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

AMBIENT 1 - MUSIC FOR AIRPORTS

Brian Eno

Progressive Electronic


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matti_sillanm
4 stars Cool music - if you're a friend of ambient music. If you're not, this album will bore you to death. I for one am quite fond of ambient, and I think that this is one of the classic albums of ambient. Really minimalistic stuff; absolutely no rhytms or structure what-so-ever. Is this even music? You have to be in the right mood to listen to this. I think this album really lives up to it's name. The thought that rushes to my mind when listening to this is that there's a guy playing a piano in a totally empty terminal in an abandoned airport somewhere.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#35020)
Posted Thursday, May 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
nedah@email.b
4 stars This album is definitely innovative. Brian Eno masters the art of looping music and sounds here with his album and the minimalist nature of the album is very appealing. He uses for two tracks mainly synth and piano and for thw other tracks, voices and synths that sound like voices. I personally like 1/1 and 2/1 the best...even the names of the songs reflect his minmalist leanings. I have loved 'Ambient 1' for years now and it is my album of choice when I want to relax or ponder about something. Obviously, it won't have you completely lost in the music because there's not a lot of complex melodies to listen to. But it becomes a sort of soundtrack to whatever you're doing. I heard somewhere once that Eno designed this album to relax people in airports that were afraid of flying. An airport in New York actually did play this over their speakers in the background back in the seventies. If anything, this album is meaningful because Eno designed it with this purpose in mind.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#36625)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
Hangedman
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!

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Send comments to Hangedman (BETA) | Report this review (#44278)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Music for your mind !

I have listened to this album only 7 times, since the 6th time i thought about making a review , but i wanted to hear it again, now , after 7 times, i think it`s enough to make my review, because nothing has changed since the first time .

Brian Eno is an incredible man, a great musician who has created lots of great albums, some more Electronic Oriented, some Art Rock, and some Ambient music, in this case, "Music for Airports" is ambient music, 4 long songs with a piano, synths, instruments and soft voices. If you dont tolerate ambient music, maybe because its repetitive and boring , i dont know, this is not your choice ,because you wont appreciate it , but if you can give a special attention to some ambient music (i said some, because like any genre there are lots of horrible ambient albums), you must try this album, its not like the others, it has something special, something beautiful. Another very important fact , is that if you are angry, sad, i dont know, dont listen to it, its not so easy to dig, and if you dont have the perfect mood, you will not appreciate it like it deserves to be, maybe you will skip the songs because you will fin them so boring, im sure it is really boring for some people, but not for me , but why?

I decided to listen to it after seeing a concert of a band called "Bang on a Can", they performanced this album completely, and it was amazing. So, i had the will to love this album from the first time, and i really love it, every time i listen to it (with a calm and nice mood of course) i enjoy it, it mantain me paralyzed, despite it is so repetitive, it envolves me everytime, thats the beautty of this album.

The Tracks are similar, all are long songs. "1/1" is the longest, about 18 minutes, i know, it is maybe the most repetitive of them all, it starts with a perfect and beautiful synth background, while a calm and nice piano makes it apperance, in fact, all the song is in this way, the same piano notes, and the same background, but in some parts it has some little and different noises, some strange soft effects, i can listen to it with my eyes closed, and believe me, i feel like im flying or like my mind is in another dimention, i dont know, but its great.

"1/2" is maybe the twin of "2/2", both songs are quite similar, in fact, both could make one, here, the difference with the first song is that these two songs have vocals, female vocals (no singing, no lyrics), only like another instrument, as a background , these couple of songs are great too, again, i cant separate myself from this, is like a disease, if you dont heal it completely, you wont be fine, i mean, i cant stop this album, because i would not fine, i have to enjoy it completely, again, with synths and piano these songs make a great environment and ambiental music. "2/2" is the last song, a perfect end, last 10 minutes of a beautiful trip, here with a more stressed sound of effects , but in the same way, very calm, very soft, and beautiful, i cant agree more, i really enjoy this album, and im sure if you tolerate ambient music, then you will love it. Here are not weak songs, and its difficult to say if one is the best or my favorite song, i simply cannot say it, and from my point of view, this is another great point which makes this album so interesting and so good.

