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Robert Fripp/Brian Eno: Air Structures (Recorded in 1975 Rating 4+)
1.- The Heavenly Music Corporation
2.- Swastika Girls
3.- Wind On Wind
4.- Pipes Of Bronze
5.- Wind On Water
6.- Peter's Clock
7.- Oaken Gates
8.- Evening Star
9.- An Index of Metals
Recorded 28 May 1975
The Olympia In
When I first heard Fripp/Eno works, "No Pussy Footing" and "Evening Star", I thought this was a kind of ambient music. After having heard many ambient works, now I think Fripp/Eno works are not so ambient. They are much more dynamic and thrilling music. This may be mainly because of Fripp's guitar solo.
This bootleg live recording is a good example of my point. Here, Fripp's guitar is so eloquent. You can never sleep or even relax with hearing this. I recently got this recording by chance, I was so excited. So, my home page's title was decided...
Portsmouth Sinfonia: Plays the Popular Classics (Released in 1974, Rating 4)
A 1 From Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 (Grieg) 2 From The Nutcracker Suite (tschikovsky) 3 5th Sinfony in C Minor, Op. 67 (Beethoven) 4 William Tell Ouverture (Rossini) B 1 Also sprach Zarathustra Op. 31 (Excerp) (Richard Strauss) 2 Blue Danube Waltz, Op. 314 (Johann Strauss) from my Home Town Vienna 3 Air from Suite No. 3 in D Minor (J. S. Bach) 4 Farandole from L`Arlesienne Suite No. 2 (Bizet) 5 Jupiter from The Planets, Op. 32 (Excerpt) (Holst)
Produced by Brian Eno
Welcome to the world of the worst orchestra in history. The orchestra was founded by Gavin Bryars. The members are mostly from art school students, I guess. Among them, there are some famous members: Gavin Bryars-Cello, Michael Nyman-Euphonium, Steve Beresford-Trumpet, Brian Eno-Clarinet, Kate St. John-Oboe,Simon Fisher-Turner-Clarinet etc. Portsmouth Sinfonia is sometimes thought as an orchestra of non-professional musicians, but actually it is the mixture of professional and non-professional instrument player. (Some of them are "professional musician," but playing non-professional instruments.)
They play popular classic music as badly as they can. But, they are not trying to play badly. They insist they are trying to play as accurately as they can. But, their instrumental ability cannot do that while some of member can do it. This is a very entertaining record. You cannot stop laughing. And this can be heard again and again. Why? This record contains the strength caused by the tension between these musicians. I dare to say, this is a good music, too.
See the interview of Brian Eno about this record here. The concept of inevitable errors was inherited by David Cunningham. And by many post punk avant-garde musicians. History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
Portsmouth Sinfonia: Hallelujah (Released in 1974, Rating 4)
A 1 Mr. Michael Bond's Address
2 From The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a - March - Tchaikovsky
3 From The Karelia Suite, Op. 11 - Intermezzo - Sibelius
4 Marche Militaire in D Major - Schubert
5 Piano Concerto No 1 in Bb Minor, Op. 23 - Tchaikovsky (soloist: Miss Sally Binding) B
1 Overture 1812 - Tchaikovsky
2 William Tell Overture - Rossini
3 From the Messiah (Part II) - Hallelujah Chorus - Handel (w. The Portsmouth Sinfonia Choir) Produced by Brian Eno live at the royal Albert Hall on 28th May 1974
So, they keep going on. Live at the Royal Albert Hall! The highlight should be Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto! The pianist is doing a good job to play with the worst orchestra. Very funny. My kids love this record.
Once, I went to the classical music concert, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein. It was recorded for the broadcasting. After completing the music, they replayed some parts for correction of the errors. Actually, most of the audiences didn't recognized the errors. Systematic paranoia for the correctness. On the very contrary, this live recording is full of joyous errors!
