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Old 11-04-2017, 11:04 PM   #6
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Re: Ritualistic approach in Dark Ambient

I think that all goes back to Lustmord (arguably the beginning of dark ambient) in the early 80s and Williams' use of things like Tibetan chants and whatnot alongside the low field ambient drones as counterpoint and contrast. I can't argue that it's not evocative - ritual, esotery and mystery all tend to go hand in hand. There's a real element of Otherness at work in that the mysterious is seen as outside mainstream as well as a mirroring of traditional values while still set apart. I think it captivates the imagination in a parallel way to the abstraction of ambience and drone.

As for people that are really into their religion and making music based around it...yeah, sure, fine. I don't have to be Catholic to enjoy Bach's Mass in B minor or Mozart's Requiem. The question of whether music of that quality and depth could have been made outside the framework of their beliefs is mostly historical and academic - the answer is a resounding 'no', but mostly because of sociopolitical reasons. As to current dark ambient, I don't see any reason that you have to be involved with or believe in the ritual itself to make ritualistic music. If you do then that's fine, but I don't think being into Golden Dawn/OTO/Church of Satan/Southern Baptist/whatever mysticism stuff means you make better dark ambient.

That said, I personally find it all pretty goofy. The only ritual I adhere to is brushing my teeth twice a day. I have little time or interest in manufactured evil or mystery, especially when it's rooted in showmanship. Given that I don't care for or pay attention to the actual content of the ritualism, manufactured or otherwise, I don't think an artist (me, mostly) needs to believe in any of the content to make something meaningful or with context - in fact, I find that some of the most interesting juxtapositions happen when individual elements that are normally defined by their context (ie rituals) are taken out of it and used for other purposes.
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