So, im sure this could be an excellent addition for every prog fan ( who tolerates ambient music ). Free your mind , and catch it! 4 stars!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#76871)
Posted Monday, May 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Can we really call this progressive music? It doesn't progress at all! Still, the idea of totally "ambient music" where the main, repetitive piano part is provided by the great Robert Wyatt, while Eno himself provides gentle keyboard washes in the background, must appeal to a lot of people. And that's just the first, longish track. On other tracks you will hear ethereal, synthesized voices, somewhat reminiscent of Popol Vuh.

Perfect chill-out music, refreshing, totally unsentimental.

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Send comments to fuxi (BETA) | Report this review (#125348)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars How many words a single note can say?

Eno is a strange artist... mostly a mechanic than a songwriterbut here is the force and the strenght of his music: a technician uses his tools to make something as good as he can, or talking about music Eno uses his synth and the electronic as an extension of his mind...

Listening it is a bit difficult, since the music here is made of long silence and few rapid notes, everything on the disc make the listener to feel something and I pass a lot of time listening to it to understand what every single note wanna say in the great emptyness, while every song here doesn't have a name all of them are born to be in some way a background of a film... well it's not wrong (since the ambient music is thought for this scope), but at many times (the intro in 1/2 and the central part of 1/1 especially) the tracks or better the sounds can be listened without saying that comes form a film!, even without any rythm and any word this is a good experiment and comes out like a strong disc, that give to the listener a strong feeling. 4/5 stars 0/1 bonus: since the ambience is fantastic, but no bonus since I don't have nothing to give more the music (and maybe this means that the disc is only the thing important)

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Send comments to Erik Nymas (BETA) | Report this review (#187407)
Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars "No Pussyfooting" of the album that had been announced by Brian Eno and Robert Fripp will have been a challenge to the field where one genre that had been certainly expressed with a purpose as a certain kind of experimental part was not specified. However, the album by which my title had concretely shown the method of the expression to the music as "Non-Musician" as talked by Eno was announced in 1975 would "Discreet Music" it.

An initial work by which he had been expressing his doing the activity of Solo might have been in the part where Music who established an original route where the part where a loop and various sounds of an electronic sound in addition to Pop and Rock had been often irregularly piled up had been taken had been pursued. However, it was an album of the content composed with shape that the element of those Pop and Rock is almost excluded for above-mentioned "Discreet Music". This "Discreet Music" announced from "Obscure label" that he started up would have been exactly a start of the meaning and the meaning that he advocated as "Ambient Music".

It is said that he was being hospitalized due to the accident at time when "Discreet Music" is announced. It is said that his friend passed music with the harp of the 18th century to Eno in hospital. And, Eno listened to the record after the friend had returned. However, revel of the stereo is set low and the channel is made remarks that one was broken. Eno kept listening to Music without having vigour that mended the broken machine parts. And, it is said that he discovered a new interpretation of music through the music. It is therefore because of the remark that it will obtain a new interpretation that music merges in the environment as well as the thing and the color, etc.He will pursue the music for the environment by this discovery. And, this event will inform the world of the purpose of his "Ambient Music" and the definition of the meaning etc. further.

Music that actually merges in environment. Therefore, it is musical that can be completely disregarded at the same time as being able to listen seriously. The existence of "Ambient Music" advocated by Eno will reach this album from "Discreet Music" and achieve one purpose.

The title is exactly "Ambient 1" in this album. In a word, the music that Brain Eno thinks about is advocated in this series with a complete purpose and the meaning. As for music with this purpose, the work with various purposes as a series is announced. And, it will not be an exaggeration to say that this album is the first work of a real album of the ambient music that Eno thinks about. And, the title that is called "Music for the airport" as a sub-title has adhered. The content of this album that started from the part where the music to actually purify the air of the airport is offered is produced with a complete meaning and the meaning exactly as music for the environment. And, this music was actually used in the LaGuardia airport that existed in New York in 1980.