Gavin Bryars: The Sinking of the Titanic (Released in 1975, Rating 4+)
A 1. The Sinking Of the Titanic B 1.Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet Produced by Brian Eno Obscure 1
Obscure is the series of contemporary and experimental music, mostly produced by Brian Eno.
Brian Eno was the member of Portsmouth Sinfonia founded by Gavin Bryars. Obscure series might be the present to Bryars sent by the ex-student who became famous. The works of Gavin Bryars were featured in 4 of 10 records in this series. Also credited in no3 and no 10.
When obscure records were released, most of composers in this series were not famous. But now they became famous more or less. The obscure contributed a lot in introducing contemporary music to a wider range of listener. And they might change the attitude of hearing music. At least, my ears were open by these records to contemporary music, and I started hear them just like rock music.
This first of the obscure label is the typical work of Gavin Bryars. Typical in use of the melancholic strings ensemble. Typical in the theme of requiem, sense of declining
Sinking of the Titanic is based on the episode that musicians kept playing music to calm down people while ship was sinking. What a gorgeous decline to death! What a professional and respectable spirit musicians had! In this record, the strings ensemble plays the hymn reported to be played while the ship was sinking slowly, again and again. Sinking of the Titanic was recorded three times, and this is the first one. I haven't hear the other version. I think this version is available on CD because the movie Titanic awaken the public interest on the event...
Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet was based on the pre-recorded voice of old tramp. He sang the religious songs of his belief. This repeats the same recorded voice of the song again and again, gradually with beautiful strings and orchestra. There is another version with Tom Waits released in 1993. I don't like this second edition. Waits spoiled everything.
So, the sense of declining remains as the main features of Bryars' following works, as titles suggest: After the Requiem (1991), The Last Days (1996), Farewell to Philosophy (1996), Cadman Requiem (1999) etc.
Christoper Hobbs/John Adams/Gavin Bryars: Ensemble Pieces (Released in 1975, Rating 4)
A Christoper Hobbs 1.Aran John Adams 2. American Standard (1) John Philip Sousa (2) Christian Zeal And Activity (3) Sentimentals B Christoper Hobbs 1. McCrimmon Will Never Return Gavin Bryars 2. 1,2.1-2-3-4 Produced by Brian Eno] Obscure 2
This is somehow "discreet" album in the obscure series. As the title suggests, this gathers the rather small works of three composers. After hearing this album, this album leaves little impression about what the music was like... So, I can't introduce this very well. I don't mean this album is not good, it is good. Just very discreet.
Among the discreet works, I like Gavin Bryars 1,2,1-2-3-4. This sounds like music from some hotel lounge??? The intention of the composer should be absolutely different from what I feel.
Brian Eno: Discreet Music (Released in 1975, Rating 4+)
A 1.Discreet Music B 1. Three Variations On The Canon In D Major By Johann Pachelbel (1) Fullness Of wind (2) French Catalogues (3) Brutal Ardour Produced by Brian Eno Obscure 3
Discreet Music may be the most popular record in this series because this is the work of Brian Eno. This work is very important as the first ambient work of Eno. (Some might categorize Fripp/ Eno's no pussyfooting (1973) as ambient, but I don't think it is ambient.) This features simple synthesizer and tape delay system. Tape delay was made by using two open-reel tape recorders. This delay system was influenced by Terry Riley's use of tape delay and echo. But the system of Eno can delay much longer. So, the players sometimes don't need to play music, just listening to the music they played. This delay system was the origin of Robert Fripp's Frippertronics.
The side B is seldom discussed because this is not composed or played by Brian Eno, the beautiful and melancholic Canon played by strings. But I love the B side of this record very much. The concept of the B side is similar to A side. But delay is done by the human not by tape recorder.
These ideas of passive music came from the famous episode. Eno wrote:
In January this year I had an accident. I was not seriously hurt, but I was confined to bed in a stiff and static position. My friend Judy Nylon visited me and brought me a record of 18th century harp music. After she had gone, and with some considerable difficulty, I put on the record. Having laid down, I realized that the amplifier was set at an extremely low level, and that one channel of the stereo had failed completely. since I hadn't the energy to get up and improve matters, the record played on almost inaudibly. This presented what was for me a new way of hearing music - as part of the ambience of the environment just as the colour of the light and the sound of the rain were parts of that ambience.
