Press:Bloomsbury USA Bloomsbury USA (January 24, 2001)
Author Name:Mark Prendergast
A comprehensive and absorbing look at the music of the twentieth century, with an introduction by Brian Eno.
The 20th Century saw two revolutionary changes in music.
First music was deconstructed from its previously strict form, moving from formal constraints to more accessible melodies.
Second, the way in which music was generated radically changed as new electronic equipment inspired experiments with sound divorced from traditional acoustic instruments.
More and more, innovative musical ideas became intertwined with technological change.
Multi-track recording, editing, and improved microphones allowed for quieter, experimental elements to gain prominence.
And with the advent of digital synthesizers, new music could be made by anyone and sound like almost anything.The Ambient Century is the definitive chronicle of a century of musical change.
It reveals the drift from composers to non-musicians, from the single note to the sample.
Encyclopedic, yet with a strong narrative, The Ambient Century covers hundreds of artists, including such diverse artists as Gustav Mahler (the pioneer of modern music), Phillip Glass, New Order, and Moby.
Lively, compelling, and authoritative-and boasting an unmatched discography.
The Ambient Century is a treat for music lovers of all kinds.
From Library Journal
Here, Irish music critic Prendergast makes an admirable and largely successful attempt to build bridges between the worlds of contemporary classical and rock music.
But as the author never clearly defines or describes the term ambient, the reader is left to infer the connections among composers and genres.
Prendergast divides his subject into four large sections: "The Electronic Landscape," "Minimalism, Brian Eno, and the New Simplicity," "Ambience in the Rock Era," and "House, Techno, and Twenty-First Century Ambience." The first is the most problematic section, as many of the observations here are simplistic and the listening lists too quirky and subjective to be useful.
Prendergast is on much surer footing in the three subsequent sections, however.
The text is packed with a wealth of detailed information and cogent observations on minimalist composers, rock personalities, technological innovations, and movers and shakers in the various worlds of contemporary music.
Prendergast has an astonishing grasp of the global scene in popular music and writes with authority and conviction.
Despite its flaws, this is an important addition to libraries with holdings in cultural and popular studies.DLarry Lipkis, Moravian Coll.
Bethlehem, PA Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Mark Prendergast, born in Dublin, has written about classical music and rock for newspapers, journals, and magazines worldwide.
Now resident in London, his Ambient Century is the culmination of two decades listening with 'all gates open'.Brian Eno is a celebrated and innovative musician, producer, composer, and visual artist.
He has produced albums for such legendary musical artists as U2, Talking Heads, and David Bowie, as well as recorded and played along with the Velvet Underground, John Cale, and Television.
His solo experiments in the albums Music For Films and Music for Airports, among others, have established him as a pioneer of ambient music.
Brian Eno remains true to his passion for ever-shifting musical styles and experimentation.
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