Ambient 1: Music for Airports

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Music for Airports)
Jump to: navigation, search
Ambient 1: Music for Airports
Studio album by Brian Eno
Released 1978
Recorded London/Cologne, 1978
Genre Ambient
Length 48:32
Label EG, Polydor, Virgin, GRT
Producer Brian Eno
Brian Eno chronology
Before and After Science
(1977)
Ambient 1: Music for Airports
(1978)
Music for Films
(1978)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[2]
Pitchfork Media 9.2/10[3]
Almost Cool 8.25/10[4]
PopMatters positive[5]
Mojo 4/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[7]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[8]
eMusic 5/5 stars[9]
Spin 4/10 stars[10]

Ambient 1: Music for Airports is an ambient album by Brian Eno released in 1978.

Overview[edit]

Music for Airports was the first of four albums released in Eno's "Ambient" series, a term which he coined to differentiate his minimalistic approach to the album's material and "the products of the various purveyors of canned music".[11]

Notice of similarly quiet, unobtrusive music had been given on albums such as Another Green World, Evening Star, Discreet Music, Music for Films and Harold Budd's The Pavilion of Dreams (which he produced), but in this album it was given precedence as a full-blown concept.

The music was designed to be continuously looped as a sound installation, with the intent to diffuse the tense, anxious atmosphere of an airport terminal. Eno conceived this idea while being stuck at Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany in the mid-1970s. He had to spend several hours there and was extremely annoyed by the uninspired sound atmosphere.[12]

It was installed at the Marine Air Terminal of New York's LaGuardia Airport for a brief period during the 1980s.[13]

The music[edit]

All tracks were composed by Eno except "1/1", which was co-composed by Eno with former Soft Machine drummer and vocalist Robert Wyatt and with Rhett Davies.

Music for Airports employs the phasing of tape loops of different length in some tracks, where, for example, in "1/1", a single piano melody is repeated and at different times other instruments will fade in and out in a complex, evolving pattern because of the phenomenon of phasing: at some point these instrumental sounds will clump together, at some points, be spread apart.

Talking about the first piece, Eno has said:

... I found this very short section of tape where two pianos, unbeknownst to each other, played melodic lines that interlocked in an interesting way. To make a piece of music out of it, I cut that part out, made a stereo loop on the 24-track, then I discovered I liked it best at half speed, so the instruments sounded very soft, and the whole movement was very slow.[14]

The two tracks containing the wordless "aaaaah"-style vocals intermingle four tracks which loop back on themselves and constantly interact with each other in new ways. Subtle changes in timing occur, adding to the timbre of the pieces.

Eno explains of the vocal-only piece:

One of the notes repeats every 23 seconds. It is, in fact, a long loop running around a series of tubular aluminum chairs in Conny Plank's studio. The next lowest loop repeats every 25 seconds or something like that. The third one every 29 seconds or something. What I mean is they all repeat in cycles that are called incommensurable — they are not likely to come back into sync again. Your experience of the piece, of course, is a moment in time, there. So as the piece progresses, what you hear are the various clusterings and configurations of these six basic elements. The basic elements in that particular piece never change. They stay the same. But the piece does appear to have quite a lot of variety.

"2/2" was performed with an ARP 2600 synthesizer.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "1/1" (Acoustic and electric piano; synthesizer.) Brian Eno, Rhett Davies, Robert Wyatt 16:30
2. "2/1" (Vocals; synthesizer.) Eno 8:20
3. "1/2" (Vocals; acoustic piano.) Eno 11:30
4. "2/2" (Synthesizer only. Lasts 9:38 in the "Working Backwards" box edition (1983) and on the CD.) Eno 6:00

The track labelling references the album's first release (1978) as an LP, and so the first track means "first track, first side", and so on.

The CD pressing adds 30 seconds of silence after every song, including one after "2/2" has completed.

The album's back cover features four abstract graphic notation images, one for each track.

Credits[edit]

Personnel
  • Brian Eno – synthesizer, electric piano
  • Christa Fast – vocals ("2/1", "1/2")
  • Christine Gomez – vocals ("2/1", "1/2")
  • Inge Zeininger – vocals ("2/1", "1/2")
  • Robert Wyatt – acoustic piano ("1/1", "1/2")
Recording
  • Brian Eno – producer, engineer
  • Dave Hutchins – engineer ("2/1", "1/2")
  • Conny Plank – engineer ("2/2"),
  • Rhett Davies – engineer ("1/1")
Design
Recording Location
  • London ("1/1", "1/2", "2/1")
  • Plank's Studio, Cologne ("2/2")

Release history[edit]

Country Label Cat. No. Media Release Date
US Polydor AMB 001 LP 1978
France Polydor 2310 647 LP 1978
Canada GRT 9167–9835 LP 1978
Italy Polydor 2310 647 LP 1978
US Editions EG EGS 201 LP 1981
UK Editions EG EGED 17 LP 1983
UK Editions EG, Virgin EEGCD 17 CD Aug 1990
US Editions EG EEGCD 17 CD Aug 1990
UK Virgin Records ENOCD 6,
7243 8 66495 2 2
CD 2004

Usage[edit]

  • Mistaken Memories of Mediaeval Manhattan is a 1981, 47-minute ambient video created by Eno which uses music from both the albums Ambient 4: On Land and this album.[15] This title was later included with his Thursday Afternoon video on the Rykodisc DVD compilation 14 Video Paintings.[16]
  • Music from the album has been covered by:
    • Bang on a Can — Music For Airports Live, 1997, Point-Music (314,536,847-2)[17][18][19]
    • Makyo — "2/1 (Night Flight Mix)", on the double compilation CD Minimalism: More Or Less, 1998, Law & Auder (LA05CD) [20][21]
  • The first track is used in the PBS special The Creation of the Universe ([22]). Eno is the sole music credit, and he also wrote original music for the documentary.
  • "1/1" is frequently used as background music on the US public radio program This American Life.
  • "1/1" features prominently in the opening scene of the 2009 motion picture The Lovely Bones.
  • Excerpts of Ambient 1 appear in Robert Hughes' documentary on Modern Art The Shock of the New, episode 4 Trouble in Utopia.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Weisbard, Eric; Craig Marks (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 

External links[edit]