So, ambient music was created.
BTW, Judy Nylon was the member of punk rock group, Snatch. (I used to have the single of Snatch, All I want (1978) , but it is gone now. Really surprised to find their homepage!) Eno and Snatch recorded R.A.F. (1978) as a B side of King's Lead Hat single.
David Toop/Max Eastley: New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments (Released in 1975, Rating 4+)
A Max Eastley 1. Hydrophone 2.Metallophone 3. Centripphone 4.Elastic Aerophone/Centriphone B David Toop 1. Do The Bathoshphere 2.The divination Of The Bowhead Whale 3. The Chairs Story Produced by Brian Eno Obscure 4
It took long time for me to understand the beauty of this record. This might be the most experimental record in the obscure series. but now I love this record.
Playing music is very close to listening to the sound of nature. At first hearing, this record might sound boring. But gradually, ears will be open to the sound scape.
Jan Steele/John Cage: Voices and Instruments (Released in 1976, Rating 5)
A Jan Steele 1. All Day 2. Distant Saxophones 3. Rhapsody Spaniel B John Cage 1. Experiences no.1 2. Experiences No.2 3. The wonderful widow of eighteen Springs 4. Forever and sunsmell 5. In A Landscape Produced by Brian Eno Obscure 5
This can be my desert island record. Though I've never thought about my desert island records seriously before, I just felt this can be the one when I come to describe this record now. This is so beautiful and peaceful.
I love John Cage side of the record. Robert Wyatt sings in B-2 &3. This is one of the best vocal performance of Wyatt. And Carla Bley sings in B-4 The other tracks are piano works performed by Richard Barnes. You might think that John Cage's music is very experimental one with using chance operation etc. But his early works are incredibly accessible. I love his prepared piano and toy piano works, which sound very charming and lovely. And the Cage's works in this record even has a beautiful melodies in an ordinary sense.
The vocal works of John Cage are not recorded often. I wonder who found these works and decided to include them in Obscure series. Michael Nyman wrote the liner note, he might have the original idea of this record.
Moreover, Jan Steele's works are also very beautiful, particularly A-1. I don't know much about him, but I would like to have more of his records.
Michael Nyman: Decay Music (Released in 1976, Rating 4)
A 1. 1-100 B 1. Bell Set No.1 Produced by Brian Eno Obscure 6
To tell the truth, I don't like the works of Michael Nyman very much. for me it is a cheap imitation of minimal music. But this records sounds nice. Very delicate music; decay music is the good title.
1-100 is a quiet piano piece. This is composer for the film of Peter Greenaway. (Nyman compose a lot for Greenaway films.) Nyman wrote:
This film consists of the numbers one to a hundred, shot in n assortment of locations and contexts and edited in sequence. peter Greenaway asked me to find some musical parallel for this additive arithmetic process and, additionally, to provide a rhythm to edit the numerical sequences.
Bell Set No1 is made of bells sounds only. Enjoy the decay sound of bells.
The Penguin Cafe Orchestra: Music From The Penguin Cafe (Released in 1976, Rating 4+)
A 1. Penguin Cafe Single ZOPF 2. From The Colonies 2. In A Sydney motel 4. Surface Tension 5. Milk 6. Coronation 7. Giles Farnaby's Dream 8. Pigtail B 1. The Sound of someone you love Who's Going Away And It Doesn't Matter 2. Hugebaby 3. Chartered flight Produced by Simon Jeffes and Steve Nye Obscure 7
This record might be the most accessible one in the obscure series. Penguin Cafe Orchestra was once popular in Japan. Their second album Penguin Cafe Orchestra (1981) was sold well in Japan. It is heard as some kind of comfortable BGM.
