Sunday, January 16, 2011

Brian Eno Series, #6: Brian Eno- Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978) MP3 & FLAC

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)


  1. I think you nailed it with your review. Eno is not an artist that a listener can easily appreciate with a casual listen. It requires work. Just speaking from my experience! Also, Eno was an audio engineer first. He has written on how the stereo experience can be adjusted and expanded. I have tried his advice and it really changed my audio for the better.

  2. Thanks scurfie, I've always thought of Eno as an artist, philosopher and scientist all mixed into one. This gives him a pretty unique vantage point on the creative process and the results of that process.

  3. btw, this was a particularly hard one to write a review for. It seemed as if all the typical moves one makes in a record review had no relevance for this album, which might, come to think of it, be an indicator that Eno was on to something.

  4. the album is of one of those moments like autobahn, that you realise after many listens, that so much began from here. this is very good. about as good as it gets

  5. charlesp, great comment and I completely agree!

  6. Thanks for this post, but can you tell me why a file labeled 'lossless' has a log indicating output at 128Kbps?

  7. my friend, you made my day with all this of brian eno, i found your blog and i'm very happy, thanks a lot.

    greetings from aguascalientes, méxico

  8. juan, great to hear from you. I'm glad you found the blog and all the Eno posts!

  9. I was looking for this record online and happened to find it on your blog, which I loved. Your words are very true, this is totally worth listening, not only as an experiment, but also as a carefully conceived piece of music, Even though time has passed and many other types of music have appeared, hopefully there will always be someone willing to explore and find these records. And hopefully this blog will be around to help.

    Greetings from Monterrey, also in Mexico.


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