In "1/1", the regular piano melody that Robert Wyatt plays is a subject. It is existence in one space. Or, a sense of existence of the wave that flows quietly and drifts. And, the idea of Eno that glances and is calculated perfectly in the flow in which it thinks including the element of inorganic. Eno and Wyatt had already had acquaintance at time when the album of Matching Mole was produced. And, the life of the wheelchair is done through necessity as for Wyatt due to the accident. Wyatt produced the Solo album and after 1975, had stopped the activity of music temporarily. Wyatt participates for the production of this album within that time frame. This tune might be expressed as an element that completely puts the definition of ambient music.

"2/1" is a tune composed of the chorus. It might be a tune with the impression that only the voice flies about a grand space to the length and breadth mutualfinancing association. And, taking charge of this chorus is three people (Christa Fast, Christine Gomez, and Inge Zeininger). The interval of seven is said that the part of singing silent will have been being added for five seconds. And, one sound is assumed to be length for about 20-30 seconds and the tape has been looped. The unified part regularly becomes a big wave and invites the listener to a mysterious space.

"1/2" adopts the method for the detailed resolution of a piano sound and mixing it with the chorus. The part of the loop with the tape is done along with a silent part. The technique might adopt a method near the method of unifying "1/1" and "2/1". The piano in close relation to the chorus is always kept beauty silent and twines. The essence of ambient music is included enough as for this tune.

As for "2/2", the tune is composed by the synthesizer that Eno plays. The impression of the sound in which the wind instrument and the orchestra are reminiscent might be given to the listener. The work of the tape arbitrarily done might function completely here. The music of the float in the space always merges completely in the environment.

The definition of "Ambient music" that Brian Eno advocated is known well in the world now. It is not an exaggeration to say that the music of this series might have become one culture though exactly considers from a historical viewpoint of music as music for the environment and. The zeal of Eno that recites advocacy and the meaning of ambient music in all Music's genres might be blocked in this album.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#247563)
Posted Sunday, November 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here's a question to ponder: which is more pretentious...prog rock that is so bombastic and complicated that it practically becomes a classical symphony or maybe an avant-garde jazz exercize, or prog rock that is so minimal that it has not only ceased to be "rock" but has perhaps ceased to be music at all?

This album obviously falls into the latter category. If one looks at it as a musical composition, it will likely be filed away as an overly pretentious exercise in minimalist dribble. However, if you look at it as a true experiment in sound (which it is), then you are likely to find great value in it. This is not a collection of songs to be broken down, analyzed, or sung along to...for that matter, it is not even supposed to be LISTENED TO. When Brian Eno made this 32 years ago, he was trying to create music that was merely a textural backdrop; a non-intrusive entity that would function in much the same way that lighting or paint on the wall function in a room.

In my opinion, he succeeded. This is not an album that you put on and listen to intently in a dimly lit room; this is an album that you put on in a dimly lit room and let your mind wander. Only when it is finished do you notice that it was ever there. It is, to me, a fascinating and influential work, truly progressive in nature. The music itself is hard to describe. It is simple, yet it has a certain type of complexity to it. It is ever-changing and contemplative, but the music slowly morphs into something that is remarkably close to silence. In many ways, this work is more about "color" or "light" than actual "music". Ambient 1: Music For Airports is only for the open-minded, but is an extremely interesting album to own.

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Send comments to Tarquin Underspoon (BETA) | Report this review (#284776)
Posted Thursday, June 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I think what I dislike most about this album is that it was really made to be background music. Eno in the liner notes talks about when background music was first made in the fifties by Muzak Inc. and how his goal was to make this ambient music but without in any way being compromised. Tough thing to do in my opinion, afterall who likes Muzak ? I was thankful for his thoughts in the liner notes though because it explained why I had these negative feeling towards it right from the first listen. It's not like Electronic soundscape music that I love. Heck he would even make good Electronic music for the most part on his "Apollo" album. This is a different beast entirely.

"1/1" is pretty much Robert Wyatt playing these relaxing acoustic piano melodies very slowly while we get some soft synths from Eno to help out for 16 1/2 minutes ! Yes it's somewhat pleasant but I really get impatient when listening to this. "2/1" is better with these three female vocalists offering up vocal melodies but without much variation for almost 9 minutes. "1/2" combines the sparse piano with the vocal melodies. "2/2" is the only track engineered by Conny Plank and in my opinion it's the best track by far. Spacey synths pulse and float throughout.

I just feel that this pales big time when compared to other ambient, Electronic albums I own. Considering this comes advertised as background music I guess I can't complain much. Apparently i'm just not that into background music.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#300750)
Posted Monday, September 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First ever album of Ambient music, cornerstone of all ambient genre, developed later. After some years of quite successful solo career and some strong releases, Brian Eno turned on what he will be known about for decades ahead.

Usually there exists two polar opinions on this album's music: some think it's a masterpiece, the work of genius, which changed musical world, and others think that it's just minimalistic album, first on the line of sound wallpaper and background aerial music.

I couldn't name it a real masterpiece, but in my opinion this album is real great work. Brian Eno with help of Robert Wyatt's piano and two female vocalists produced very different and very unusual music (for it's time at least). There is a big difference between compositions on this album and just background music for sure.

First of all, it's atmosphere and emotional fields. Opening track is one of the best ambient composition ever recorded. It starts from nowhere and moves to nowhere. You can't count where is the beginning and in which part of musical composition you are for every moment, it could be finished right now and it could be continued for hours. Comparing with more traditional synth/piano music, sound here is almost emotionless, but at the same time you can hear some small nuances ,so characteristic for Wyatt's solo works.

Compositions with wordless female vocals in combination with rhythm-less liquid sound and minimalistic slightly melancholic piano over it build whole world (life?) around you. All this music is much closer to minimalist composers works than to faceless plastic new age of later decade.

And one more thing - if you want to understand this music maximally, you just need to hear it played live. It happened for me just a year ago, when I listened all "Music for Airports" played in real International airport by live chamber orchestra. With myriads of travellers all around, planes noises and announced arrivals,flight delays and departures. Only by that way you can understand how great this music could be!

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#310830)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I guess that the title of this album says enough fulfilled its merit in its own right. I am quite of a critical angle about this album (I bet you) that most of the reviewers here. OK: this album is a nice journey to smokey and trippy music. But unlike the great Tangerine Dream or the huge Klaus Schulze, there are hardly great moments to succumb. This is a fine and easy electronic ensemble for sure. But can you tell me where the emotion is? There some decent portion of music probably but no more. Actually, the whole of this album sounds quite flat. I preferred by a million miles his partnership with other artists (Bowie to name one). Great albums were produced under his umbrella. But this "Airport" stuff is just what it was meant for: you are waiting for your flight in an XWZ airport; you queue at the gate, you wait for customs clearance and listen to some anonymous music. That's it! I can't really be enthusiast about such a release. I guess that it is because I have listened to quite a bunch of great ambient and electronic prog prior releases prior to this one. It is average at best, boring for most of the time and globally weak: fantastically dreadful airport music.

Two stars in my ears.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#391265)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Brian's back in science project mode, and this time he's barely making any attempts to cover this up; what else can be said in view of his giving these tracks the purely informative titles of "1/1," "2/1," "1/2" and "2/2?" This was apparently the soundtrack to a multimedia presentation that received display in, you guessed it, an airport, and while it was hugely innovative for its time, it strikes me as not having stood the test of time as well as some of Brian's other works of this nature. It's not even that it's "boring" per se; I mean, all ambient music, on an easily discernable level, is boring, and I still like some of it. Alas, though, this album isn't even that pretty, and much of it strikes me as having the same fundamental "coldness" that bugged me on Discreet Music. Yes, there's a bit more "actual" composition going on in this album (especially in the first track) than on there, but it's not by much, and the more experimental aspects are disconcerting enough to not make it work that well as background music either.