After this good sales of their second album, this first album was re-issued in different cover. But it was not sold so much, though I prefer the first one. This is may be the first one is a little melancholic while the second one is much lighter music.
I love this slightly melancholic sound of this record. I used to hear this with B side of Discreet Music (1975) and The Return of the Durutti Column (1979). I was in favor of this melancholic mood in the early 80s.
As I wrote before, there was (or is?) cafe called Penguin Cafe in Tokyo. I used to go to the cafe and learned many new type of music. I thought it was named after this record, but there was a rumor that the Penguin Cafe orchestra was named after this cafe. Simon Jeffes once stayed in Japan before he became famous. So this could be possible. According to the home page of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, the name came into Simon Jeffes idea while he was sleeping. He wrote:
"In 1972 I was in the south of France. I had eaten some bad fish and was in consequence rather ill. As I lay in bed I had a strange recurring vision, there, before me, was a concrete building like a hotel or council block. I could see into the rooms, each of which was continually scanned by an electronic eye. In the rooms were people, everyone of them preoccupied. In one room a person was looking into a mirror and in another a couple were making love but lovelessly, in a third a composer was listening to music through earphones. Around him there were banks of electronic equipment. But all was silence. Like everyone in his place he had been neutralized, made gray and anonymous. The scene was for me one of ordered desolation. It was as if I were looking into a place which had no heart. Next day when I felt better, I went to the beach. As I sat there a poem came to me. It began 'I am the proprietor of the Penguin Cafe. I will tell you things at random.'
So, the rumor is just a rumor. I should have asked the owner of the cafe about this.
John White/Gavin Bryars: Machine Music (Released in 1978, Rating 4+)
A John White 1. Autumn Countdown Machine 2. Son Of gothic Chord 3. Jew's Harp Machine 4.Drinking And Hooting Machine B Gavin Bryars 1.The Squirrel and The Ricketty Racketty Bridge Produced by Brian Eno Obscure 8
Machine Music is not like Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music (1975). This is warm and humorous music with some antique machine like repetition. John White describes:
I use the word machine to define a consistent process governing a series of musical actions with a particular sound world and, by extension, the listener's perception thereof. One might thus regard the Welsh Rarebit as a Machine in which a process is applied to the conditioning and perception of the world of bread and cheese.
Do you understand what he means? No, I don't.
Bryars' The Squirrel and The Racketty Rocketty Bridge is incredibly good. This is not like the other works of Gavin Bryars. This is the ensemble of four guitar players: Derek Bailey, Fred Frith , Gavin Bryars, and Brian Eno. The impression is close to the solo guitar improvisation works of Fred Frith and Derek Bailey. But there is a big difference between them. This work is more structured improvisation. Gavin Bryars used to be a bass player, worked with Derek Bailey in Avant-garde jazz field. But Bryars lost his interest in this musical approach, and went to the U.S. to study with John Cage. So, this work is an answer to Derek Bailey.
Tom Phillips/Gavin Bryars/Fred Orton: Irma (Released in 1978, Rating 3+)
A 1. Introduction 2. Overture and Aria ("I Tell You That's Irma Herself") 3. First Interlude B 1. Aria ("Irma You Will Be Mine") 2. Second Interlude 3. Chorus ("Love is Help Mate") 4. Postlude Produced by Brian Eno Obscure 9
This is the most conventional record in the series. Classic opera like music with orchestra and aria. Beautiful strings of Gavin Bryars.
Harold Budd: The Pavilion of Dream (Released in 1978, Rating 5)
A 1. Bismillahi 'Rrahmani 'Rrahim 2. Two Songs (1) Let Us Go Into The House Of the Lord (2) Butterfly Sunday B 1.Madrigals of the rose Angel (1) Rosetti Noise (2) The Crystal Garden 2. Juno Produced by Brian Eno Obscure 10
So this is the last record of obscure series. I wish there would have been more records!
