Music For Airports
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Eno/Wyatt/Davies: Music for Airports
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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
[Brian] Eno's work is a finished studio product readily available in shops, exactly as the composer meant it to be heard. So Micheal Gordon's faithfully spare arrangement of "1/1" seems particularly pointless. (Ask any art forger--the original may be worth a fortune, but a good copy is just a fake.) And while Bank on a Can is smart enough to know that Music for Airports spawned whole genres of music (from the elegance of ambient to the evil incarnation of new age), they get hung up on whether their own variation is the equivalent of a pop cover version or a classical canonization.... This album in no way adds to or improves upon Eno's own creation. -- Option
[F]our cuts of translucently soothing bleeps and ahhs--with a small orchestra and chorus of New York alterna-music stalwarts. For the most part, it works; the unpredictability of the one-take "live" recording warms up Eno's swatches of sound, making for a futuristic soundscape that's oddly nostalgic. -- Entertainment Weekly
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well, i gave it try and man am i impressed! i'm not sure how this stacks up to the original, but this is awesome mood music!
highly recommended! ranks right up there with eno's "apollo" disk.
It doesn't improve on Eno's piece. I think in some way, it vindicates Eno's abilities as a composer.
I was suspicious of this recording at first. Airports is process music, about the random chance of tape loops coinciding in just those ways at those times. I thought of the music as "uncoverable"-- the song wasn't the point, the particular performance was. I am so happy to say that Bang on a Can demonstrated to me that I was wrong. They have something new to say about the collection of sounds that is Music for Airports. Wow.
This does not replace the original in my heavy rotation ambient pile, however. I prefer the deep, distorted sounds of the original, all the artifacts of the analog tape loops used to make the sounds.