One of the most intriguing aspects of Brian Eno's Ambient work is its acknowledgment of the functionality of art rather than simply its purpose. Traditionally, a work of art assumes an engaged audience; in other words, the purpose (and perceived value) of an artwork relates to its status as an object of aesthetic and/or intellectual contemplation. All of the reviews I've written (and will write) for this blog operate on this assumption. However, Eno's Ambient work attempts to explore the functionality of an artwork. To do so, Eno hit on the idea of a form of music that would be complex enough to reward the contemplative listener at louder volumes, but would, at lower volumes, function more as an acoustic texture or color, blending into the background of an environment, not as mere background noise but as a textural element creating the kind of ambiance a painting, a sculpture, or even a bookcase full of books lends to a space even when not an object of direct attention. Ambient 1: Music for Airports has much to offer the listener in terms of both purpose and function, so don't be fooled; this is very listenable and often very evocative music that is well worth your time.
Ambient 1: Music for Airports (2004 Remastered Edition)
1. 1/1 (Acoustic & Electric Piano, Synthesizer) (17:21)
2. 2/1 (Vocals, Synthesizer) (8:54)
3. 1/2 (Vocals, Acoustic Piano) (12:07)
4. 2/2 (Synthesizer) (9:38)