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AMBIENT 4 : ON LAND

Brian Eno

Progressive Electronic


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Brian Eno Ambient 4 : On Land album cover
4.04 | 120 ratings | 10 reviews | 36% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lizard Point (4:34)
2. The Lost Day (9:12)
3. Tal Coat (5:27)
4. Shadow (3:00)
5. Lantern Marsh (5:31)
6. Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hills) (5:26)
7. A Clearing (4:07)
8. Dunwich Beach, Autumn, 1960 (7:10)

Total Time: 44:27

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Brian Eno / synthesizer, bass, keyboards, vocals, electronics
- Michael Beinhorn / synthesizer
- Michael Brook / guitar
- Axel Gros / guitar
- Jon Hassell / trumpet
- Bill Laswell / bass

Releases information

CD EG EEGCD-20 / EG 1517 (1982) / LP EG 20 (1982) / CD Virgin Music 66499 (2004)

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BRIAN ENO Ambient 4 : On Land ratings distribution


4.04
(120 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
36%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
30%
Good, but non-essential (20%)
20%
Collectors/fans only (11%)
11%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

BRIAN ENO Ambient 4 : On Land reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Content Development & Krautrock Team
5 stars This music is touched by the grace! Eno goes further on the territories of ambient music. Surely one of his most achieved album. It takes back the ideas ever developed in his previous cerebral / electronic music but the stress is put on deeply introspect, supernatural atmospheric sounds. Very organic and emotional. Each song has its own feeling, oscillating between intimate, pure delicate moments (as if you are living in a static time) and oppressive, rather dark, creepy or depressed atmospheres. Some of the musical landscapes can be found orgasmic, suggesting an ascension to heaven. I particularly like the density, powerful vibrations provided by the doom bass lines. This album is a real pleasure and an excellent "companion" for dreaming. Highly recommended for meditation or for stimulating the cerebral activities. A landmark of visceral Ambient / electronic music.

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#38933) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, July 09, 2005

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars I wasn't really sure if I would actually write this review or not seeing that it's one of Brian Eno's ambient music projects. But after reading the somewhat biased reviews posted here on the site I decided that it was my mission to share with you the opinion of someone who generally finds it difficult listening to ambient music.

Although Ambient 4 : On Land may not be the first (No Pussyfooting or Discreet Music) nor the most famous ambient album in Brian Eno's catalog (Ambient 1: Music For Airports), still this recording has a definite historic value which in some cases might even make it just as significant as Eno's '70s output!

My first encounter with the genre was when I purchased the 1995 live album by Robert Fripp titled A Blessing Of Tears: 1995 Soundscapes, Vol. 2. This release also marked my first Robert Fripp solo album experience so naturally I had certain expectations regarding to the nature of the music I was about to hear. It can be said with all certainty that I was completely shocked by the first experience because I honestly didn't know what to make of this whole experience. Since then I've been very careful regarding my ambiance music purchases.

Returning after the successful and highly influential collaboration albums with David Byrne and Talking Heads, Brian Eno didn't waste much time and went back to his explorations of sound and loops which he labeled as ambient music. The album marked the final part in Eno's ambient series which began in 1978 with Music For Airports. Due to the ambient nature of this recording the music will sound different to everyone who experiences it but there are definitely a few general points that are still worth mentioning. The atmosphere here is unusually dark for an Eno ambient recording and it might even be considered the first major step into the dark ambient territory which began to emerged in the late '80s and early '90s music scene. Therefore On Land might actually be considered just as much of a landmark album as some of the praised Brian Eno releases of the '70s.

The most surprising discovery that Eno encountered during the work with this particular release was that he realized the limitations of the synthesizer sound which made him shift his instrumentation approach to electromechanical and acoustic instruments. Eventually he went even further with technique by incorporating non-instruments like pieces of chains, stick and even stones! This whole project became so ambitious that Brian Eno even decided to give the listener suggestions as to how one should experience this music. The liner notes of the album feature a diagram of a three-way speaker system installation showing even the exact location where the listener must be seated in order to properly experience the music!

