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Brian Eno

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Brian Eno Music for Films album cover
3.36 | 111 ratings | 8 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. M386 (2:50)
2. Aragon (1:37)
3. From the Same Hill (3:00)
4. Inland Sea (1:24)
5. Two Rapid Transformations (3:23)
6. Slow Water (3:16) *
7. Sparrowfall 1) (1:10) *
8. Sparrowfall 2) (1:43) *
9. Sparrowfall 3) (1:23) *
10. Quartz (2:02)
11. Events in Dense Fog (3:43)
12. 'There Is Nobody' (1:43) *
13. A Measured Room (1:05)
14. Patrolling Wire Borders (1:42)
15. Task Force (1:22)
16. Alternative 3 (3:15)
17. Strange Light (2:09)
18. Final Sunset (4:16) *

Total Time 41:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Brian Eno / synthesizers, treatments, etc., producer

- Fred Frith / guitar (5,17)
- Robert Fripp / guitar (6)
- Paul Rudolph / guitar (1,2,14)
- Roderick Melvin / electric piano (14)
- John Cale / viola (14)
- Rhett Davies / trumpet (17)
- Percy Jones / bass (1,2), piano (13)
- Bill MacCormick / bass (5)
- Phil Collins / drums (1,2,14)
- Dave Mattacks / percussion (5)

Releases information

Compilation of fragments from Eno's recorded work between 1975 and 1978, most of it previously unreleased except tracks (*) issued earlier on the 'MUSIC FOR FILMS'(Ltd), 1976 promotional LP.

Artwork: Ritva Saarikko

LP EG ‎- EGM 1 (1976, UK) Promotional LP in Limited Edition
LP Polydor ‎- 2310 623 (1978, UK) First commercial release

CD Editions EG ‎- EEGCD5 (1987, UK) Same track list but in a slightly different running order
CD Virgin ‎- ENOCD 9 (2005, UK) Remastered by Simon Heyworth

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy BRIAN ENO Music for Films Music

BRIAN ENO Music for Films ratings distribution

(111 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BRIAN ENO Music for Films reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The original 'Music For Films' was a very limited edition 1 sided release that Eno produced to submit to TV and film producers as a demo of his soundtrack work. This was so well received that a year or so later it became a mainstream release with additional tracks. Not all of the pieces were actually used on soundtracks, which makes parts of this album a soundtrack for imaginary films.

This album is really a logical progression from Another Green World - short, atmospheric pieces with low key contributions from a range of guest musicians. Unlike Another Green World this album is completely instrumental and largely beat free, but the atmosphere is very similar. Half of the tracks are less than two minutes long, and many were recorded without any specific project in mind, so it's surprising that the album is so coherent. The only point at which the flow is disrupted is on 'Patrolling Wire Borders', which features some rather discordant viola from John Cale. Eno plays some very non-virtuoso piano and guitar in places, but it's his constantly imaginative use of synthesisers and electronics that really brings this album to life. My personal favourite is Sparrowfall parts 1 - 3, a series of perfectly executed synth and piano miniatures that owe as much to Erik Satie as they do to 70's rock.

This release sits nicely alongside later albums like The Shutov Assembly and Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks, as well as the albums he recorded with Cluster at around the same time as this. It's not ambient in the strictest definition of the term; although few of the pieces feature much in the way of melodic or harmonic development, the fact that there are so many short tracks means that the atmosphere shifts and changes in a manner unlike that of Thursday Afternoon or Discreet Music.

Music For Films one of Eno's most accessible and enjoyable instrumental releases, and works particularly well as 'morning after' music should the listener be hung over.

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This is one of Brian's early ambient albums, apparently a lot of the tunes on here were used for a demo he sent to studios while looking for soundtrack work. Ambient music at this time was still very new to rock fans, so you have to give Eno credit for having the courage to put out this album, as well as others like it.

Most of the "tunes" on here are very short and usually involve a slow repeating melody played with very interesting sound textures. Some of the cuts are actually stripped down re-mixes of more developed songs that show up on other albums. "Patrolling Wire Borders" is "Sombre Reptile" and "Task Force" is "Metal Days". I felt like I recognised a couple others too.

