Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Brian Eno - Small Craft On A Milk Sea CD (album) cover


Brian Eno


Progressive Electronic

3.94 | 84 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
5 stars Small Craft on a Milk Sea is a set of electronic improvisations by Brian Eno and co. all strung together sequentially to form a concept, and it is definitely a wonderful piece of art. It's been so long since I've found an album that really touched me emotionally like this one has. The sound on this album is a bit more modern and "squeaky clean" than the previous Eno albums, but that's to be expected, and it definitely works here. Although the tracks do work together as a whole to create kind of an auditory story experience, each track is its own individual piece with a clear beginning point and a clear ending point, which at first seems odd considering that most of these tracks are rather short. Since each track is short, there isn't a lot of room for each track to progress very far within itself, which again makes this album stronger as one whole conceptual piece.

Small Craft on a Milk Sea is a great collection of tracks that fuse together both ambient tracks and dance tracks (a la Autechre, fellow Warp labelmates), but both of those styles are fronted by a strong sense of obvious improvisation; the main element that makes this album sound so convincing and "real".

I personally consider this album to be separated into 5 sets or scenes of 3 tracks each, all of which run in the same order that the album normally would:

Set 1; "Emerald and Lime", "Complex Heaven", "Small Craft on a Milk Sea" - This is the set of the first three tracks, and they're all beautiful and soft mid- to slow-paced improvisations that could soothe the mind of even the most paranoid individual. Softly played keys mingle with ambient electronic noises, and it really comes together as one of the most engaging ambient pieces I've ever heard. Each one of these tracks gets slightly darker than the last, and the title-track ends with a faint but gloomy groove that foreshadows the sound of the next set of tracks...

Set 2; "Flint March", "Horse", "2 Forms of Anger" - This set consists of the dark, dance inspired tracks that fly at the listener with surprising fury. Each of these three tracks have a very steady, cohesive beat that would be very easy to dance to, but have a very gloomy feel, almost a "running for life" kind of feel. "2 Forms of Anger" particularly sounds like an Autechre tracks - very bleak but faintly mechanical.

Set 3; "Bone Jump", "Dust Shuffle", "Paleosonic" - The third set of tracks has a very Super Mario Bros. underground-level kind of feel. Very bassy, echoed, and sort of creepy. "Dust Shuffle" is the most dance-inspired track in this set, and "Paleosonic" is very experimental sounding with frantic guitar and plenty of confusing and "new" sounds that I've not heard before from Eno, and they sound almost like garbling monsters.

Set 4; "Slow Ice, Old Moon", "Lesser Heaven", "Calcium Needles" - These tracks consist mostly of ominous ambient drones to create an atmosphere that suggest all of your horrors have taken over. Although "Lesser Heaven" is lightly uplifting, this track in the middle makes it feel like a "false happiness" - like being in a black dungeon and seeing a beam of light off in the distance, only to reach it and find that the opening is miles above and out of reach.

Set 5; "Emerald and Stone", "Written Forgotten", "Late Anthropocene" - This set starts off with the same motif that began this album, beautifully played on the keys but with a darker, distant, drowning effect. The set continues with two of the most emotional tracks on the album, both darkly ambient and depressingly beautiful. The drowning melodies just float through a sea of black tears until the album ends.

Out of all of the great work that Brian Eno has created throughout his career, Small Craft on a Milk Sea is among his best, and my personal favorite. It's highly emotional, very stark, and very convincing of matters of reality. It would be impossible for me not to call this album a masterpiece.

colorofmoney91 | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this BRIAN ENO review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives