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Ambient 1: Music for Airports

Brian EnoAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)

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“In the early seventies I found myself preferring film soundtracks to most other types of records. What drew me to them was their sensuality and unfinished-ness - in the absence of the film they invited you, the listener, to complete them in your mind. If you hadn't even seen the film, the music remained evocative - like the lingering perfume of somebody who's just left a room ... Read more in Amazon's Brian Eno Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Ambient 1: Music for Airports + Ambient 2: Plateaux of Mirror + Apollo: Atmosphere & Soundtracks
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 31, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Editions Eg Records
  • ASIN: B000003S2K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,073 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

This complex sound sculpture was created by Brian Eno in 1978 and was even installed for a while at the Marine Terminal of New York at LaGuardia Airport. The ambient-minimalist soundscape has been alternately described as background Muzak, a profoundly artificial musical milieu, and a groundbreaking studio creation. Eno designed Music for Airports from a few simple notes and the serial organization of variable tape loops that didn't quite match up. It's a groundbreaking elaboration on the aural/spatial dimension that utilizes silence, piano, synthesizer, female voices, and, most importantly, the technology of the studio. A true metaclassic, the "music" is divided into four distinct movements. This record is the first of Eno's ambient series and is undoubtedly the best. --Mitch Myers

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
122 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic ambient work September 22, 2000
Format:Audio CD
I was 14 in 1984, and I remember laughing when I first saw the title to this lp- what is a Music for Airport, anyhow? (such a silly 14 year old thought) But I was intrigued by the concept, I saw one of my idols, Robert Wyatt, as a credit on the lp, and the lp was used, so for a mere .50, I ventured into the world of Brian Eno for the second time (I loved his Roxy Music works).
From the opening piano strokes of Wyatt, I was hooked. I couldn't listen to the lp enough. I listened to it at high volume,and at low volumes. At night; during the day; during rain; windy conditions; perfect calm. It didn't matter. The music transcended all conditions. I was amazed. I was (and still am) a huge Erik Satie fan, and Eno was the modern day Satie. The concepts were beautifully simple and effective, yet wreaked of sophisication. My friends at school were listening to Ratt and other 80s hair bands, and I was into Eno. They didn't get it. It was fine. Eno was mine.
Today, almost 16 years later, "Music for Airports" is one of the cornerstones of my musical identity. I have listened to it 1000's of times (as with all instrumental Eno lps), and still am amazed by the absolute simplicity of it. While Eno played with ambient soundscapes before ("Discreet Music," Fripp and Eno's 2 recordings), none better encapsulated at the time what he was driving towards better than this lp (in my view, "Ambient 4: On Land" best encapsulates ambient music).
This lp is a gem of the highest calibre, and is a must in any reputable music collection. A must have.
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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT December 6, 2004
Format:Audio CD
I feel rather silly jumping on the Eno bandwagon decades after his best and most influential works were released. But here I am. Burned out on everything else, uninspired by anything new, I find myself going back to Eno again and again. This cd is really great. Simple, easy to listen to ( but certainly not "Muzak" )and very relaxing without being boring. Nice to listen to at night before bed, cool in the background when its raining out. And yes, I did actually put this on headphones as I waited for a flight out of Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Brian Eno's seminal masterpiece is quite simply beyond being among the best ambient albums of all time. It is among the best albums ever, period. Recorded in a time of musical turmoil (think punk) and after his glam stint alongside Roxy Music and helping bring in "enossification" and some other of his recording techniques into the life of numerous bands in the UK in the mid-to-late seventies, "Ambient 1: Music for Airports" became a timeless piece without much effort.

Eno captured the essence of the instruments he recorded, looping them and interweaving them to accomplish an exquisite minimalist sound in all four songs. From the first track (over 17 minutes in duration), which features pianos and synthesizer, the album captures you. In the second track, the haunting sampled voices that walk the aisles of a multitude of sound layers bring a dimension to the music that was unheard of until then. Track 1/2 combines the instruments from the first two tracks (voices and piano) in a new fashion, due to the phasing of the tape loops, which makes them "explore" new musical spaces as they evolve through the track's 12+ minutes of duration. The last track only reconfirms the exquisite character of the album, bringing it all back home.