The notable exception is the opening (duh) "1/1," a collaboration with Robert Wyatt of Soft Machine and one Rhett Davies in which, for about 17 minutes, Wyatt plays a piano melody repeatedly while Eno augments the melody with his synths. Aside from the fact that the melody snippets are really quite lovely, there's an underlying rhythm (believe it or not) to the whole thing that I find very soothing and hypnotic. It's like, I dunno, listening to the tide ebb and flow on the shores of the sea; this may not be the most exciting listening prospect, but for me, this track does a terrific job both pleasing my ear and soothing my soul, and what else is ambient for if not that?

Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn't quite work on the same level for me. "2/1" features the encoded vocal harmonies of three women played in a bunch of ways over nine minutes, and for whatever reason the way they manifest themselves here doesn't move me in anywhere near the same way the melodies of "1/1" does. "1/2" brings back the piano of "1/1," but the feel is a lot more, I dunno, sporadic than on "1/1," and while I could see the voices here working in a relaxing manner in a different context, the way they come out here isn't extremely convincing. And finally, "2/2" is certainly pleasant enough, but it's not really any kind of "pretty" that I can sign off on. I don't hate it, but I could certainly be perfectly happy to never hear it again.

In the end, the album comes out to a fairly low ***. It's not offensive, and about 30% of it is totally great for what it is, but the rest of it strikes me as little more than "average" ambient music. It's important, yes (I mean, what album can you think of that could have been called Rock 1 or Pop 1?), but I probably won't break this out again for a very long time.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#408763)
Posted Saturday, February 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Brian Eno is an artist that I've never been particularly fond of. Much of his music is boring, and only worthy of background music, in my opinion. This album, Music for Airports, is the best example of Eno's famous boredom-inducing ambient music.

This album is kind of a concept, supposedly created as a soundtrack to an airport. I've never been to an airport with such an airy atmosphere. I get the impression of an abandoned airport in ancient Greece when I listen to this music, which isn't convincing, to say the least. Of course, since this is ambient music, I shouldn't have expected much in progress in the tracks. There is no progressive development, and no new elements are added to any of the tracks, which are dominated by simple notes played on an acoustic piano and electrically manipulated choir sounds. I must admit, this all is appealing for a few minutes, but gets increasingly boring as the tracks drudge slowly throughout their duration.

There isn't anything on this album that I'd call progressive, but it is apparently a classic, so there must be something about it that people enjoy. As with all music, this album is definitely worth a listen, but don't expect too much from it.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#438076)
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Ambient 1 isn't Eno's first experiment with ambient music - No Pussyfooting, Discreet Music and Music For Films preceded it - but it's nonetheless a powerful statement of intent. As mentioned in other reviews, the idea is to provide music which can be entertainingly listened to directly or which can fade into the background to creep into your consciousness on occasion. This is much like Tangerine Dream's accomplishments on Zeit; you can put the album on and it will drift in and out of your awareness like magic.

The overall mood is gentle and relaxing - the intent was to produce music which would make the process of rushing around an airport terminal less stressful - and some tracks include an incognito Robert Wyatt contributing on piano. It's not going to knock you off your feet and was never designed to, but despite that it's an important and perfectly designed cultural artifact which achieves precisely what it intended to achieve in exactly the way it intended to do so.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#561269)
Posted Wednesday, November 02, 2011 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars No progger of note is unaware of Brian Eno. Having written that, I daresay that many of those same proggers of note are naively unaware of the quality of his solo work and the far-reaching impact it has dealt in the realm. I humbly include myself in that dubious affiliation. The list of artists and bands that have benefited from his incalculable talents over the decades is lengthy and includes the likes of Roxy Music, David Bowie, Devo, Talking Heads and U2. Some in the capacity of his generous donation of his musical abilities outright, and some in the sphere of his production and/or technical assistance. In other words, his pedigree is mighty impressive and speaks for itself. However, without the aid of popular hit singles or even a smidgen of FM radio exposure his subtle yet powerful explorations into the aural art of creating ambient soundscapes escaped the notice of most of the civilized world. Like minimalist paintings, the average person doesn't have the patience or time to stop and absorb the intricacies and subconscious appeal owned and projected by his works, thereby missing the beauty they contain altogether. As stated earlier, I am as guilty of overlooking Brian Eno's contributions to progressive trends as anybody else.

