If you have been following the evolution of ambient music, you know it has expanded far-beyond synthesized space music to include many new sub-categories, the most important probably being acoustic-ambient.  And one of the prime innovators in this area over the past decade (and nine albums) is multi-instrumentalist Nathan Speir who primarily plays piano and acoustic-guitars supplemented by cello, harmonica, singing bowls, wood flute, percussion and only a tiny bit of synth.  His latest recording is PART OF A KINDLY PLAN.

 

The term “ambient” at first signified music without a melody or noticeable rhythm, but that being a somewhat deadend-street musically, it has grown to encompass subtleties in these areas -- slow chord changes, gently-defined rhythm patterns (sometimes in wave forms), and eclectic or avant-garde uses of melody lines (more in keeping with esoteric jazz than anything in the pop music world).  But ambient music has found a solid fan-base and corps of followers, plus a home under the new age music umbrella, and it is safe to say that ambient music is here to stay.  So for the adventurous types who enjoy straying far from the madding crowd (Speir references writer Thomas Hardy on the back cover of the CD), they should take a listen to this excellent example of modern ambient.