Exit Music Review SectionMusic Review Navigation Menu
Old School Ambo

Brian Eno
Music For Films

Although it's his Music For Airports album, his work with Roxy Music, and his collaborations with David Byrne and other artists are the ones that have been talked about the most, this is an album that is just as good in my opinion (which is a collaboration with many different people as well). Comprised of work recorded over a 2-year period of time, some of the 18 tracks were actually used in films, while others were not. The short tracks (ranging from one and a half minutes to just over four) are all fairly stripped-down ambient, but unlike the aforementioned Music For Airports, never linger on enough to get to the point of being too repetitive. If anything, some of them feel like they end just as they're beginning. Perhaps it's just a generational difference that Eno prefers to keep things short, while many current ambient artist choose to stretch things out into longer, sprawling works.

As mentioned before, Eno collaborates with lots of different people on the album and most of the contributions are that of one instrument in a track. Phil Collins (perhaps a reason to not completely write him off), Robert Fripp, and John Cale (as well as several others) all add their respective touches to different tracks, and even though there are so many people working on the album (and so many different tracks), the album is surprisingly cohesive.

The release starts out with a track that sounds very similar to something from Music For Airports, with it's chiming minimal sound, yet it has some added basswork by Percy Jones that helps to give it just a bit more depth than the dreamy sounds of the aforementioned disc. The disc follows that up with one of the prettiest tracks (and I mean that in a good way) on the disc in "From The Same Hill." Over some warm, quiet washes of sound, a plucked acoustic guitar gives the track a simple, fragile sound.

On the three part "Sparrowfall," Eno uses the first part to combine a piano with some nice synth, while the second part of the track finds some synth strings coming into the mix and the synth part of the track growing more eerie. The final part puts the first two together into a more rich sounding track that is slightly unsettling. The latter half of the disc ranges from tracks like the stripped-down "Events In Dense Fog" to the more groove oriented (the only one that feels out-of-place on the disc) "M386."

If you enjoy ambient music and want an idea of some of the roots of the genre, this is really one of those essential releases. Since the time that the pieces were composed (the late 70s), Eno has continued to create lots of music (as well as art installations and interactive pieces), but his early work proves that he has always been important as a musician and innovator.

Rating: 8.5