Review: Brian Eno goes back to ambient mode, but he’s not on autopilot with the gorgeous, soothing album ‘LUX’.
Brian Eno’s most recent instrumental ambient work was ‘Small Craft On A Milk Sea‘, which was primarily outtakes from songs unused from Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lovely Bones‘.
It was somewhat of a departure for the master of soothing soundscapes. Sure there was plenty of moody relaxation, but there were also pieces such as ‘Two Forms Of Anger‘ and ‘Bone Jump‘, which featured unsettling spiky, reptilian textures.
On ‘LUX‘, his new Warp Records release, Eno is now back on familiar languid footing. But while this ambient collection is exactly what you’d expect from the veteran musician/producer, it’s still deeply satisfying.
Originally composed for an art installation, ‘LUX‘s most obvious comparison is to his ambient classic, ‘Music For Airports‘, the 1978 album he created to help diffuse tension for stressed plane travelers (in fact, LUX debuted at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport before the official release).
Like ‘Airports‘, it’s composed of four songs, each just shy of the 20 minute mark. Eno is aided on the album by his contributors from ‘Milk Sea‘; Leo Abrahams on Moog guitar and Nell Catchpole on viola and violin.
Brian Eno’s intent with Ambient music was to be unobtrusive and soothing. To allow one to reflect. To have the song structure aid introspection rather than distract via vocals or agitated instrumentation.
‘LUX‘ ably succeeds within these parameters. Each piece flows together so uniformly smooth, one can be forgiven for forgetting where one piece ends and the next begins. But if you focus intently, you’ll be rewarded with subtle pleasures. ‘LUX 1‘ is more buried and diffuse, with gentle piano notes emerging from the fog of sound. ‘LUX 2‘ opens with glitchy synth jabs to keep the ears engaged.
By the time you get through ‘LUX 4’, the dampening calm will allow stress to roll off of you like a aural deep tissue massage.
And Abrahams and Catchpole’s organic contributions are welcome. They give more depth and character than something entirely synth driven.
In a world of constant noise and over-stimulation, Eno’s ambient work is even more important. Helping one re-engage with their senses, and let go of superfluous aggravation is a lifesaver. Whether you need music for a romantic evening, some time to write or decompress, or some sonic sleep aid to ease your insomnia, ‘LUX’ satisfies.
You can preview or buy Brian Eno’s ‘LUX’ from iTunes on the widget below.