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Ambient music, unlike other forms of "background music", is intended to enhance acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncracies in the sound environment. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty from the music, ambient music retains these qualities. And whereas their intention is to "brighten" the environment by adding stimulus to it (thus supposedly alleviating the tedium of routine tasks and leveling out the natural ups and downs of the body rhythms), ambient music is intended to induce calm and a space to think.
Ambient 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. As a genre, it originated in the United Kingdom at a time when new sound-making devices such as the synthesizer, were being introduced to a wider market. Robert Fripp and Brian Eno popularized ambient music in 1972 while experimenting with tape loop techniques. The Orb and Aphex Twin gained commercial success with ambient tracks. Ambient compositions are often quite lengthy, much longer than more popular, commercial forms of music. Some pieces can reach a half an hour or more in length.
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