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Brian Eno - Ambient 1 - Music for Airports CD (album) cover


Brian Eno


Progressive Electronic

3.62 | 205 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting." - Brain Eno

This album is usually accepted as the first real experiment with ambient music. It is simple, repetitive, nearly unnoticeable. At the same time it is groundbreaking, interesting, and it truly enhances whatever atmosphere (unless a turbulent one) it is introduced to. Eno took his idea for a new type of music, and revolutionised the world of atmospheric music. Eno had been building up to the idea of ambient music for a few years before creating this(starting with the Robert Fripp collaboration "No Pussy Footing"), and this is the first time it really comes out as a finished product. This is amongst the most important albums ever, as with any revolutionary piece (i.e. King Crimson's "In the Court Of The Crimson King", Miles Davis' "Bitches' Brew").

This album delivers exactly what it sets out to, perfect background music. It consists mainly of small repetitions of different piano lines or synth washes. All of which simple yet strikingly appropriate. Not much to be said about the style other than, this is the kind of music which would sound perfect in an airport to brighten moods, and calm nerves. It would make working more pleasant, and help take the edge out of stressful situations. Soothing and simple. Almost womb like.

The genius of this recording lies in its ability to be noticed without any registered effect on what you are doing. I can guarantee if you put it on while someone was doing something without letting them know they wouldn't register the music consciously at all but they would almost instantly improve their mood. Musically the album is very haunting and pretty, letting every note sit in completely and wonderfully. Although, it is not perfect.

Even though without doubt this recording was the realisation of the ambient genre, it isn't its pinnacle. For example I find Bach to be the first person to realise listenable western music, but he's certainly did not reach the complexity and power of Stravinsky or the sheer genius of Mozart. The problem with this album is that even if you want it to be it is not engaging. Even if its not the purpose the perfect ambient album would need to be able to interest you if you sit in silence and just listen to the music. An example of this would be Mike Oldfield's "Songs Of A Distant Earth", which can interest you should you just listen to it and at the same time be background music. I'm still tormented with the 4 star rating, because it did invent the genre, and its pretty darn close to being the perfect ambient album. When it comes down the wire however, it is flawed.

The best track on the album is 2/1 which has the prettiest piano composition and combines the ideas in the first two tracks. Every track however (there is only 4) is perfectly suited to the album and there isn't a single weak point.

If one were a collector of every genre of music, this album is essential based on historical significance alone. But this is a prog website, and in a lot of ways this is the polar opposite to prog. Also I think to get the coveted 5 star rating an album must be perfect, and this album just falls short of that. This really is an excellent addition to any collection, and for fans of more electronic music you should go out and buy it post haste!

Hangedman | 4/5 |


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