaration “I like all music accept rock” in one form or another. So yeah, if you’re a music snob- that’s what you sound like to me.

Why I love Ambient Music

Obviously, I should have never been embarrassed at my love of ambient music, because the more people I speak to the more I realise that everyone loves it. Even if they say they don’t. Ambient music has such a wide scope, that you are bound to find something that you like.

It was this sort of music that actually started my passion for writing. Whenever I listened to music, but especially ambient, I would imagine vast worlds and characters emerging, without even putting much thought to it. So if you struggle with inspiration, especially when you’re writing speculative fiction or something in a particular setting, try finding an appropriate ambient mix that can spark you off.

Some Ambient Suggestions

Now that you’ve read all this Stockholm Syndrome type nostalgia of someone who can’t get over getting bullied at school, here’s some of my favourite mixes you can listen to on YouTube when you need to relax or have some background music that inspires and doesn’t distract you too much.

Cryo Chamber

If you’ve not seen this channel yet, you have been missing out on some absolutely delicious, dark and deep ambient music- from the terrifying emptiness of space, through Lovecraftian horror to unexplored dungeons.

ASMR Ambiance

Don’t worry, there’s no girls “kchking” in your ear to give you goosebumps. There mixes can really bring you into a magical place that can help you focus. It’s not just libraries though, there’s plenty of server rooms too!

Lo-fi

I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t mention how much I love lo-fi, despite not really being a hip hop person. It’s the slowed down nature of it that gets me.

Meaning Wave

And from lo-fi, I found Meaning Wave, which is an awesome way of listening to my favourite lectures. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re into that sort of thing you’ll find it calming and inspiring.

Electronic Ambient

This is something Dan introduced me to. I used to dabble in electronic music, but he showed me the absolute genius of artists like Aphex Twin, Astrobotania and musiq.

What do you think? What’s your favourite ambient music? Let me know in the comments.

If you’re interested in more music suggestions, do stick around. I am going to be uploading regularly about my “YouTube Recommended” playlist, where I will talk about some of the – more or less popular- music gems that the algorithm can lead you to.

4 Comments

    • Alicja

      That’s really cool stuff! I’d love to be able to make music or art, but I can only just about write haha. Yeah, I was chuffed because my BF is a big fan of Aphex Twin, so I became one as well and now we have a dangerously expensive vinyl collection -covers eyes-

      Thanks for the comment!

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