Brian Eno: Small Craft on a Milk Sea (Opal)

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Brian Eno: Lesser Heaven
Brian Eno: Small Craft on a Milk Sea (Opal)

In the early Seventies the ambient albums by Brian Eno -- sometimes soundtracks for quiet, imagined films -- ushered in a kind of intelligent ambient music and the music on his Obscure label brought people like Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman and others to a wider audience than they might have otherwise enjoyed.

Eno's own Music for Films series, later his Apollo soundtrack and even his wonderful Before and After Science (an Essential Elsewhere album) had passages of profound quietness.

Among is followers has been English producer Jon Hopkins who worked with Eno on the last Coldplay album. And for this album -- in a title that is pure Eno -- they team up again (with longtime Hopkins and Eno-collaborator Leo Abrahams) to create something which could have come from Eno's catalogue 35 years ago.

Here is that same sense of ambient understatement, gently moving passages of synths and keyboard lines which emerge and fade, titles such as Complex Heaven, Dust Shuffle, Lesser Heaven, Slow Ice Old Moon, Written Forgotten . . . 

Only in a few place (Flint March, Horse and 2 Forms of Anger with their electrobeats, Paleosonic with its guitar riff) does anything deliberately grab your attention or set the pulse racing. 

Eno says they come from studio improvisation (his working method in this idiom) and that they "sound-only movies".

If Music for Films appealed -- and it was music that strove not to put you off -- then this is for you.

Music which is as ignorable as it is enjoyable.

(The clip below is very funny.)

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