On Land is an album that required some time to get into and I definitely recommend reading up on the recording sessions in between the listening to the album since it aided my experience tremendously. Although I'm still very much on the fence when it comes to ambient music this is probably the closest that I've come to actually appreciating it for what it is and in exchange expanding my musical horizons even further.

I can't recommend On Land as an introduction to ambient music and if you are interested in that then I suggest some of the more melodic transitional ambiance pieces on Another Green World. This is a tough ambient experience but none the less an excellent such and I highly recommend it to everyone who is already familiar with the genre.

***** star songs: The Lost Day (9:12) A Clearing (4:07)

**** star songs: Lizard Point (4:34) Tal Coat (5:27) Shadow (3:00) Lantern Marsh (5:31) Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hills) (5:26) Dunwich Beach, Autumn, 1960 (7:10)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#275682) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Brian Eno's fourth chapter of the Ambient series, the album where he get's rid of everybody that previously surrounded him and does the album all by himself. So we get a near perfect album, almost as good as the first Ambient "Music For Airports".

"Ambient 4: On Land" is most definitely Eno's darkest album, or at least of the Ambient series. In fact, with this album we already start talking about "Dark Ambient", a genre that will interest especially a few composers of film scores. Other than synthetisers, we can also find field and nature recordings, especially nocturnal sounds that accompany the other instruments, creating in this way, like in the wonderfully creepy "The Lost day", a dark, mysterious and tense atmosphere that Eno was never able to reproduce this effectively. The title of the songs here are mostly places that Eno himself keeps in his heart, places where he used to go in his childhood and early manhood, so the artist gave a bit more of himself in this album, making it one of his most personal efforts. The music also wanted to evoke paintings (Eno was thinking particularly about French abstract expressionism).

I like to think of "On Land" as a dark, mysterious, creepy, at times melancholic and sad, journey through a dark clouded covered rural landscape, like the cover implies. Unfortunately, like I said earlier, the songs, even though they do want to represent places, they represent very precise places, so almost all the listeners of the album have to imagine a landscape that could apply with the music.

Almost all the songs are genius, great pieces of art, from the famous "Lizard Point", very minimalistic, to the masterful "The Lost Day", as well as the creepy vocals of "Shadow", eerie atmospheres in "Lantern Marsh", or the miraculously peaceful "a Clearing". All of these songs, and others, made an excellent album, a near perfect effort that is essential to whoever loves music. 4.5 stars.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#355823) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 17, 2010

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Ambient 4: On Land is far, far better than the material found on Music for Airports. The tracks here are not boring at all, and have a much fuller sonic landscape quality. This album is ambient of the electronic droning and buzzing variety that really sets the stage for great atmospheric enjoyment. I have absolutely no problem getting into this album; as soon as it starts, the light buzzing sets off and creates a convincing imagery of the song-title's demand, whatever it may be.

Though I'm not really a fan of the majority of the work that Brian Eno creates, I have to say that this is most likely his best album. It's definitely the best I've heard so far. Anyone interesting in buzzing and droning landscapes of the highest and most original quality should look no further than Ambient 4.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#438077) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is the last 'Ambient' album from Brian Eno out of a series of four (so far).

Most of the reviews are rather laudatory and I have to confess that this work is probably the best of what Eno has released by the time. At least if you would be reasoning in terms of prog. But this was not a difficult task since few of his previous works could bear the label. At least, this is how I feel.

The music that is represented in this album is totally spacey but honestly, to reach the heights of some great German counterparts, it should have held more passion, more beauty, more excellence and more melody than the songs presented in this 'Ambient Four'.

It is far much better than the first attempt, but I can't frankly talk (or write) about a masterpiece here. The whole of this album is of good level but seven out of ten is the maximum rating I can think of.

Three stars: a good album it is. But no more according to my standards.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#457477) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 05, 2011

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Back to solo; back to suck? Well, not really (and actually, Music For Airports wasn't exactly suck per se), but it's not as striking as either of the two collaborations that immediately proceed this. The liner notes feature Eno going on about various philosophies related to music that evokes "a sense of place," as well as the various aspects that go with these memories, but for all of his various pontificating, I kinda end up wishing that all this thought and production effort went into some more interesting music. I mean, I do like the album for the most part, and it works decently as background music, but it's a smidge more minimalistic than I like even for the ambient genre.

