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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Music For Airports

In 1978 Brian Eno released Ambient 1: Music For Airports, an album designed to take away the anxiety of waiting to fly. Divided into four sections, each one layering tape loops of different lengths, it was one of the starting points for what became ambient music. The four tracks were meant to played in a loop and are all distinct from each other. In 1/1 a piano part is repeated and other instruments fade in and out, falling into and out of sync with each other, sounding very planned but no doubt full of happy accidents. Pleasingly, this week London City Airport has been playing the album in tribute to its fortieth birthday. Back in the late 70s Lester Bangs said the album had a 'crystalline, sunlight-through-windowpane quality' and I'm not going to do any better than that as a description.

Jez Kerr, bassist and singer of A Certain Ratio, posted this earlier this week, a very slowed down, time stretched version of the Music For Airports that lasts not for 48 minutes but for 6 hours. You will likely never play it through in its entirety but it is totally absorbing and demands your attention even though it is supposed to be background music.


Echorich said...

The beauty of Music For Airports is that it is linear, not meant to have a start or a finish. Eno has stated, alternatively, that the idea came to him as he arrived at Köln/Bonn airport, which in the late 70's looked quite modern, thinking that the edifice and the interior would be best suited to music that enveloped and permeated it rather than "soundtracked" any experience and that he wanted to create sound that stilled emotions and created calm in an environment that lent itself to excitement and tension.
Either way, I've never been one who puts any of the Ambient series on 'the record player" but I can appreciate the importance and influence it has had.
That slowed down version of MFA is dangerous - dangerous to speaker systems!!

Swiss Adam said...

Yes, the bass does cause some trouble.

Brian said...

Fascinating. Ever get the feeling some people think on a completely different plane, so to speak?

Swiss Adam said...

All the time.