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


Brian Eno


Progressive Electronic

3.61 | 200 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Whether or not this is truly the first album of ambient music, as some here claim, I recognize its importance. I also respect Brian Eno as an experimental composer and as an important figure in late-twentieth-century music. Furthermore, I not only appreciate, but actively enjoy, some music that I would define as "ambient," "experimental," and/or "minimalist," including some of the works of Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, and Wendy Carlos - - artists who I personally feel have a place on this site. In particular, I would assign five stars to Carlos's Sonic Seasonings, an ambient work from 1972 which, like Ambient 1: Music for Airports is non- virtuosic background music.

There are also many fine albums which have been labeled "new age," fairly or not. Some albums widely accepted as new age aren't bad - - Deep Breakfast (Ray Lynch) and some of Kitaro's work come to mind - - but count me among those who feel as though these works generally fail to reflect the kind of musicianship that fans of progressive rock respect. Put new age and ambient together and you have a recipient for... blandness? Anyway, Music for Airports fits my definition of "new age music" - - and specifically that kind of ambient new age which is inoffensive and boring.

That's especially true of side one and roughly the first ten minutes of side two. Partway through "1/2," once the piano exits, a more purely ambient section begins. This reminds me of some of the works of Klaus Schulze - - one of my favorite purveyors of any genre of music. The fourth and final track of Music for Airports, "2/2," is also a bit less new-agey, and these sections represent my rationale for awarding two stars.

Ambient 1: Music for Airports is historically important, and even side one, which is definitely one-star material, is not bad as much as it accounts for time better spent listening to something else. In this sense, it achieves Eno's goal of creating soothing but, as he put it, "ignorable," art.

patrickq | 2/5 |


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