The Pavilion of Dream is one of the most beautiful and wonderful record in the series. You might know the other works of Harold Budd, mainly new age like piano solo albums. But this is different from that kind of work. This is a dreamy ensemble music of saxophone, harp, piano, marimba, vibraphone, and voice etc. Especially, saxophone of Marion Brown in A-1 is really beautiful. (The title of A-1 came from Koran.) As I heard this, I bought some Marion Brown records, but they are not interesting for me...
This record is available on CD. You should buy this. This can be my desert island record if I can bring some records to the island.
Conclusion. You must buy no.5 & no.10. you'd better buy no.1,no.3, and no.7. If you have these 5 records already, you should buy the rest.
Brian Eno: Ambient 1 Music for Airports (Released in 1978, Rating 4+)
4. 2/2 Produced by Brian Eno
After completing Obscure Series with 10 records, Brian Eno started Ambient Series in 1978. And this Music for Airports (1978) is the first of the series. While the Obscure Series focused on more experimental music from various approaches, Ambient Series focused on more quiet and environmental, so-call ambient music. The word "Ambient" is often used for the music of Brian Eno's instrumental works which does not emphasize the rhythm. And it is often used for other people's music which are slow and quite with somehow "new-age" nuance. The word is used for some kind of "healing" music. But the "Ambient" seems to be narrower notion for me.
Eno used to explain about Music for Airport that this music was to calm down people in the airport. Eno said that he got nervous before riding on the plane. And he complained that there is no good music in airport. It is only "muzik" kind of BGM. He wanted to have a good music for airport. He made it for himself. So, according to the explanation of Eno, Music for Airport is not only a music, but also it has a functional effect on the mind. This kind of functionalism, medical and tranquilizing effect on the mind, is the feature of Ambient music. The ambient music might often sounds close to "new-age" music, but it is a different notion for me.
The Ambient Series features the design of maps on these sleeves. This suggests that the ambient music is made for some particular place and situation, though it might be imaginary. They are functional soundtrack music for the imaginary places.
Music for Airport is functional, and it is also a very beautiful music that can be listened to carefully. Particularly the first track, 1/1, is very beautiful. The piano Robert Wyatt plays is also very impressive.
Harold Budd/Brian Eno: Ambient 2 The Plateaux of Mirror (Released in 1980, Rating 3+)
1. First Light
2. Steal Away
3. The Plateaux of Mirror
4. Above Chiangmai
5. An Arc of Doves
6. Not Yet Remembered
7. The Chill Air
8. Among Fields of Crystal
9. Wind in Lonely Fences
10. Failing Light Produced by Brian Eno
The most "new-age" album in the ambient series. Harold Budd's piano is dreamy, mellow and beautiful. Compared with other similar works of Harold Budd, the works with Eno have something attractive. At first hearing, Brian Eno doesn't seem to do anything on this record except putting some echo effect, but as we listen several times, we understand he carefully designed sound ambience. His well designed deep echo and reverb effect adds introspective and silent quality on it.
However, this album still sounds a little bid too sweet. (I like their The Pearl (1984) better than this record.) And it is a little different from my understanding of Ambient, and close to "New-Age".
Laraaji: Ambient 3 Day of Radiance (Released in 1980, Rating 4)
1. The Dance #1
2. The Dance #2
3. The Dance #3
4. Meditation #1
5. Meditation #2 Produced by Brian Eno
The brilliant and bright shower of beautiful electric zither. Day of Radiance is really a good title! The first three tracks are very rhythmical music with repetitive theme. Some might think this is a little far from conventional ambient. But I think this is very ambient because it has effect on the mind directly. The beautiful sound and pulse of music has a medical and healing effect. The last two songs are closer to conventional ambient music with rhythmless slow wave of the zither and other strings, and slight effect of synthesizers.
Beautiful record. But I don't recommend this as an introduction record to ambient music. If you have never heard ambient music before, you may get angry because this record is basically the endless reputation of the same theme, which finally makes you very sleepy.
