Background Noise: Ambience

After Robert’s kick-off to the Backgound Noise series, it got me thinking about what I default to when I pursue this grand hobby of ours.  Sure it’s some kind of audio, but more likely than not it’s the soothing sounds of ambience.  Let me tell you what sounds are coming out of my speakers…


Whatever it is I’m doing, I typically have music or a podcast on.  It could be wiring lights in my basement, cleaning one of the bathrooms in the house, or just emptying the dishwasher.  There’s always the sound of music going on in our home.  Growing up it was having the TV on 24/7.  As an adult it’s almost purely audio.  That goes especially for hobby.  Doesn’t matter if it’s building, painting, or, in those incredibly rare instances for me, gaming, I need that background noise.  I’ll go so far as to say that things start feeling off when there’s nothing on.  My only requisite is that it’s not Country music, or as I call it, Farm Emo.  I can’t stand it.  I refuse to listen to it.  I could go on longer, but this article isn’t about dogging on Country music.  It’s about what most commonly emanates from my speakers: ambience.

I’ll agree with Mugatu on this one.

I enjoy posting up in public places and letting the sounds of activity wash over me.  Ambience puts me into a calming headspace, where I feel the most immersed in what I’m doing.  It allows me to turn off the outside world and be there, wherever there may be.  If you’ve ever been in that zone, where everything you’re doing is firing on all cylinders, that’s what I’m talking about.  It almost becomes meditative; helping to remove stress in a way that listening to anything else can’t do.  A lot of times I can picture myself there.  When that happens I hit my zen point and my hobby muse takes full control.  It doesn’t always happen but it’s amazing when it does.

So What Ambience Is Coming Out of Those Speakers?

This ultimately is the crux of the article: what kind of ambience is coming out of those speakers.  To answer that is pretty simple, with one answer probably being a little stranger than the other.  The first is Starport Ambience.  Starport ambience intersects two major roads in my life: science fiction and logistics.  I think the science fiction piece goes without saying.  Starships, space travel, seeing distant galaxies, interacting with alien species; science fiction allows for infinite possibilities where a person is only limited by their own imagination.  Throw on top of that a career and love of anything logistics related, and I’m there.  To be able to see a well-run docking bay where supplies are loaded, ships coming in and out of docking sequences, legitimate trade conducted, and some potentially shady business dealings happening, would be amazing.  While I’ll never see that in my lifetime I’ll absolutely take the next best thing.  Below are a few of my favorite links for Starport Ambience:

General Search for Starship Hanger Ambient Sounds

Space Hanger/Port Ambience

Docked in Space Station in Elite Dangerous (Personal Favorite)

The other ambience I listen to regularly is distant combat.  The combination of sporadic small arms fire or a firefight happening, an artillery or mortar strike in the middle distance, the tell-tale reverberation of a well placed ground sortie, all encompassed by the soft sounds of rain, puts me in my happy place.  Listening to this brings me back to my time downrange.  You eventually get used to small arms fire in the distance, and when it’s not happening it feels kind of eerie.  I liken it to walking through a forest and hearing the birds stop chirping or animals no longer rustling in the undergrowth.  You know and feel something has gone pear-shaped.  I’ve also used it to sleep during restless nights.  The chatter of automatic weapons or staccato of machinegun fire is oddly soothing.  I guess I’m wired a little differently.  Below are some of my favorite links for Combat Ambience:

General Search for Distant Combat Ambient Sounds

WW2 Distant Battle Ambience

Distant Artillery Explosions (Personal Favorite)

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]

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A New England transplant that originated from parts westward, Ryan is a bit of a nerd that knows a little bit about a lot of things, all while claiming to know nothing about anything.  Seemingly part Khajit a logistician by trade, he’s the kind of guy that can get you virtually anything if there’s coin to be had a problem to solve.  Ryan began to learn the scrounging arts while serving time in parts east as a Loggie and has been perfecting them steadily over several decades.  He has a problem with continually purchasing models, paints, and terrain that he doesn’t really need but his wife doesn’t seem to mind.

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