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Music For Airports

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Audio CD, February 24, 1998
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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. 1/116:35Album Only
listen  2. 1/2 8:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. 2/111:43Album Only
listen  4. 2/212:08Album Only

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Music For Airports + Ambient 1: Music for Airports + Ambient 2: Plateaux of Mirror
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Product Details

  • Performer: Bang On A Can, Lisa Moore, Katie Geissinger, Phyllis Jo Kubey, Alexandra Montano, et al.
  • Composer: Brian Eno
  • Audio CD (February 24, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B0000069CI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,400 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An avant-garde ensemble playing the 1978 Brian Eno piece which put ambient music on the map. Eno's idea was to make a series of tape loops into tightly composed Muzak. He wanted a sonic backdrop for bland public spaces that would reward close listening. Bang on a Can, playing acoustic and electric instruments, breathe life into it, making the music's neutrality seem coldly beautiful. The piece is divided into four parts, each consisting of a few gentle, minimal figures, calmly repeated and shifted. Rhythm is eliminated and time seems to stretch. What is revealed is the sensuousness possible in a single note. Music has never been the same. This is the best place to hear where it changed. --Steve Tignor

Customer Reviews

Popular music snobs are the same.
Snarky music-head
I have never listed Music For Airports as one of my favorite Eno works.
These are real instruments recreating an amazing piece of music.
Michael W. Spatz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 1999
Format: Audio CD

I'm listening to Music For Airports by Bang On A Can, who have re- recorded this piece almost twenty years after Brian Eno gave birth to it, figuratively speaking. Now when I first heard the original record it kind of scared me because it was in ways a challenge to listen to, on account that there seemed to be nothing or very little of real substance to grasp. The idea was to loose yourself (un)knowingly to this muzak of sorts and merge with the environment for which it was designed for, knowing well that this may be one of the last things you may ever hear . When I first bought this record years back I didn't give it as much thought as I do these days. In fact these days I would say the original and BOAC's almost replica version are amongst my favourite records. BOAC pay tribute to the old boy and choose to do it virtually note for note, with the addition of some wonderful pipa playing by Wu Man, as well as additional horns,cellos and strings and a chorus of heavenly voices. The inner sleeve folds out to reveal the faces of the players looking out of aircraft windows, all very kitsch but funny at the same time. BOAC say it's time to give this piece of music the stamp of true genius, and feel that in terms of compositional techniques it's up there with the big boys. Eno questioned where music was going, more so how we should listen or (with this recording) if we even chose to consciously listen at all, but underlying all this was / is a piece of music of tremendous beauty and elegance. This is what BOAC are also saying , that fundamentally Music For Airports is an exquisite piece of music that deserves to be heard.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Guitar Worship Guy on April 23, 2011
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
As best as I can determine this is NOT a Brian Eno performance. That's not to diminish it, just to clarify since the album cover could create confusion in this area for people not familiar with the group Bang On A Can. I'm guessing Eno is listed in big print at the top because he is the composer as is typically done on classical music albums. Information on Bang on a Can is available at

I very much enjoy music inspired by Eno's ambient series and have owned Music for Airports since soon after it came out. However, I find that I prefer later albums such as The Plateaux Of Mirror (Ambient 2) and the Pearl. For me personally Music for Airports was an excellent step in creating a new genre but (except maybe for track 1) doesn't hold up as well to what came after. In particular I find that the synthetic vocal sounds used the 2nd and 3rd tracks detract from the relaxing feel of the music and are a rare example of Eno using a sound that quickly became "dated." (Your milage may vary)

However, I was intrigued by the possibility of a fresh version and after checking out the album samples decided to take advantage of the special pricing available at the time I made my purchase. I really do like this "new" version, even prefer it on the 2nd and 3rd tracks. The live performance has an organic freshness without losing the "Ambient" nature of the music. I believe they did justice to the original compositions. The vocal sounds are still there on the 2nd and 3rd tracks, but they are warmer and blend much more comfortably in the mix.

If you like Eno's ambient work There's a good chance you will enjoy this album as well. I found the previews to be reasonably representative of the sound of the music even though 30 seconds doesn't really give you the "feel" of letting the track flow in the background.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. R. Wilkinson on April 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I have known the original Eno version intimately for years, so I approached this CD with a question: Does it add anything to the original? The short answer is one part does, two maybe do and one part doesn't. The first part (arranged by Michael Gordon) is the least satisfying. It doesn't seem to add anything to the original Eno version apart from an unsettling deep piano chord at the start. It sounds awkward and clumsy, and it lacks the smooth beauty of the original. Part two consists of mostly aetherial voices, as did Eno's, but on this version David Lang has fleshed it out with subtle additions that work quite well. Third section brings out a slight jazz flavour to the original, which is interesting although I have yet to decide whether I like that angle or not! The best part is the final part, which certainly adds to the original Eno composition. Eno's rich, chorale of synths has been enhanced by the addition of some interesting instruments, e.g. plucked instruments, that really brings out some novel textures in the piece. So, overall, three stars - one for each reasonable piece on the album.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Juan Mobili on May 31, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Brian Eno, in many ways, is one of those composers responsible for a lot of what you hear today without having gotten his due recognition. Since the days of Roxy Music to his production of U2's music, Eno has forged new paths for contemporary music without fanfarre nor self-congratulatory intentions. "music for Airports" is a classic of what has become quite an important genre: Ambient music. As far as I'm concerned, Eno, at least partially, has fathered New Age, Trip Hop and Ambient music. Bang in the Can has accomplished the simplest and hardest task of performing other people's music: they offred their own voice without bastardizing the original composition. Whether in music or any other "walk of life," this group of musicians decided to honor a composer and found enough room to sound themselves, in the process. What you have here is an acoustic version of the original "loops & tapes" classic. Played impeccably and arrnged with love. I enjoy it, in its own right, as I do with Eno's own version. Buy it without reservations, and, if you don't own Eno's own, get them both!
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