Some of these songs are mundane and should have been left off, yet there are many others that are brilliant in that uniquely Eno way. At his best Eno can invoke a sense of melancholy, as well as that wisdom that comes after a bad trip or similar personal catastrophe. For the most part these short songs flow together and make a nice whole, although there are a few clumsy transitions. With a little editing this could have been a much better album.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album stays inbetween Eno post-Roxy Music works and his ambient soundscapes.

This album is fully instrumental with heavy using of electronics. But it consists of many short pieces, each has own melody and structure. So, it's no ambient, for sure.

Music isn't very complex, even minimalistic, main sound texture is synth sound with just some additional accents of other instruments.

But the album has it's atmosphere, much more MUSICAL atmosphere than many of ambient works.

Weak point ot that album is that in fact it sounds as just a collection of samples. With serious producer's job it should be more attractive work.

I think, this album could be interesting to Eno collectors, and in fact is good bridge for introduction before his ambient works

Review by EatThatPhonebook
3 stars Music for Films, an album that really should have been what it was meant to be. These eighteen songs here put down by this wonderful artist (always with some external hands) are perfect for soundtracks, and take part of a collection that is truly underrated.

In this album, Eno completely abandons his old quirky sound and reaches for a more experimental, atmospheric one, already developed with his first ambient album, "Discreet Music" . Actually this album supposed to score imaginary films, so Eno wasn't trying to publicize any of his ideas for soundtracks. As usual, the artist invited different artist in all songs, even though this time each song has practically one instrument; the most acclaimed artists are Phil Collins, John Cale, and Robert Fripp (yup, the usual suspects).

Basically, Music For Films is a cluster of brief, at times eerie at times comforting tracks, or better call them pieces, fragments of melodic noises. A perfect post modern portrait of today's world, sad, bleak, but with still with sparkles of humanity and joy. In this way, I think the concept, other than bringing sounds to imaginary films, want to give a soundtrack to our lives, to our everyday duties and rumpuses.

Some songs, I must admit, can bore you a bit, but others are truly brilliant and really effective; The three parts of "Sparrowfall", despite being very similar to each other, are quite the surprise, and the very brief "A Measured Room" is a perfect example of the eerie fragment, as well as "Patrolling Wire Borders". "Alternative 3" is a very cool song that reminds a little the song "Under Stars", from Eno's album "Apollo: Atmospheres And Soundtracks". Not to forget the ethereal and dreamy "Slow Water", a truly mezmerizing song.

In general, though, all the album is excellent, maybe not one of the musician's most acclaimed and best albums, but certainly an really good addiction to any Electronic music fan.

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars Not bad! The name of this album is actually fairly deceptive; while many of this album's tracks would eventually be used in various films as part of their soundtracks, none of them were originally conceived as such. Rather, Eno created soundtracks for pieces of imaginary films (i.e. films that, at the time, existed only in his head). I suppose that, on a certain level, that's pretty much what most of Eno's ambient work is, but he hasn't really been so explicit about it to this point as he is here, so that's something new and notable, I suppose.

So anyway, this album keeps a fairly good balance of "pretty" and "weird," and while the two sides don't gel as perfectly as they did on, say, Another Green World (not to mention that there are no "normal" songs to complement these two sides), they gel well enough to make this into a moderately enjoyable listening experience. The good news about the "pretty" songs is that, while some of them do fall into the category of "tapping almost mindlessly on one keyboard note at a time, making it destined solely for background listening," a number of them derive their prettiness from something at least somewhat different from this stereotype of ambient music. "From the Same Hill," for instance, makes extensive use of single, firmly-plucked acoustic guitar notes that almost end up sounding Spanish to my ears, while the three part "Sparrowfall" relies on a minimalistic synth-piano melody so bloody gorgeous that I could die a happy man while listening to it. I'm also very fond of "Events in Dense Fog," which really matches its name for me; it actually sounds to me like there's something resembling a "real" melody in there, but it gets intermittently covered up and obscured by, well, whatever the musical equivalent of fog would be. Color me impressed.

