First of all, thank you very much for your kind reply.
Actually I have some money and I'm hesitating whether to buy a midi keyboard or upgrade Reason. In all honesty, if the latter is enough *for now* as I'm a total noob it's ok, if not please feel free to suggest and I'll go with it!
I like Reason quite a bit, but I have tried some other options before coming back to it. If it's all you have ever tried I'd definitely suggest spending some time to check out other software before committing.
It's a joke. It takes your username and places it in the sentence. For me it says "I heard lowlif3 still sucks at music."
I'd rather go with Live than Reason for Tim Hecker's style. Then get a shitload of free granular, bitcrusher and pitch shift vst plugins. Record real instruments and cool noises and manipulate them to sound even cooler. Try paulstretch. It makes nice ambient music from pretty much anything by stretching it. Sounds way better than the internal time stretch in Live.
If on a budget I would use mixcraft, it is a decent enough DAW to where you can get your tracks lined up on rhythm along with multiple lanes. Personally I would never use my phone to record, again if on a budget you should look into an AT2020 condenser microphone(It's around $100). It's your effects though that will really create the atmosphere of an ambient song. Reverb, chorus, delay, compression. All essential.
Currently Listening To:William Basinski- Red score in tile
Any DAW would work with the exceptions of Dr. Drum, Sonic Producer and Dub Turbo. So, Reason is fine.
As for what you need to get started, that's the beauty of Ambient, Drone and whatnot. It's personal preference and it's all based on what you feel. If you'd like, you could invest in a recorder and record various sounds such as a busy street, a forest or even your cat purring. Then if you want, you could drench those in FX.
If you don't have the money, you can always explore on Freesound, I know for a fact that Bvdub likes to acquire some samples from there.
Hey threadposter, lots of good suggestions here. Ableton 8 is pretty good for sequencing and audio interface (using a thru for a keyboard, MIDI or Audio/MIDI, I use both) but I don't use Ableton much for timestretching purposefully. I repitch using the transpose function instead and rarely record to a tempo. This kind of thinking is to create transcension in the ambient drone field since, for the most part, ambient is metre-less.
Can't add to the software recommendations cos I think they all have their advantages but I think the best ambient music (imho) stems from field recordings, then using those to sample, picking up on binaural beats, adding dynamics and effects. It's always original then, atmospheric with 'feeling' as well as unique and un copyable.
A useful forum for you could be Ambient Online Forums-these are a group of dedicated guys (and gals) who really know their ambient stuff.