Music for Films

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Music for Films
Studio album by Brian Eno
Released Oct 1978
Recorded 1975–1978
Genre Ambient, experimental, electronic
Length 40:39
Label EG
Producer Brian Eno
Brian Eno chronology
Ambient 1: Music for Airports
(1978)
Music for Films
(1978)
After the Heat
(1978)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
Almost Cool 8.5/10[3]
Pitchfork Media 7.8/10[4]
Uncut 4/5 stars[5]
Q Magazine 4/5 stars[6]

Music for Films (1978) is an ambient album by Brian Eno. It is a conceptual work intended as a soundtrack for imaginary films.

Overview[edit]

Originally released as a limited-edition (five hundred copies) LP in 1976 which was sent to a selection of filmmakers for possible inclusion in their work,[7] the commercial Music for Films release was expanded to include a number of pieces for, as Eno put it, "possible use as soundtracks to 'imaginary' films". In fact, excerpts from the album did appear in at least four films, "Sparrowfall (1)" in John Woo's A Better Tomorrow, "Slow Water" in Derek Jarman's Jubilee, "Final Sunset" in Jarman's Sebastiane and Breathless and "M386" and "Alternative 3" appear in Rock 'n' Roll High School.

The album is a loose compilation of material from the period 1975 to 1978, composed of short tracks ranging from one-and-a-half minutes to just over four, making it the antithesis of the long, sprawling, ambient pieces he later became known for. The compositional styles and equipment used also carried over onto Eno's work on some of David Bowie's 1977 album Low.

Unlike Eno's later ambient works, Music for Films utilises a broader sonic palette, with Eno's synthesizers and "found sounds" being supplemented by standard studio instrumentation played by other musicians (see Credits).

Two further Film albums were released : More Music for Films, in 1983 (reissued/expanded in 2005) and Music for Films, Volume 3 in 1988.

Different Versions[edit]

The album has manifested in several forms, featuring different track-listings and track-times.

  • 1 : Promotional LP, 1976 (the Director's Edition), issued in a limited number of 500 copies. There are two versions :
    • A Test pressing with 25 tracks (where the titles are not given).
    • Official release with 27 tracks. Many of those tracks were taken from Another Green World or appeared later on the official 1978 issue of MfF. Essentially all of the 'unreleased' tracks are available on the Music For Fans, Vol. 1 bootleg and – rather more officially – on the Eno Instrumental Box Set.
  • 2 : Original 1978 Release. The LP packaging featured a matte finish on the outside with a glossy finish on the inside, opposite of standard LP covers at the time.
  • 3 : Editions EG reissue. The tracks were rearranged into what Eno felt was a more satisfactory sequence. This is now the "standard" issue. (Note : the cassette version of the Editions EG reissue used the track order from the original 1978 version, though the packaging listed the tracks in the rearranged order.)

"Dark Waters" appears on other records as "Slow Water"

Track listing[edit]

All songs composed by Brian Eno, except where noted.

Editions EG Reissue[edit]

  1. "Aragon" – 1:37
    • Performed by: Eno, Percy Jones, Phil Collins, Paul Rudolph
  2. "From the Same Hill"  – 3:00
  3. "Inland Sea"  – 1:24
  4. "Two Rapid Formations" – 3:23
    • Performed by: Eno, Bill MacCormick, Dave Mattacks, Fred Frith
  5. "Slow Water" – 3:16
    • Performed by: Eno, Robert Fripp
  6. "Sparrowfall (1)"  – 1:10
  7. "Sparrowfall (2)"  – 1:43
  8. "Sparrowfall (3)"  – 1:23
  9. "Alternative 3"  – 3:15
  10. "Quartz"  – 2:02
  11. "Events in Dense Fog"  – 3:43
  12. "There Is Nobody"  – 1:43
  13. "Patrolling Wire Borders" (Eno, Percy Jones) – 1:42
    • Performed by: Eno, Paul Rudolph, Phil Collins, John Cale, Rod Melvin
  14. "A Measured Room"  – 1:05
    • Performed by: Eno, Percy Jones
  15. "Task Force"  – 1:22
  16. "M386"  – 2:50
    • Performed by: Eno, Percy Jones, Phil Collins, Paul Rudolph
  17. "Strange Light" (Eno, Fred Frith) – 2:09
    • Performed by: Eno, Fred Frith, Rhett Davies
  18. "Final Sunset"  – 4:13

Original 1978 release[edit]

  1. "M386"
  2. "Aragon"
  3. "From the Same Hill"
  4. "Inland Sea"
  5. "Two Rapid Formations"
  6. "Slow Water"
  7. "Sparrowfall (1)"
  8. "Sparrowfall (2)"
  9. "Sparrowfall (3)"
  10. "Quartz"
  11. "Events in Dense Fog"
  12. "There Is Nobody"
  13. "A Measured Room"
  14. "Patrolling Wire Borders"
  15. "Task Force"
  16. "Alternative 3"
  17. "Strange Light"
  18. "Final Sunset"

Limited-Edition 1976 Promo Issue[edit]

  1. "Becalmed"
  2. "Deep Waters"
  3. "'There Is Nobody'"
  4. "Spain"
  5. "Untitled"
  6. "The Last Door"
  7. "Chemin De Fer"
  8. "Dark Waters"
  9. "Sparrowfall (1)"
  10. "Sparrowfall (2)"
  11. "Sparrowfall (3)"
  12. "Evening Star"
  13. "Another Green World"
  14. "In Dark Trees"
  15. "Fuseli"
  16. "Melancholy Waltz"
  17. "Northern Lights"
  18. "From The Coast"
  19. "Shell"
  20. "Little Fishes"
  21. "Empty Landscape"
  22. "Reactor"
  23. "The Secret"
  24. "Don't Look Back"
  25. "Marseilles"
  26. "Final Sunset"
  27. "Juliet"

Personnel[edit]

Versions[edit]

Country Release Date Label Media Cat No. Notes
UK 1976 EG Records LP EGM 1 Promo – 500 copies
UK/France/Aus Sep 1978 Polydor LP/Cass 2310 623
US Sep 1978 Antilles LP AN-7070
W.Germany 1978 Polydor LP 2344 123
UK 1978 Editions EG LP EGED 05
US 1978 Editions EG LP/Cass EGS/EGSC 105 "New" track order
Europe 1987 EMI CD 787189
US Nov 1987 Editions EG CD/Cass EEGCD/EGEDC-5
2005 Virgin/Astralwerks CD 7243 5 63646 2 2

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1979) Peak
position
New Zealand Albums Chart[8] 27

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r82987
  2. ^ Robert Christgau: CG: Brian Eno
  3. ^ Brian Eno – Music For Films – almost cool music review
  4. ^ Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Brian Eno: Music for Films / Apollo / Thursday Afternoon / More Music for Films
  5. ^ Uncut (p.117) – 4 stars out of 5 – "[A] vital reference point for modern studio-dwellers."
  6. ^ Q (5/93, p.105) – 4 Stars – Excellent – "...has always stood out for its melancholy and, perhaps, the brevity of its tracks....there scarcely seems a wasted moment on it..."
  7. ^ Brian Eno: The Soundtracks Reissues
  8. ^ "charts.org.nz – Brian Eno – Music for Films". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 8 July 2010.