The fact that this album was recorded in 1978 is very impressive, since it became a landmark of the ambient movement to follow in future decades. But the fact that it was recorded at all and it reaches such levels of (almost) painful beauty would suffice to place Eno in the level of the best artists and producers alive. Other musicians influenced by Eno that are highly recommendable would be Mark Isham (OST for "Crash") and Cliff Martinez (OST for "Traffic").
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beauty in simplicity. June 14, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Brian Eno's "Music For Airports" is a further realization of his ambient concept, first realized on "Discreet Music". The concept again is similar, simple lines of varying lengths are played in loops, allowing them to interact in various ways. The results are often times remarkable. For music intended to be background material, this work can grab your attention.

The opening movement, and probably the best on the release, is a good example of Eno's idiom-- two or three extended loops of simple piano and electric piano intertwine. The results are absolutely stunning as the music has a delicate and gentle quality to it. While the rest of the record isn't nearly as good as this piece (one piece is a vocal-only loop piece, one is vocal-and-piano, and the closer is pure synthesizer), it is all quite good.

"Music For Airports" is an engaging and interesting record, well worth investigation for anyone interested in ambient music. I prefer Eno's "Discreet Music" for early ambient material, but this is a superb record. Recommended.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Ambient", as such, starts here April 3, 2000
Format:Audio CD
This is the first of four albums that Brian Eno released on his 'Ambient' label around the end of the 1970s. It is not, however, this first musical exploration of this sort that Eno engaged in. For those, one should turn to his "Discrete Music" or his collaborations with Robert Fripp. It does not directly have anything to do with his pop output of the same period, also, although parts of "Another Green World" and "Before and After Science" definitely share some of these aesthetic territory with these compositions. Rather, this is something which finds its parentage in both the 'furniture music' concepts of Erik Satie and process music techniques as used by diverse composers such as John Cage, Steve Reich, et al. These four works, very sparse and slowly-evolving, were intended for use as installation pieces for LaGuardia airport in NYC, and are intended by Eno to be a calming, contemplative set which 'prepares the listener for death', in Eno's words. One gets the impression he's perhaps not too enamored with air travel? Anyway, this music is beautiful, sublime, and perhaps to this day some of the greatest ambient music ever composed. The free-running tapeloop process that Eno devised to 'collage' the spare musical fragments here together into their works created a slow, gradually-shifting, and organic atmosphere, very unlike those achieved by more recent ambient musicians making use of MIDI and/or other methods to achieve much the same ends. Ownership of this should be mandatory, quite honestly, especially for anyone who has to deal with stress on a routine basis.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a softness to fill any day
Published 4 days ago by ROMANTIC AT HEART
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the BEST ALBUMS I have heard in awhile
I'm normally very open when it comes to music, but when it came to the ambient genre I stayed away from it. Read more
Published 21 days ago by JJB
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by John K. Shropshire
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Ambien®, ambient
You don't have to be in an airport to be transported. This is music to soothe a savage breast, or any weary soul.
Published 1 month ago by Moe_Reese
5.0 out of 5 stars Tune in on to what I am saying
Awesome then. Awesome now.
Published 2 months ago by R. Troxler
5.0 out of 5 stars humming along
I heard this at the coffee house in our local, wonderful art museum (Detroit Institute of Arts). It is perfect ambience music, would also be great for yoga / pilates. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amy Ryberg
5.0 out of 5 stars I meditate to it.
Very ethereal. I really love this cd, and put it on often for relaxation and contemplation. Goes well with incense.
Published 6 months ago by Ivas A Gorzynski
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful for relaxing.
Wonderful for relaxing. However, there are some sad undertones in it and at times, it's not the best music when in a depressed mood.
Published 6 months ago by smysnbrg
4.0 out of 5 stars Poor Brian! At First Interesting but then Fickle Ears Freaked!
The CD arrived in good condition and within the delivery window but listening to it, was too distressing 4 me! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Iadora Kelley
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
It is so far the only music I have found that is truly ambient. When I am trying to study or get work done this music truly works.
Published 9 months ago by Jacob Schatz
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