Monday, October 19, 2009

Brian Eno - Ambient 1 / Music For Airports

"1/1" : Acoustic and electric piano; synthesizer. – 16:30
"2/1" : Vocals; synthesizer. – 8:20
"1/2" : Vocals; acoustic piano. – 11:30
"2/2" : Synthesizer only. – 6:00


I hadn't listened to this recently so I threw it on this afternoon while waiting for a flight. It's incredibly relaxing.

"The music was designed to be continuously looped as a sound installation, with the intent to defuse the tense, anxious atmosphere of an airport terminal. Eno conceived this idea while being stuck at Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany in the mid 70s. He had to spend several hours there and was extremely annoyed by the uninspired sound atmosphere."


Todd said...

It is pretty amazing for this to be written in 1979. I mean they have no loops to work with at that point right? They had to play this straight through.

Never heard before. Headphones on.

Jon said...

tape loops. here is some info on it:

"Music for Airports employs the phasing of tape loops of different length in some tracks, where, for example, in "1/1", a single piano melody is repeated and at different times other instruments will fade in and out in a complex, evolving pattern due to the phenomenon of phasing: at some point these instrumental sounds will clump together, at some points, be spread apart.

Talking about the first piece, Eno has said:
“ ... I found this very short section of tape where two pianos, unbeknownst to each other, played melodic lines that interlocked in an interesting way. To make a piece of music out of it, I cut that part out, made a stereo loop on the 24-track, then I discovered I liked it best at half speed, so the instruments sounded very soft, and the whole movement was very slow.[4] ”

The two tracks containing the wordless "aaaaah"-style vocals intermingle four tracks which loop back on themselves and constantly interact with each other in new ways. Subtle changes in timing occur, adding to the timbre of the pieces.

Eno explains of the vocal-only piece:
“ One of the notes repeats every 23 seconds. It is, in fact, a long loop running around a series of tubular aluminum chairs in Conny Plank's studio. The next lowest loop repeats every 25 seconds or something like that. The third one every 29 seconds or something. What I mean is they all repeat in cycles that are called incommensurable — they are not likely to come back into sync again. Your experience of the piece, of course, is a moment in time, there. So as the piece progresses, what you hear are the various clusterings and configurations of these six basic elements. The basic elements in that particular piece never change. They stay the same. But the piece does appear to have quite a lot of variety. ”

"2/2", the synth piece, was performed with an ARP 2600."

beetor said...

Many thanks!