Brian Eno: Ambient 4 On Land (Released in 1982, Rating 4)
While Ambient 3 has a very bright and upper ambience, the fourth of the series has a dark and downer one. This may also against the stereo-type image of ambient music. But this record is not to make you feel dark and down. The function of this record is to cool down and tranquilize the mind, a kind of "chill-out" sound. Because of this functional effect, this should be categorized in ambient music.
1. Lizard Point
2. The Lost Day
3. Tal Coat
5. Lantern Marsh
6. Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hills)
7. A Clearing
8. Dunwich Beach, Autumn 1960 Produced by Brian Eno
But I feel Eno's approach here is somehow close to his approach in Music for Films series. Music in this records sounds like the description of some landscapes. This is a good record, and I hear this record more than other ambient series. But, there is a methodological confusion in ambient music, somehow moving from functional music to expressive music.
So, this became the last record of Ambient Series. I am so sorry about it. I wanted Eno to continue this series. For example, records such as The Pearl (1984) and Neroli (1994) could have been in this series. I used to dream while I was sleeping that I found ultra rare records of the other ambient series, such as Ambient 7 or Ambient 10, in the second-hand record shop!! After I wake up, I was still remembering the dream, and I seriously wanted to have other ambient records with a beautiful cover design of maps! Ah! What a fool I am! Am I only thinking about records in my life?
Bang on a Can: Music for Airports (Released in 1998, Rating 3+)
4. 2/2 Produced by Eric Calvi
Bang on a Can plays Music for Airports! Finally, Eno became a classic composer of contemporary music. There are many re-interpretation of the works of minimalism composers, such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Terry Riley. But as I hear some of them, I don't recognize big difference from original performance... So, I am not sure if there is a meaning to re-interpret Music for Airport like classical music or not. Even though I didn't expect much about this record, it was a good record. But it is not a great record. Functional Music for Airports, played with many classical instruments, became much more musical and dramatic.
Brian Eno: Music for Films - Directors Cut (Released in 1976, Rating 4)
A 1. Becalmed
2. Deep Waters
3. 'There Is Nobody'
4. Spain (Aragon)
6. The Last Door (alternate version of 'Aragon')
7. Chemin De Fer
8. Dark Waters
9. Sparrowfall (1)
10. Sparrowfall (2)
11. Sparrowfall (3)
12. Evening Star
13. Another Green World B
1. In Dark Trees
2. Fuseli (A Measured Room)
3. Melancholy Waltz
4. Northern Lights (Quartz)
5. From The Coast (Inland Sea)
7. Little Fishes
8. Empty Landscape
9. Reactor (alternate version of 'In Dark Trees')
10. The Secret
11. Don't Look Back
13. Final Sunset
14. Juliet (edited version of 'Spirits Drifting')
Produced by Brian Eno
Brian Eno's Music for Films series are made of short instrumental compositions for the possible use as the soundtracks of films. I don't know how many of them were used in films actually. They are rather for the soundtracks for imaginary films. The series differ from other instrumental works of Brian Eno such as ambient or installation works. First of all, Music for Films works are short. Second, they usually have clear melody or rhythm or interesting usage of musical instruments. (Other instrumental works sometimes don't have these things. They are more focused on the ambience and sound effect.) Third, they tend to have a melancholic mood. Some kind of melancholy is the feature of Eno's music. But they are usually sunk beneath the music. But it is easy to hear melancholy in Music for Films series.
All these features look very easy to imitate. I myself tried to make these imaginary soundtracks for myself. Ahhh. They sound very similar to the works of Eno, but they are not interesting at all! What Eno is doing in Music for Films looks quick and dirty, but actually he is making Music for Films very carefully.
This is the directors cut version of Music for Films. This is a promotional copy with limited number of 500. This was sent to movie director with the purpose to be used as soundtracks in their films. I knew there was this limited version of Music for Films, but I didn't know that the tracks were different from the officially released one until Eno Box 1 was released in 1994. Some tracks are same as official releases version, and there are also tracks from Another Green World (1975) and Evening Star (1975). 12 tracks of this promotional album are not on the other official released original album. 8 of 12 tracks are included in Eno Box 1 (1994). So,4 tracks, Deep Waters, Dark Waters, Melancholy Waltz, and Shell, are only on this promotional copy.
