I think general ambient is a very different style of music than dungeon synth ... I think atmosphere is the primary goal. It's something beyond a simple state of mind; it's the feeling that you're in an entirely new place, one that you could never experience within the confines of natural experience (apart from dreaming if you're lucky).This seems rather escapist. Maybe not inherently, but such a concept certainly lends itself heavily to an escapist agenda. What purpose does musical dungeon dwelling serve? That's not a rhetorical question, I'm genuinely interested.
The purpose of musical art should never be easy to state in words (otherwise it should probably just be communicated with writing), but I'll come as close as I'm able. The purpose is artistically trying to find beauty and magic in what seems otherwise to be a bleak prison in which we are infinitely powerless. It is escapism, but it is escaping from a toxic world devoid of spirit, one which we are powerless to change as individuals until it either collapses or we break through into some kind of technological singularity. So basically I think its purpose is searching for genuine beauty and magic that is lost to the modern world.
Also I fully believe that there is no escapism. The mysterious realms of dreams are real, that's how you're experiencing them. They might not exist in physical matter, but they exist, and if they give you a more profound sensation of your own life than conscious interactions with the world then that is something very noble in my mind; choosing beautiful ghosts over ugly mortals...
I think music with atmosphere as a primary goal is completely uncharted territory, and has incredible potential.I am always skeptical of claims such as this.
If you are skeptical of whether atmosphere-focused music is an actual thing with room to grow, well that's what all this is for. If my experience with dungeon synth is more than my own nostalgia and possible shreds of madness, and this truly can affect others in profound ways, then what that suggests to me is a thousand other visionary forms of music merged with spiritual-intent yet to be made that can open doors to other realms.
Now if you are skeptical of whether it has potential, I think that's an easier argument. Consider where we will be in a century if we avoid collapse and miraculously continue progressing. Consider the immense changes that have occurred in the form of cyberspace and virtual video game worlds. The future, if we don't fuck up, will be very much like the matrix, at which point experiences of profound realms of being (where atmosphere will be key) will be of immense importance. That's why any talk of "escapism" is so silly right now. All of western civilization is built on escapism, the narcotic dream of heaven after death, protecting our living minds and souls in the darkest places, or visions of a utopia in the future that seem to have infected all the active secular folks. Right now there is no strife or darkness for many of us, and likewise we live in a near utopia where we hardly have to try hard to achieve the highest standards of life necessities and comforts that mankind has ever had, and yet so many of us are miserable with this situation. It's hard to imagine utopia when currently all our needs are met, and God is long dead, so now the only place where we can flee to is within. And why not? If life is meaningless and only about finding our own purpose whether that be simple animal happiness or spiritual profundity, then what is wrong with escaping the world and seeking that within?
So I got a bit lost in my argument there, but in short the only possible future without collapse or long decay (the only one in which talk of "potential" is relevant) is one in which experiences of imaginary technologically-created worlds is highest order of business, and in such a world art, and specifically music in this case, with a focus upon aesthetic experience and atmosphere will have unimaginable potential.
I think music with atmosphere as a primary goal is completely uncharted territory, and has incredible potential.I'll paraphrase Fenriz on this one: "Black Metal bands post 1994 tended to focus entirely on creating the 'atmosphere' of earlier Black Metal while completely ignoring the aggressiveness and virility of Metal as a whole, thus creating simple (and boring) atmosphere music". I'd agree with this: I think that the "atmosphere" idea has been done repeatedly, to good or ill effect, and, as with many other styles, is still yet to be fully explored.
I agree with him somewhat when it comes to black metal, but I think that's because many of the bands confused the arbitrary addition of female vocals, synths, acoustic guitars, etc. with actual atmosphere. Atmosphere doesn't come from any of those things directly. However, not all post 1994 black metal with atmosphere as a focus failed, such as Summoning and early Limbonic Art. Still, black metal should always be about "aggressiveness and virility," after all that's what it is, and the really atmospheric records were able to add it as a secondary focus which was spellbinding. Dungeon synth makes atmosphere its primary focus, and at times it absolutely achieves its goal, whether Fenriz would agree with me or not. Although that Isengard track I put in the first post is one of the best examples (in average song length) of dungeon synth I've ever heard, and so Fenriz must've understood that pure atmosphere thing to some extent.