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Brian Eno - Neroli - Thinking Music Part IV CD (album) cover


Brian Eno

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2 stars Brian Eno produced a series of wonderful ambient records in the seventies, but this attempt from 1993 to recreate that feeling falls short in my opinion. It goes one step too far in its loss of clear melody lines and development at the attempt to create a new soundscape. Eno himself states in the sleeves notes that he wanted to make music that existed on the cusp between melody and texture, and whose musical logical was elusive enough to reward attention, but not so strict as to demand it. Better listen before buying.
Report this review (#35075)
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The most ambient of all Eno's experiments in this field, Neroli makes Discreet Music sound like Metallica jamming with Motorhead. The recording features treated piano playing simple interlocking motifs in the Phyrgian mode (it says in the sleevenotes). There's no discernible rhythmic, harmonic or melodic development - the music simply hangs in the air like the perfume it's named after. It's very nice to listen to at low volume as you drift off to sleep, but if you've already got some of Eno's ambient albums it's not really essential.
Report this review (#41412)
Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ok I'll give this one a boost up. The first time I heard Neroli I was very disappointed and thought I'd wasted my money, then sold it soon after. However, years later and on my second copy I finaly appreciate it. Neroli has a beauty that is more akin to a late Morton Feldman piece than a 'traditional' enoesque ambient piece. I say don't play it quietly in the background but turn it up loud. This has become one of my favorite Eno records.
Report this review (#127562)
Posted Thursday, July 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is not easy to review. As a matter of fact, there's a question on if 'Neroli' should actually be listened to as a record, or used as a background 'thinking music' while you read, sleep, relax, meditate etc. An hour-long piece consists of single notes being played on a synthesizer giving an eerie, cosmic feel. It's not dynamic at all, it does not change the volume or the tempo for all of its 58 minutes. So it maybe monotonous and boring to some, but it's nice listening to it after any other music - it will calm your nerves no matter if you were just listening to Frank Zappa, Slayer, The Prodigy or Deep Purple.

I don't know about you, but it's late and I'm kinda sleepy. Think I'll give 'Neroli' a spin and head for Dreamland ASAP ...

Report this review (#222552)
Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars If we define music as "sound in time" then this is music by definition. But you won't find here any cadences, any melodic argument and no harmony whatsoever. Instead this album represents an exploration in the latitude of sound, its expansion as a spatial event by means of a series of pitches taken from the phrygian mode (the phrygian mode is mentioned in the liner notes), which is very similar to a natural minor scale. The result is fascinating, a seemingly random Arabic mood which goes nowhere and everywhere, a monotonous repetition that drives the subconscious mind in unison with the also monotonous movement of the air, the dreamy nature of the universe and the relentless movement of atomic particles. The duration aspect of Neroli is also interesting in the exploration of mood: is it long? is it short? Why do I replay the cd each time? Is it too long or too short for what? You may find the 58 minutes of this fantastic exploration a complete bore, as you would find boring any attractive argument but spoken in a language that you don't understand. I believe Neroli has enough merits to be in my "must have" collection.
Report this review (#443295)
Posted Thursday, May 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
Any Colour You Like
3 stars You know what's cool in music nowadays. Irony. Everyone's trying to be so damned ironic, that they are forgetting nobody really cares about irony. Instead, they should care about things, which, rather than making them seem 'cool' and 'in the loop' (which incidentally, is one of the most infuriating and pointless phrases ever created by man) actually add something to their craft. But why am I saying this on an Brian Eno review?

Because Eno's Neroli should, by all accounts be one of those albums created by fake people attempting to be artistic and as mind-numbingly post-modern as they can. Instead, it was created by Brian Eno, who made this hour-long piece of random, exceptionally minimalist ambient music because he could. Not because it was something he thought would make people take him seriously, simply because it needed to be made. I can think of no better reason. Neroli, as ambient music isn't special. It's a random pattern of soft noises, blotted along an hour long continuum at random and indeterminate intervals. Anyone with the gear could do that. Well, not really, it takes restraint, and guts to create something as minimalist as this. It's a giant hand in the face of the establishment, without explicitly intending so. It's a step away from extraneous excesses, and pointless white noise. In short, it is something to think about, but what it makes you think about is up to you. It's a blank canvas of sorts, it neither guides or collapses the void.

Neroli adds something to art. It gives us the ability to see that sometimes, subtraction is far more interesting than addition. Once you've heard a minute of Neroli, you've basically heard the album entire. And that's fine; it's not a piece you play all the time. But in those moments when it takes your fancy, it's a worthy piece of art indeed.

Report this review (#553902)
Posted Friday, October 21, 2011 | Review Permalink

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