The album starts on a fairly promising note, with a couple of tracks making extensive use of low, rumbling synth sounds not used very much to this point in Eno's work. The opening "Lizard Point" also has a cool spacey feel that's much like what one later finds on Apollo, and while I can't really feel the contributions of Eno's collaborators on this track (this is the only track on the album, btw, that's not credited solely to Eno), it's a fine bit of bleak mood setting. "The Lost Day" is a bit overlong at 9+ minutes, but it has a GREAT menacing theme that repeatedly pops up starting a couple of minutes in, and it really gives a sense of, I dunno, being trapped in a dark place and completely losing all sense of time (hence making each day spent in this place a "lost day").

Following these two tracks is what I consider the peak of the album, the effect-laced "Tal Coat." It might seem a bit disconcerting to have these incessant bleeps and bloops up against sounds of bubbling water and the various synth textures, but for some reason it seems to entrance me just fine. Besides, it has that nice little piano snippet that pops up about two-and-a-half minutes, which gives an unexpected dose of beauty to the proceedings, and the intensity of the synths picks up after this, so there you go.

After this point, though, the album starts to lose me a bit, though absolutely none of it offends me in any way. I can give a half-hearted thumbs up to "Shadow," which combines various Easterny wind instruments playing discordant bits over processed samples of the kind of sounds you'd hear at night deep in the woods, but what comes afterwards has more or less completely escaped me. I mean, the last four tracks all set fairly emotional moods into which I can basically lose myself while listening, but the moods are still awfully abstract, and not much really sticks to my ribs. I like how "A Clearing" has a, well, clearer sound to it than the tracks around it, playing up the title well, but that's about all that jumps out at me. Well, ok, I do get a feeling of mourning when listening to "Dunwich Beach, Autumn, 1960," but that's about all I can say.

Still, all in all, this is a perfectly decent, perfectly solid piece of background music, and one I have no problem giving a solid *** to. Parts of it really suck me in, and the rest of it basically interests me when it's playing, and that's enough for me with ambient. Maybe you might consider giving a grade as high as a *** to an album that just works on that level to be extreme, but I'll just say that I'd be just as willing to listen to this at random as, say, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour or any other *** album I know.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#500638) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The culmination of Eno's Ambient series, On Land subverts the purposes of the preceding album - instead of promoting a tranquil, relaxed atmosphere, the music attains a diametrically opposed result through extremely similar techniques. The soundscapes here brood with darkening tension - the landscapes may seem static at first, but soon it's apparent that there's rumblings underground and an earthquake on its way - one which never quite hits, but always seems just about to strike. Cobbled together via synthesisers and sound effects, this album amongst other things provided a blueprint for the early works of the likes of Aphex Twin and other ambient pioneers.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#568966) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Without question this is my favourite Brian Eno Electronic album. All eight tracks are dark and atmospheric with a lot of attention to detail from Mr. Eno. Headphone music at it's best as we drift along in this spacey and haunting trip. TANGERINE DREAM's "Zeit" is maybe a good comparison although this isn't as sparse or as long a journey as what the Germans created some ten years earlier.

I can't really pick out a favourite track as this album really seems like your listening to one long suite even though each song is slightly different, the mood though isn't. Again I love the attention to detail as we hear these sounds that are often manipulated or processed in one way or another while the dark atmosphere floats and shimmers constantly. I just can't give anything less than 5 stars for this innovative and very interesting series of soundscapes. This is one of my favourite Electronic albums of all time.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#1178955) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 24, 2014

Latest members reviews

5 stars This album is and should be used as the definition of ambient. While listening to this album, you are forced into a world created only by your imagination with the music as your guide. The atmosphere created by this album is much darker than you would expect from an Eno record, with virtually no ... (read more)

Report this review (#172122) | Posted by Shadowavenger | Saturday, May 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars On Land is possibly the greatest ambient album ever, and is overall one of my favorite recordings. I don't necessarily listen to it all of the time, but when I do it's an absorbing experience. The title is perfect, because the soundscapes really seem to have a physical texture of sorts. Thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#149002) | Posted by Mr. Punch | Monday, November 05, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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