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Has the genre been getting worse or better over time?


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Poll: Has the genre been getting worse or better over time? (9 member(s) have cast votes)

Is Psybient music getting better or worse over time?

  1. Better! (5 votes [55.56%])

    Percentage of vote: 55.56%

  2. Worse! (3 votes [33.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 33.33%

  3. Stayed the same (1 votes [11.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.11%

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#1
Xpander

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Psybient in all its forms seems to be roughly about 20 years old. Since initial downtempo/midtempo-goa tracks there has been countless micro genres splintering off and becoming what we know as psybient today. But is it still growing and getting better, or have the glory days past?

 

Were there ever 'golden years'? How about 'golden' albums - a period which contained the most innovation, substance and bounty? Most genres I observe have a noticeable peak and trough; key points in its lifespan that are recognised as the prime time. It seems less obvious to me for Psybient, but I would not say I know too much about it pre 2006. 

Maybe it has been getting better and better overall?? Or perhaps a sub-genre like Psy-Dub is seeing great times, whilst another more ambient driven style is lacking from what it had in former years? I know that glitch orientated styles have exploded in a matter of years and has a very healthy and proactive scene (thanks to the Americans), so you could argue that we are seeing a golden time here. Hard to say without the hindsight of time.

 

Whats your opinion of Psybient - are we seeing a decline or upwards movement of the quality in it's music?
 



#2
timeisart

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I'd say it's getting better, or at least the expectations of quality have gone up as technology gets better and production techniques improve.

The actual quality/enjoyment of any release is subjective but most psybient from the late 90's/ early 2000's will likely sound dated compared to the polished releases of today, with some rare exceptions like "Are You Shpongled?" from 1998 which somehow still sounds fresh today.

That being said, there was probably more innovation and new ideas coming out of psybient in the early to mid 2000's but maybe that's due to the emergent nature of the genre at the time. With any genre, it's difficult to come up with completely new ideas as time goes on but you are able to stand on the shoulders of giants and build upon their ideas to create something new.
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#3
yiannis

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I tend to think that there's been constant evolution. I can enjoy both old and new albums. I don't usually have a problem with 90s production, I think the mood is conveyed successfully. And there are great, if not highly original, albums coming out today. There's so much variation within the genre that you're bound to find something to tickle your fancy very often I'd say. timeisart's last paragraph is an apt summary.

 

I was wondering about something similar the other day. Most genres that last this long tend to have a division of old and new school. Can anyone roughly tell when we move from old to new school in psybient? It goes back to what I said at the beginning: the genre has been evolving in so many different directions it's hard to tell. Maybe it's not even applicable at all?



#4
Xpander

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I also have no problem with the 90s or early 00's sounds - if anything I prefer them. Technology has allowed us to do more, but I would argue it sucked a lot of the soul from music across all genres, giving us less human/organic characteristics for example. Ever thing became homogenised. Brian Eno talks briefly about this and has it spot on. So much over compression, over saturation and multi-multi layering in todays electronic genres (rock too actually) and although Psybient still has lots of its integrity, I still think today it suffered the same as the rest and lost a bit of its magic. It wasn't all because of technology, but it certainly played a part in my opinion.



Interesting thing I would say is the removal of hardware and adoption of computer precision capabilities, lead to the rise in the technically crisp and hyper polished productions we have being seeing so much of in the last 5+ years, such as the aforementioned Glitch sub-genre. When embraced it can be very satisfying and I do enjoy it, but prefer the spacious, breathable and human flavours the 90's are better and longer-lasting in my opinion.



#5
Gagarin

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i think - it's developping and getting better :) 

more artist => more choice => more good releases and more bad releases. that's inevitable.

before we had few good albums per year, now we have few good per month.

 

i think we are just getting too demanding , which is not bad :)


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#6
arakoon

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I think that the Golden age was in period from 2005 to 2009. There are 2-3-4 really great albums released per every year, not more in my opinion. And 2011-2015 are the same, there were some awesome releases. But nowadays artists release too much psybass, I even can't call this style psy, only bass, downtempo-bass. If from 1994 to 2010 artists made a lot of good downtempo  with a little bit of psy (not great but really good), then now bass is everywhere.



#7
yiannis

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^ ^

I'm not sure there are more bass music releases than other subgenres, but it's definitely one of, if not the, most popular. Especially if you include psydub. I get the feeling that in order to fully appreciate psybass you need very good speakers and very high volume. That's when the lower frequencies resonate with the body - it's more of a physical rather than a mental effect. BTW, my speakers are average and I prefer my psy music to be directed at the mind or psyche, rather than the body.



#8
arakoon

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maybe maybe)

by the way, I was talking to Alexei Transdriver at russian forum some years ago, he sayed that all people have their own body vibrations and really loud low frequencies (or infra-bass) could even kill a man, if frequency of man (of his heart) and from subwoofer are the same. And he was in search (for years) of ideal frequencies of bass-kick, that will be heard good alike at monitors, at car-audio and even at little boombox. But I don't think that bass with 400 (+ -) Hz is sacred, bass is bass))

I like this track of Alexei --- 

click here to see it on soundcloud

 

sorry for offtop)



#9
Xpander

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more artist => more choice => more good releases and more bad releases. that's inevitable.

before we had few good albums per year, now we have few good per month.

 

I used to feel the same way, but i'm not so sure anymore. Technology gave us more producers, but quality control went down. So many releases, so many labels and not enough quality control. Anyone could become a producer, but all the musical theory and craft with instruments (hardware) became less and less. Gonna refer to other genres again, but Trance without a doubt saw a decline in quality yet the number of releases/artists increased 10 fold. Techno kind of has a similar story. Drum & Bass, Trip-Hop, Breakbeat as well, come to think of it. 
 

