Greetings faithful. A little something different today. I’ll be presenting a multi-part guide to creating dark ambient music. If you don’t know what dark ambient music is, so much the better. If you do know, or perhaps even create dark ambient music already, I’ll be presenting techniques that will undoubtedly speed up your process and correct all the things you’re doing wrong.
The process – knowing how to do it correctly.
All dark ambient music, without exception, is the music of the devil, so let’s get this straight from the outset. You cannot do quality dark ambient music without being in league with the devil. Doesn’t matter which devil, mind you, just pick one. Maybe you’re tastes run to some obscure Goat God from the Ozarks, or Great Cthulhu, or Baphomet, or Mr. Pointy Toes, whatever your flavor of devil or demon, just make sure you’re a card carrying member in good standing and you’ll be halfway to your goal of creating amazing dark ambient music. If you’ve been slipping in your proselytizing, worshipping, sacrificing of small (or large) creatures, this is the time to get squared away. Not having this part in place will only hurt the process later, especially when we get to the mastering process (which is 95 percent about your godlessness quotient).
There are three basic methods for creating dark ambient music.
- Take existing sound and manipulate it according to the Rules Of Dark Ambient
- Find one of the many hidden dark ambient presets on your favorite synth
- Make field recordings of construction or industrial sites
Once your squared away with the devil of your choice, the next part of the process involves picking one of the three basic methods (mentioned above) to start creating your music. There are a handful of other methods (usually only employed by beginners who don’t know any better) but there’s really no point in wasting your time with those. In this series we’re concentrating on the real deal. It may be tempting to try and combine more than one method or even all three into a single dark ambient piece, but such an undertaking is only for the most advanced practitioners of dark ambient, let me assure you. We will explore each of the three methods a bit later in the series, but right now we need to make sure you have all the necessary dark ambient gear…..
No matter what kind of dark ambient method you decide on, you will need:
- At least one black t-shirt. Preferably vintage.
- A computer, preferably vintage, with massive amounts of lifting power (dark ambient is very heavy).
- At least 3 extremely high end microphones, preferably vintage, maybe costing as much as $50US.
- A minimum of one vintage distortion device.
- A massive analog modular synth with lots of lights. Preferably vintage.
- A few dozen softsynths to ridicule, each costing a minimum of $50US. Preferably vintage.
- At least one hardware synth with a keyboard. You guessed it, preferably vintage.
Estimate of total cost: You need to spend at least $20,000US or five times your current salary whichever is greater.
This may seem like a lot, especially for those on limited budgets, but you’ll have to find some way to secure these items to be able to achieve the results you want and to be truly dark. Don’t scrimp, get a job if you must, but make sure the gear above is in place before you begin.
Next episode, we’ll explore each of the gear requirements in more detail as well as offer explanations of the major methods that are used to create dark ambient music so you can choose the best one for your particular style.