There is something about ambient music that makes your stressful drive to work in the never-ending peak hour traffic all the more relaxing. Melbourne label Sanpo Disco’s compilation Midday Moon features local ambient and experimental works from Australia and New Zealand from 1980 to 1995. Ambient music started to gain in popularity around the world around this period of time. Whilst synthesisers became readily available in the market, more experimental works were created by local artists. The combined takes of ambient music locally resulted in this stunning album.
Much like the album name implies, listening to this album invokes that calm feeling you get when you finish the day with a warm green tea, watching the night sky. It’s almost perfectly fitting to listen to this while on a nature hike. The ambient sounds would blend in seamlessly with the sounds of nature. Ambient music isn’t something to focus on. Instead, think of it as music that takes you somewhere else.
It is empowering to see these 19 examples of local experimental music in one place, all offering a different taste of each artist. It was astonishing to find out the varying lengths of music in this album, since it just felt like one constant string of ambience. One example in particular, Temple, brings you to a serene zen pond-like environment, a big contrast to Stream Daimons’ Speak, which is more mysterious and ornamental.
Most of us are used to music with something to latch on to, like a rhythm, lyric, or a catchy melody. Ambient music was made to be ‘ignored’. While it is understandable that the artists of the time were still experimenting with this music, most of the tracks on the album managed to provide a slippery wall creating a mood instead of a groovy fix.
Synthesisers and sustained tones are often used in this music. However, a track in this album, White, made use of nothing but voice. An interesting take on ambient music, yet it still instills a calming mood on the mind.
Each track, with its own unique flavour, is like an ingredient to a massive mixed pot of trees, birds, water, and all things that feel and sound nice. It is perfect to ignore, and for meditation. The compilation of Australian and New Zealand works brings out the influence of our multi-cultural countries with works like Sawan and Temple, using sounds from a non-western world. That is what makes it so interesting – its diversity.