We do have many good releases in the year I agree, but I feel like there is less phenomenal 'hall of fame' albums that will be remembered for decades (I don't follow scene religiously anymore so open to suggestions, please share if you think some are worthy). I just think back to the really special Shpongle albums and they are so different and bolder than anything we see today. In fact only the old guys are still giving it a worthy shot in my opinion.
 


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#10
Gagarin

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I don't follow scene religiously anymore so open to suggestions, please share if you think some are worthy

 

 

 

try to check through best of 2014 and best of 2015 poll results at psybient.org as well we select best of the week in forum here, and you can see results inside the posts.

http://forum.psybien...the-week-polls/

http://www.psybient....r-2014-results/


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#11
Shpongle

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I don't know if it's getting worse, but i see my self listening to older releases rather than new...alot of it sounds familiar to me, i'm listening and it's like i heard this before, there's hardly any new releases out there with that "wow" factor...was listening to the Shpongles first album yesterday(which to me is the best psybient album ever made) and is stills sounds fresh to me, better than 99% of whats out there nowadays...maybe i'm just getting old lol


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#12
Gagarin

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two more thoughts why older releases were good

1) i also noticed that "old" artists used more analog gear, expensive to buy and harder to use if you compare to VSTs and samples.

2) older releases were on CDs so there were more quality control from labels.

 

however some new releases have really high quality of production and new sounds are very interesting (for example latest Seamoon and Desert Dwellers)


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#13
schofield

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I don't know if it's getting worse, but i see my self listening to older releases rather than new...alot of it sounds familiar to me, i'm listening and it's like i heard this before, there's hardly any new releases out there with that "wow" factor...was listening to the Shpongles first album yesterday(which to me is the best psybient album ever made) and is stills sounds fresh to me, better than 99% of whats out there nowadays...maybe i'm just getting old lol

 

Well, Shpongle would say that Shongle's album is the best psybient album ever made.   ;)

 

Don't the oldies always say the old music was better?  Maybe it is just perspective, and the ties that bond us to music in our past are stronger than what we feel for the newer music.  When we were younger (I'm nearly 42) we were impressionable and going through big changes finding our places in the world.  The music I listened to 15 or so years ago definitely made its mark on me and brings up feelings when I hear it today.

 

So the genre is probably still fresh for new, younger ears.

 

Anyway, I listen to less 'psybient' these days than I used to.  I suppose my tastes have broadened as well over the years.  I it's all swings and roundabouts - falling in and out of love with different genres at different times, going and coming again.  That's why I rarely sell my old CDs, because sometimes I go back to the old ones and have a listen and enjoy them, and reminisce.   :)


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#14
Shpongle

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Well, Shpongle would say that Shongle's album is the best psybient album ever made.   ;)

 

Don't the oldies always say the old music was better?  Maybe it is just perspective, and the ties that bond us to music in our past are stronger than what we feel for the newer music.  When we were younger (I'm nearly 42) we were impressionable and going through big changes finding our places in the world.  The music I listened to 15 or so years ago definitely made its mark on me and brings up feelings when I hear it today.

 

So the genre is probably still fresh for new, younger ears.

 

Anyway, I listen to less 'psybient' these days than I used to.  I suppose my tastes have broadened as well over the years.  I it's all swings and roundabouts - falling in and out of love with different genres at different times, going and coming again.  That's why I rarely sell my old CDs, because sometimes I go back to the old ones and have a listen and enjoy them, and reminisce.   :)

Who would've thought i would say that about Shpongle :D

 

I agree, older people always claim that "back in the day" music was better, i guess every generation says that...and yes i bet 99% of the younger generation will say the genre has been getting better while the older generarton will say the opposite, but like you said it's probably all about perspective...to each their own ;)


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#15
Xpander

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Recently I have been spending a lot of time exploring and expanding my Psybient collection - Still I find that looking backwards in to the past is where I will find constantly find wonderful sounds, artists and albums and far less being released from 2010 onwards.

 

One observation I have is that the music is much simpler and more hypnotic the further you go back; thinking of those early goa-ambient blends.



#16
Tanya

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I would agree with Xpander. 

In some ways Ableton and other stuff is more affordable and available now for people, hence so many people kinda 'write' music now - more releases etc.

But 85% of material is so simple and musically primitive.. 

I don't deny I became more picky now. and the stuff that makes me boring now, could sound WOW 2 years ago.



#17
neil (spatialize)

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I think with the older producers (and I include myself in this) music was a little harder won with more basic technology. You had to construct a track from core elements.

 

Just managing a studio (what with atari, samplers with floppy disks and a room full of synths) and getting it all to work together was quite a feat and would only be done by people who really had a massive interest in producing music.  It was hard to be a dabbler in those days and even harder to release music.  Samples weren;t that amazing and were in a low bit rate so you had to be able to construct your own stuff, or be adventurous in sample searching.

 

Now you can literally drag and drop and few samples and have the bare bones of a track and the means of releasing is easy.  Plus there are millions of amazing synths sounds on tap too.  So some of the basic elements required in track building get skipped.

 

I think a lot of the difference lies int he lost art of sampling.  When you sample something - even a synth pad - and play it back at different scales on a keyboard, you get really unusual and unique things happening.  Samplers aren;t used so much now what with the flexible audio side of a DAW.  The sampler was once the heart of the system, functioning like a hard disk recorder really, and tracks would be made up of a slew of interesting, unique and self made sounds.  I think that's the key difference.

 

With th above poster mentioning about more simple music - well once you had managed to get a well cool groove going with your army of synths and samplers then you wanted to milk it.  All the glitch effects which completely drown out most people's productions at the moment would have taken weeks to achieve on a sampler! 


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#18
arakoon

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are you talking about BBC and National Geographic vinyls and DATs with sounds of nature, airplanes, machines etc?






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