Needless to say, this is a very rare item. Only 500 copies! If you find this, you're very lucky. Though I don't have this, I was lucky to have a chance to hear this with some help from my friend. After hearing official released version many times, I have funny feeling about this version. Particularly, tracks from Another Green World (1975) and Evening Star (1975) sound like misplaced. I think most Eno fans are happy with just hearing the tracks in Eno Box 1 (1994).
Brian Eno: Music for Films (Released in 1978, Rating 5)
1. M 386
3. From The Same Hill
4. Inland Sea
5. Two Rapid Formations
6. Slow Water
7. Sparrowfall (1)
8. Sparrowfall (2)
9. Sparrowfall (3) B
2. Events In Dense Fog
3. 'There Is Nobody'
4. A Measured Room
5. Patrolling Wire Borders
6. Task Force
7. Alternative 3
8. Strange Light
9. Final Sunset Produced by Brian Eno
This is the officially released version of Music for Films. One of my most favorite record of Brian Eno. All tracks are simple, and seemingly sketches of idea, but they can be heard repeatedly. I put all tracks of this record in my iTunes. I play iTunes with Shuffle mode. When the tracks from Music for Films come, they change the atmosphere of the room rapidly.
9 tracks are from directors cut version, and 9 tracks are newly added for this official release. (See this page for more detail information.) Some of the newly added tracks feature guest musicians like Percy Jones, Phil Collins, Dave Mattacks, Fred Frith, Robert Fripp, John Cale and so on! Especially, the fretless bass of Percy Jones is very impressive.
The order of tracks is different in CD. I like the original LP order. I personally made the CDR with the original track order.
Brian Eno: Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks (Released in 1983, Rating 4+)
2.The Secret Place
5.An Ending (Ascent)
6.Under Stars II
9.Deep Blue Day
12.Stars Produced by Brian Eno
Apollo (1983) was made as the soundtracks for the NASA documentary film about Apollo. The film was completed as For All Mankind in 1988. There are 5 years between the soundtracks and the film. As I see the film, I am not sure how many tracks on this soundtrack were actually used in the film. So, this is not the ordinary soundtrack album; this is the soundtrack for the imaginary film not made yet.
When I first heard this record, my impression was not very good. It seemed to be the reputation of old ideas already used somewhere before. But, now, I love this record very much. This record did not bring a new excitement in 1983, but it brings an enduring listening pleasure. It became clearer when we hear this on CD without scratch noise of LP. The music here is the very delicate sound sculpture. (Some tracks are closer to the concept of Ambient series.) I particularly love the steel guitars on Silver Moon, Deep Blue Day and Weightless; country-music-like feeling sounded something new and fit to the nostalgia to the planet earth.
By the way, For All Mankind (1988) is one of the best films that I've ever seen. It is a documentary film made of films taken in the outer space and the interview of crews of the spaceship. It is not only about the journey to the outer space, but it is also about the journey to the inner searching of mankind. When watching the planet earth from the outer space,we feel something very beautiful, fragile, and nostalgic. And we feel something has changed inside.
Brian Eno: Music for Films, Vol.2 (Released in 1983, Rating 4)
A 1.The Dove
6.The Secret Place
B 1.Always Returning I
6.Always Returning II Produced by Brian Eno
When Music for Films, Vol. 3 was released, I wondered "why Vol.3?" I didn't know the existence of Vol.2, and I thought Vol.2 meant Apollo (1983). But Vol. 2 existed as a bonus record of box set "Working Backwards 1983-1973"!
Some tracks are from Apollo(1983) and some new tracks. 8 tracks are included in Eno Box 1 (1994). 1 track, Climate Study, can be only heard on this original issue. (But the tracks from Apollo (1983) may be different version. I am not sure how different.)