The good news (for me, anyway) is that my Eno ignorance came to a halt a few weeks ago when I finally sat down and listened to "Ambient 1: Music for Airports." I had no idea what to expect. Being a lifelong fan of classical music and the calming effect symphonic compositions invariably have on my frame of mind I was hoping for something that might achieve the same tranquilization. What I found was even more soothing than I'd dare desired. I've since read that Brian intended to create sounds and instill moods that could help diffuse tensions and anxieties that seemed to multiply and thrive in environments such as busy airline terminals or train stations and he succeeded brilliantly. If his music can water down that sort of harsh, electric atmosphere of mental stress for the masses imagine what it can do for you following a hectic Monday at your job. While I know that this brand of prog isn't for everyone, I invite you to peek into this separate, frequently overlooked wing of the music building and sample some esoteric wares that will transport your jaded brain neurons to places you never thought possible while stuck in this material dimension. You might catch a glimpse of heaven.

The different pieces have no names to distinguish them, only numbers that indicate where they were to appear on the vinyl LP. "1/1," therefore, is the first cut on side one. On this number (co-written by Eno, Robert Wyatt and Rhett Davies) there is no rhythm track to tap your toes in time to, just beautiful, poignant acoustic piano and synthesizer notes intertwining like effortlessly-rising smoke rings to give one a sensation of floating among the clouds. That expression may be horribly cliché but in this case it is more than appropriate. A profound sense of peace and serenity descends upon the listener as it continues to seep into one's being. Some may get restless with the pace but this music is far from boring if one pays attention to the soft aural hues Brian and Robert apply to the piece like deft paint strokes, demonstrating dramatically that works categorized in the genre of prog don't have to be complex to enthrall. "2/1" utilizes vocals from Christa Fast, Christine Gomez and Inge Zeininger to haunt about Eno's synthesizer. The synth-generated orchestral string section is prominent, giving the notes a liquid quality as if you were swimming just below the surface of a still pond. The vocal timbres lend human warmth to the soundscape that is difficult to describe in words but they add a cathedral texture, a meditative aspect if you will, to the track that is sublime.

"1/2" marks the return of the acoustic piano to the album but this time with more of an orchestral overlay. I especially love how Brian leaves open spaces in his melodic phrases, allowing the piano's ethereal sustain to decay naturally. The female voices are mesmerizing. There is a light mist of pathos enveloping this composition and its tender performance that conveys a deeply-imbedded loneliness as well as any my ears have ever witnessed. Ironically, it is luxurious to bathe your soul in at the same time. "2/2" features a muted horn simulation that grants this piece a glow of royalty and elegance rarely encountered. It reminds me of how maestro Aaron Copland could delicately layer notes upon each other to create delicious chords made up of different instrumentation. There's an other-worldly skill involved in erecting this kind of bottomless yet compassionate music and Eno is obviously one of those geniuses that has the tenacity and forbearance to bring it into being with grace and class. This is a gorgeous album possessing an angelic personality.

Released in 1978, "Ambient 1: Music for Airports" was the first of four in his "ambient" series and I hope to collect more of that quartet of albums in the future. Not everybody will cotton to Brian's minimalist approach to writing and more than a few will find it all a bit tedious after only a few moments but if you'll invest about 40 minutes of your time to inhale all of the incredibly pure, crystal clear oxygen that is contained on this disc I feel certain that you will emerge in a better, more contemplative mindset. You won't regret it. 4.6 stars.

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Posted Thursday, September 06, 2012 | Review Permalink

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