Believe it or not, the combination of ambient nature sounds and electronic music was actually an innovation in the 1970s. And you may be surprised that the idea had a history in European classical music, especially in England and France.
In England, it was the so-called "pastoral" composers like ARNOLD BAX and RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, who created orchestral images of nature. In France, it was the Impressionists, from CLAUDE DEBUSSY to OLIVIER MESSIAEN. They didn't have recordings, so they created new instruments and playing techniques to imitate natural sounds like wind and birdsongs.
By the mid-20th century, we could record the sounds of nature, edit them and play them back at will. In the 1950s, avant-garde composers like JOHN CAGE were promoting an awareness of ambient sound as equal to music. Music...was how you listened. Incorporating nature sounds into music was the next step; beside, film soundtracks had been doing it for years.
The psychology is foundational: humans evolved listening to natural sounds, and they send a message we respond to instinctively. For example, birdsong on a gentle summer morning is delightful and calming. Blend in some subtle synthesizers, season with gourmet reverberation and you have what two young Canadians named MYCHAEL DANNA and TIM CLÉMENT called "environmental electronic music."
It's an idea that was embraced by New Age musicians and in time became a bit of a cliché. But it led to an electronic genre of extended tone-color journeys in virtual space, which is still alive and well. On this transmission of Hearts of Space...the fluid, airy sound of summer spacemusic, on a program called SUMMERTONES 3.
Music is by MEG BOWLES, DANNA & CLÉMENT, CHRONOTOPE PROJECT, ALTUS, and STELLIA.