During the last semester, I attended an ambient music event held at Le Moyne College. The event was hosted by Edward Ruchalski and Anirban Acharya who performed what was essentially an ambient jam session. Personally, I found the event to be very interesting as it’s not every day I get to see an ambient jam session, let alone an ambient performance at all. Ambient music isn’t commercial which leads to many people labeling it as obscure and not being aware of what the genre has to offer. When speaking with Ed and Anirban, we discussed a few artists in the genre such as Apex Twin, Jon Hopkins, and Max Richter.
To discuss how the jam session worked, Anirban would slow down songs using his wide variety of equipment and vinyl records. I cannot pinpoint what he was using exactly, however, the vinyl he had at the time pulled from a variety of different genres. I’ve been told he has a huge collection at his house, I believe someone at the event said he had probably over a thousand at his house. To make this understandable for those who are more familiar with commercial music, Anirban provided the beats. With this being said though, I think Ed’s contributions add an interesting touch to these songs. Using audio files he’s recorded over the course of his career, Ed used a belt on to edit the sounds in real time and use them to provide more to performance. Some of these sounds could range from birds to Ed hitting pieces if wood, edited with effects to create the sounds he wanted. I remember watching them perform a set where Anirban offered headphones to Ed so he could hear what was about to play. Ed turned them down though, performing in the moment which is incredible as many artists I’ve seen perform live usually play it safe.
This duo performed two sets that night, the first was practiced and I believe the second performance was not. The second performance was one of the best intros to the genre, ranging in from dissonant to blissful moments scattered throughout the set. The first set was quicker than the second and may possibly explain why I enjoyed the second set more. I also think that the second performance offered a bit more and could be used as an intro to the genre.
Overall I enjoyed the event quite a bit, I think that Ed and Anirban should host it again in the future to tell people what ambient music is.