Ambient Spotlight: Mark & Sarah Tillman
Ben Tatlow has a conversation with Mark Tillman (of Mark & Sarah Tillman) about their new album and what Christian ambient music means to him.

AN NRT EXCLUSIVE COLUMN, Ambient Spotlight: Mark & Sarah Tillman
Posted: March 07, 2019 | By: saltofthesound
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Last year we introduced the emerging genre of Christian Ambient music (you can read more ​here​ and ​here​), and we're now featuring some of the Christian musicians and artists who are creating this meditative, reflective music. In the previous post, 'emotive electronic' music producer Andy Hunter ​spoke to us​ about the inspiration behind his music and the Presence Project, and today we're excited to chat with Mark Tillman, one half of the husband and wife duo Mark & Sarah Tillman, who recently released a new album entitled Morning Sun, Rising Tide (Instrumental).

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?

It is a sweeping and emotional experience. From lows to highs and everything in-between. Our main objective in every lyric, melody, note and rhythm is to represent and point people to the person of Jesus. Our instrumental music is modeled after our original songs which take you on a sonic journey, from valley to mountain and again.

Tell us a bit about your new album Morning Sun, Rising Tide (Instrumental)?

This album is a direct result of our summer 2018 release Morning Sun, Rising Tide. We have always wanted to release an instrumental record and while producing and tracking for the original we quickly realized that the songs were taking on a cinematic and journey-type personality. Some were more orchestral and others more ambient but we discovered that when we muted the vocals in the studio that the experience was quite different in almost a breathtaking kind of way. There was so much space and it was so emotive. We then decided to make a cut of the album that would be instrumental. Some songs we kept the drums, some we didn't. Some songs we muted other instruments, some we just removed the vocals. Then with a slightly different mix and master we had ourselves a instrumental record.

What inspires you as a duo? And how does that link to your Christian faith?

We love doing music together as a couple. A huge inspiration is each other funny enough. We each normally always have a missing piece to the song puzzle that the other needs. We wouldn't do any of this if there wasn't a point. And by that I mean the big picture. If you are going to write songs, sing songs, etc. it better mean something to you. That's how people get impacted. For us it is and always has been about Jesus. He is the one and only that we want people to be impacted by while they listen to our songs.

How do you feel your new album fits within the Christian music scene?

To be honest, I'm not quite sure. Instrumental albums are huge outside of Christian music; soundtracks, meditation, etc. The possibilities are endless for how far they can reach. We hope that people who listen to these songs would feel the desire to pray, to receive, to read the Bible or to just go about your day.

What does Christian ambient music mean to you?

It is a soundtrack to the everyday life of a believer. It can look a million different ways. When there are no words present it is a different experience. It's something quite special.


Huge thanks to Mark for sitting down with us and sharing the inspiration and heart behind the duo's music making. Morning Sun, Rising Tide (Instrumental) is out now on all digital music download and streaming sites! And as always, feel free to explore our playlist of Christian Ambient music, which includes music from Mark & Sarah Tillman as well as other artists, some of whom we'll be discussing music and faith with over the coming months.

Wishing you peace and love wherever you are today!

Ben Tatlow is a ambient music producer and one-half of ​Salt Of The Sound​. Alongside his wife Anita, they writemusic for times of prayer and reflection: their new EP In Prayer is out now and was described byNewReleaseToday as leading the listener "into a place of meditation and rest." They also curate a weekly email-based devotional series, entitled ​Monday Morning Meditations​.

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