Ambient Music Appreciation, feat. ‘Apollo’ By Machinefabriek

When I was in college it was a terribly trivial process “learning” how to mix and match treated sounds like, my dorm kettle through a flanger, into some form of pretentious aural collage that represented my hatred for global warming or something. Classifiable under the heading “electro-acoustic composition”.

Ambient music however is a friend to many. With origins lying somewhere inside Brian Eno, it is the perfect music for elevators, airports and studying. This is hardly surprising, since the linear notes to Ambient 1: Music for Airports reads:

“Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think.”

A similar effect has been noted in white noise, a form of ambient music in itself notable for its stress reducing characteristics. Conjuring adjectives like “atmospheric” and “unobtrusive”, the genre primarily focuses on the timbre of a sound, i.e the actual sound of the note, rather than the pitch or intensity. For example if I were to gently play a G# on guitar, before putting a ruler between the strings and playing the same note in the same style, only the timbral characteristic will have been altered.

It was in fact the musically affluent Erik Satie who took Dada inspired explorations to recreate a type of background music that he labelled as “furniture music”. Naturally John Cage followed with “4.33”, otherwise known as The Silent Piece. In the album sleeve to Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports, he describes that Ambient Music:

“must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.”

Krautrock also played a part, utilising rock genre instrumentation, coupled with electronic timbres, ultimately producing an ambient perception. Krautrock bands like Cluster collaborated with Brian Eno on two records, as did guitarist Robert Fripp, a romanticized concept embracing Eno’s ambient tendencies with the more avant-garde rock stance of his colleagues.

Machinefabriek – Apollo

Dutch man Rutger Zuydervelt is Machinefabriek, and he has collaborated with Peter Broderick and Aaron Martin to name but a few. Above you can listen to a fragment (albeit a 5-minute long one) of his new score for ‘In Your Star’, the latest film by Japanese experimental film maker Makino Takashi. In Zuydervelt’s own choice words, he says the soundtrack contains “field recordings, NASA flight journals and a vast array of rumbling, crackling and droning electronica” in a bid to successfully emulate the spaceship environment.

He is a big fan of the cd-r format and according to, beginning in September 2004 and continuing at least into 2008, Zuyderveldt released an 8 cm cd-r with new music each month. Productive!

‘Apollo’ is released in an edition of 100 numbered copies and comes in an oversized heavy paper sleeve. It costs 7 Euro including worldwide shipping. Mail to to order.

Here is a Spotify link to Machinefabriek – Bijeen. An excellent album from 2010.

And here is an mp3 of the most beautiful ambient piece ever made! Avrocar – Themes These Three (Tele:Funken Rmx)

-James Godwin, January 18th, 2011

Copyright © 2011. James Godwin. All rights reserved.