Ambient Music and Religious Music in Full Circle

Edgard Vargese aptly defined music as an art form of organized sounds seeking to express feelings as well emotions in melodic moods. He was right. As a cultural phenomenon music accentuates emotions and unites people.

Among the niche segments of music ambient music stands out for its rapid growth and changes. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Brian Eno, The Yellow Magic Orchestra and Tangerine Dream ambient music’s thrust was natural noises such as bird song, whale speech and other aquatic sounds.

Ambient music metamorphosed when rave culture made a boom in the late 1980s. While the main dance floors of most raves and clubs played acid house the ‘chill-out rooms’ of clubs gave ambient music the space to spread out its lively presence.

Super Hit records of this period included KLF’s Chill Out (1988), The Orb’s A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain that Rules From the Centre of the Ultraworld (1989) and an untitled album by Space as a collaboration between The KLF’s Jimmy Cauty and The Orb’s Alex Patterson.

Charges that certain shades of ambient music of that era had roots in the drug culture did not stick despite Orb’s tell tale cover sleeve claiming ‘ambient house for the E generation’.  In the early 1990s ambient music’s popularity even crossed the horizons of rave culture, despite core audience remaining with the fans of dance music.

The soothing sounds of The KLF (symbolized by the photograph of sheep on the cover of Chill Out) became a rage and many ambient musicians tried to record music as in Chill Out sans any beat. This led to criticism that ambient music had gone ‘new age’ and green issues are its new staple diet.

Changes happened. Some artists were daring to reject the soporific nature of early ambient music in favor of abstract electronic sounds. In the Aphex Twins’ Selected Ambient Works Volume Two (1994), they shunned the serenity of previous ambient music in favor of a minimal electronic darkness

The Future Sound of London was a case in point. While their first single ‘Papua New Guinea’ (1992) contained natural sounds combined with a house beat, their second single ‘Cascade’ (1993) was a more dreamy atmospheric sound, while their second album ISDN (1995) was altogether disturbing.

Christian Religious Music too evolved fast. As a genre in the spiritual music, the 1960s saw Christian music invoking images of church, hymnals and organs. Traditional was its ways.

Not anymore. Pipe organs have been replaced by electric guitars and drums. Hymnals have been replaced by hard hitting lyrics that speak of today and a God that is fully in control of our times. Christian music has expanded to include a vast array of styles. Rock, metal, rap, country, gospel, urban gospel, easy listening, and pop are all covered regardless of your taste in music style.

The “Jesus Movement” of the 1970’s was the catalyst in changing Christian music into an industry itself. The contributions of pioneers like Larry Norman; Marsha Stevens: Nancy Honey tree and Chuck Girard molded it further.   

The 1990’s saw the dawning of an even broader scope of Christian music. Rock, rap, metal, urban gospel, contemporary country and pop presented themselves in a big way. The industry, previously promoted by smaller, independent labels, stepped into the big time as larger, secular labels bought out many Indies.

People want to feel that God is here and now. So Christian religious music too changed its face to resemble as a new weapon in God’s arsenal that can assuage the aggrieved most effectively.

Andre Renaud is a journalist, Billboard and VH1 award winning musician, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and music teacher to thousands, through school boards and privately. Online music instrument store connects its visitors to every ambient music and unlimited music download for your Musical Needs, dream or desire!