The weird stuff, though, is where this album really earns its keep. "Alternative 3," for instance, strikes me as the sort of thing that would have been perfect to play for that part in 2001: A Space Odyssey when the team of scientists is approaching the monolith on the moon; it's just so alien, for lack of a better word, that I want to keep hearing it again and again. "There is Nobody" conveys a similar sense of alien landscape gloom as well. Switching mood gears, "Patrolling Wire Borders" has a nagging low-pitched synth-cello sound that actually does make it seem appropriate for a spying scene in a war movie, while "Task Force" would be perfectly appropriate for an elite military, well, task force moving in close to its main target.

The real highlight, though, is "M386," which I think many people will appreciate just because it's basically the only track on here to make extensive use of multiple underlying rhythms and textures, making it sort of a throwback to the days of Another Green World, except for being a lot more disturbing than anything from there. All sorts of low- pitched moans and growls jump out at me when listening to this, and in conjunction with the "main" synth melody laid on top of everything, this track seems to me just as much of a classic as any other instrumental tracks Eno had done to this point.

Alas, there are a lot of other tracks on this album, and while they're certainly acceptable background listening (meaning I don't consider them bad), it says something that, even after a good seven or eight listens to this album, I still can't figure out what the heck to say about them. The biggest drawback to this album, overall, is that while there's an interesting balance of mood due to the relatively large number of tracks, there's actually a fairly limited amount of blatant imagery due to the tracks not sticking around long enough to prompt a tangible vision to associate with them. Regardless, though, if that's not the kind of thing that you consider most important in listening to ambient-based music, you'll very likely enjoy this album, and it should definitely be picked up at some point.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This is an interesting album, with enough music from before Eno went all ambient on us.

M386 is a jam, with Eno, the incredible Percy Jones on bass, the drummer Phil Collins on drums, and Paul Rudolph on guitar. Eno then took the tape and slowed it down. But it's still quite cool. Aragon is the same group, performing a more serene piece. From The Same Hill has a sort of ambient backing with Eno (I presume) plucking guitar strings.

Inland Sea is Eno playing spacy sounds on his synthesizers. Two Rapid Formations is a serene piece with Bill MacCormick, Dave Mattacks and Fred Frith supplying a backing rhythm for Eno's synths.

The album gets very light for a while after this. Robert Fripp's talents are wasted on Slow Water, and the three Sparrowfall tracks are unmemorable, but at least they feature some mellotron.

Side two of the LP begins where the first side left off, with some very light spacy pieces. There Is Nobody picks it up a bit. But the album really gets back on track with A Measured Room, another song featuring Percy Jones. But it's too short. Patrolling Wire Borders suffers from the same problem. It fades out before it can go anywhere.

There is definitely some value to the album. Eno's synth sounds are great, and his production is excellent. But there is a lack of true substance to many of he tracks. But then again, as music meant to create moods in films, it is probably successful.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The genesis of this album has already been depicted by fellow reviewers. The result of this is that all these short tracks put together don't make any unity except that the whole sounds pretty much alike.

Too many very short tracks are also a weak point IMHHO; so, you'd better be ready to listen to a collage or mosaic of short pieces put together without too much care. My favorite is the excellent "Alternative 3". It is a truly emotional track which conveys a fantastic tranquility.

This entire album is purely spacey (or ambient) music. I quite like this generally. And "Music For Films" as such is not a bad album. It is just that I would have hoped some more development. Anyway, for those who love electronic prog, I guess that there is no harm done with this work.

It is quite pleasant all the way through even if brilliant pieces are alien (except the one I have already mentioned). It is good background music, but no more. One of the tracks which break with the overall mood is the scary and dehumanized "M386".

Three stars is my rating.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Ambient with a twist As you may expect from the title this is one of Eno's early instrumental works, made for a special purpose, in this case, films. Some track have made it into films as intended, but this have also become one of the pioneering album, in what was to become a genre "ambient m ... (read more)

Report this review (#629644) | Posted by tamijo | Friday, February 10, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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