Before one can get into Dark Ambient music, one has to have a firm understanding of what Ambient Music is. The best definition of the Ambient Music genre was given by the music theorist, Brian Eno: â€œAmbient 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.â€ This definition infers, with defining â€˜ambientâ€™ itself, the music must be a part of the background, an element of the environment, just as much as is the furnishings, and the walls. So, having defined ambient music, you can define Dark Ambient as background music that inspires an atmosphere of isolation, gloom, depression, and morbidity. However, there is music produced within the Dark Ambient genre that does reflect on a darker level, but has more of an organic style, influenced by nature, such as OÃ¶phoi, Tau Ceti, and Klaus Wiese.
Dark Ambient is non-exclusive, and can contain influences from ethereal wave, noise, black metal, and industrial music. Itâ€™s hard to pin down ambient as aÂ style. It grew into its own as a genre, without having any set bands that were only known or presented as Dark Ambient. Brian Enoâ€™s projects from the late 1970’s, as found in a collaborative effort with Robert Fripp, known as An Index of Metals, from Evening Star were early forms of Dark Ambient. Other examples are Enoâ€™s collaborations with David Bowie, on the second half of â€˜Lowâ€™, also produced in the late 70’s, and Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics, made with John Hassel.
Industrial Ambient was Dark Ambientâ€™s predecessor, in the mid 1980’s, evolving as a subgenre of Industrial. Band examples are Coil, Lilith, Lustmord, Zoviet France, and Nocturnal Emissions. As more subgenres split off from Industrial Ambient, such as ambient industrial, ambient noise, ethereal wave, illbient, isolationism, â€“Dark Ambient began to be used as an umbrella term to include all these different styles that were similar to one another. Some of the genres that go under the Dark Ambient term are Musique Concrete, with composers such as Michel Chion, and Delia Derbyshire, and Black Ambient, which is influenced by Black Metal. Band examples are Summoning, Blut Aus Nord, Vestigial, Karna, Wongraven, Abruptum, Neptune Towers, Burzum, mÂ² and Pazuzu.