The atmosphere of Vol. 2 is more gentle than Apollo (1983). It is hard to say which is better. Side B sounds like more faithful soundtracks of "For All Mankind" In the film, Always Returning is played repeatedly. Side B contains two version of this.
The box set "Working Backwards 1983-1973" is often on eBay. And sometimes Music for Films, vol.2 alone is on eBay. It is not difficult to get this now, if you have enough money.
Brian Eno/Various Artists: Music for Films, Vol.3 (Released in 1988, Rating 2+)
3.4 Minute Warning
4.For Her Atoms
5.Balthus Bemused by Color
6.Theme from Creation
14.Theme for Opera
15.Kalimba Produced by Brian Eno et al Executive Producer: Anthea Norman-Taylor
This is the compilations of the works of All Saints musicians, not a solo album of Brian Eno. This includes 4 tracks of Brian Eno's work, and others are of Michale Brook, John Paul Jones(!), Harold Budd, Laraaji and Roger Eno etc.
The tracks of Brian Eno are good as always, but not so great, compared to the former works in Music for Films. Yet, the works of Brian Eno are the highlights of this record. Thus, I, again, confirm that Eno's Music for Films is something special. It looks easy to imitate, but actually it is very difficult to make the music with the same quality of Eno.
4 tracks of Eno are available on Eno Box 1 (1994).
Brian Eno: Textures (Released in 1989, Rating 3+)
1. Soft Dawn
2. The Water Garden
3. Shaded Water
6. Landscape with haze
8. River Mist
9. Constant Dreams
10. Dark Dreams
11. Black Planet
12. Night Thoughts
14. Evil Thoughts
19. Suspended Motion
20. The Wild
21. River Journey Produced by Brian Eno
Another ultra rare item of Brian Eno. This was not released officially. This was sent to the film and television studios, like original Music for Films.
I am not sure about the release year. Some say it is 1996, and other say it is 1983. And I personally feel 1989 is most likely, considering from the sound style. Overall sentiment is close to The Shutov Assembly (1992). Some tracks may be similar to Neroli (1993) and Music for Films, Vol.3 (1988). So, this is the compilation of the works around 1990, some of which became officially released version in other albums. Most of the tracks in Textures are shorter than the similar tracks in other albums. But last track, River Journey, which resembles Asian River in Music for Films, Vol.3, is 11:12.
This album is sometimes traded more than several hundred dollars on eBay. Because I personally like The Shutov Assembly (1992), I like this album, too. But I don't think it justifies the price. For most Eno fans, hearing The Shutov Assembly (1992) brings enough pleasure.
Brian Eno/Jah Wobble: Spinner (Released in 1995, Rating 2+)
1.Where We Lived
7.Space Diary 1
9.Transmitter and Trumpet
10.Left Where It Fell Produced by Brian Eno/Jah Wobble
The music was originally made as the soundtracks of Derek Jerman's Glitterbug (1994). Brian Eno wrote,
"I had intended to collect the music as a soundtrack record, but in the end a lot of it didn't make much sense without the film. so I cut that connection and placed myself instead in the hands of Jah. He received from me a number of stereo tapes and did what he does "
This album is sometimes regarded as one of the least album of Brian Eno. Some Eno fans say this is the last album to buy for Eno collector. I personally feel this is not that bad, but I have to agree that this is not so exciting as other records of Brian Eno.
There is a discussion about the role of Jah wobble. Did he do the good job on the original material or not? The original soundtracks of Glitterbug (1994) was not officially released, but it is circulated among Eno fans. Some say the original soundtrack without Jah wobble is better than Spinner (1995).
I think original soundtracks of Glitterbug (1994) and Spinner (1995) are different music. The original soundtracks is more like an usual soundtrack album. As Eno says, it doesn't have a meaning without film. Wobble brings some entertaining materials into the original one. What Wobble brought may not be so exciting, but not boring. Yes, I like Spinner (1995) better than Glitterbug (1994).
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