The Church of Ambient Music
May 16, 2018 6:04 PM   Subscribe

Ambient Church is “an NYC-based nomadic experiential event series dedicated to working with artists to bring new ecologies to architecturally unique spaces through audio visual performance.”

• “What strikes me about the audience at Ambient Church shows is the level of respect shown to quiet, delicate, or ‘ambient’ music—it’s similar to the kind of audience behavior you might encounter at a classical music performance.” [...] “That dedicated audience also allows for the musicians to go deeper into their own music, knowing they won’t have to compete with bar sales and idle chatter during performances."
• "Ambient Church, a self-described “nomadic” concert series, moves from church to church around Brooklyn, hosting captivating performances from artists working in “meditative, devotional, and minimal” styles.”
“Moore and Cecil made the church space feel otherworldly – a setting for reflection and awe…”
Where Weird Music Meets Mindfulness: At Church, Apparently
Ambient Church performances on YouTube
posted by velvet winter (11 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
This is relevant to my interests--had not heard of Ellen Arkbro before this evening. Would give a lot to see Susan Ciani and Christina Vantzou.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 6:48 PM on May 16, 2018

I've gone to one of these, and I remember thinking the entire time "gosh I wish this place had decent lighting and some comfy chairs so I could read my book while I listen." I have no idea how people manage to sit still with nothing to do except listen for entire performances.
posted by backlikeclap at 7:12 PM on May 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I find these performances mesmerizing and meditative. I’d love to see this idea catch on elsewhere. If you ask me, every city needs Ambient Church. If I were in charge, though, it would be Dark Ambient Church. If I have my wish, someday before I depart this mortal coil I will establish an acoustically enhanced kind of spiritual retreat space with room for deeply attentive listening to dark ambient music (both performances and recordings) combined with similarly immersive lighting design. A small-scale version of the Phobos Festival, but focused on sound healing through esoteric, ritual, and meditative aspects of dark ambient music. In the meantime, I live vicariously through the completely amazing Phobos performances.
posted by velvet winter at 7:15 PM on May 16, 2018 [2 favorites] is great. And YES to the endurance and patience needed for a dull night of sitting in a ~zone~. It's a particular way of listening that is not for everyone. Even me, a lot of the time. Tho the experience is still worth it.

If you go in the winter bring lots of warm clothes tho. The heat is not always on!
posted by wemayfreeze at 7:26 PM on May 16, 2018

The booking and attention to detail at these shows are really fantastic. The last show I saw in Bushwick had excellent projection mapping on the architecture as well. I've missed this season due to tiny baby having, and was especially bummed to miss Christina Vantzou et al. I feel like Ambient Church has picked up the some of the slack left by Wordless Music when their programming got sparser and way more expensive.
posted by drapatz at 9:17 PM on May 16, 2018

If I were in charge, though, it would be Dark Ambient Church.

I would join that church. I would want to perform for that church.
posted by Foosnark at 6:06 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Looks cool, I'm gonna go sometime. Just wish it wasn't way the fuck out in Bushwick.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:56 AM on May 17, 2018

Think of it as a Quaker meeting with sound.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:48 AM on May 17, 2018

I would join that church. I would want to perform for that church.

Duly noted and appreciated! I am deeply involved with the dark ambient music community - I've been a fan for 25 years - so I've got the connections to pull it off, at least in theory. The problem is that most of them live in different cities.

Nonetheless, perhaps we should talk, because this needs to happen. Someday, somewhere, somehow, I will make it happen (or die trying).
posted by velvet winter at 11:41 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

The last show I saw in Bushwick had excellent projection mapping on the architecture as well.

Was that this this CV & JAB performance, perhaps? Even on video I found the colorful visual projections for this one absolutely captivating - particularly the way they work with the architecture. I can only imagine what it must have been like in person.
posted by velvet winter at 1:51 PM on May 17, 2018

It was actually the show before that :) -- I missed both of CV's recent(ish) shows, due to a wifely birthday and a tiny baby. The visuals in that video are even nicer than the ones I saw.
posted by drapatz at 9:10 PM on May 18, 2018

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