Brian Eno: Reflection (Warp/Rhythmethod)

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Brian Eno: Reflection (Warp/Rhythmethod)

Funny story for you. When I bought my first CD player there were only about five discs in Marbecks you could actually purchase. This must have been about 1985 because one of them was by Brian Eno whose early solo albums post-Roxy Music I had loved, and his Apollo from a couple of years previous was on repeat play.

So, passing lightly over Dire Straits and whatever the other few offering were, I bought Eno's Thursday Afternoon and took it home with my brand new piece of technology.

I set it all up as per the instructions and with great expectation banged in Thursday Afternoon and . . .


Not a sound.

CD technology was brilliant, it rendered no sound with absolute clarity.

I tinkered and tinkered and finally clicked . . . the hour-long Thursday Afternoon required patience and headphones. Because it starts with nothing, no sound, and then very discreetly in the headphones there were soft and distant low noises from synths. By about 10 minutes in there it was, Eno's Thursday Afternoon . . . an album which I have rarely played since.

(Next up was a Chick Corea album which just leapt out of the speaker and vindicated my investment with its clarity and separation.)

So we approach Eno's new album launched this very day with some enjoyable trepidation: it is a single 54 minute piece and its very title suggests quiet if not silence.

But the good news is there are sounds right at the start so you know it's there.

Very much in line with his ambient philosophy – “Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is enjoyable_-- Reflection is most as still as quiet pond with the few notes, gentle chimes and soft horn-like sounds from the synths evaporating before your ears. Notes enjoy long fades and sustains.

Very little happens to excite the pulse and this is the point of this.

It is at rest.

After the lousy 2016 – which most people seem to agree was a bad one on a personal and global scale – Reflection is a gentle way to start a new year . . . and to reflect.

Because this is one continuous piece Elsewhere won't post a sample track, and although this album isn't currently on Spotify it is available -- when business resumes -- through Rhythmethod in New Zealand (or on an iTunes download).

For much more on Brian Eno at Elsewhere start here

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