Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eno and Budd Create Magic

In a previous post, I ran through the albums of Brian Eno and his solo projects from the prog glam of Here Come the Warm Jets to the polar opposite space infused ambience of Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. I strayed away from his collaborative albums due to my inability to find many of them and the fact that there are so many. I will probably do another Eno discography in the future as I have picked up a large amount of these collaborations lately, but I can't really wait any longer to share my love of Harold Budd and Brian Eno's fantastic Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror. Some may say ambient music has the same utility as an oscillating fan or sounds nothing more than a bunch of avant garde musicians being snooty and lazy. To me, at least this album more than any other I've encountered, is an experience. It's an emotional experience filled with warmth and hope and completely compelling soundscapes. What The Plateaux of Mirror does better than any of the other countless Eno Ambient outings, especially of the 4 actually labeled in the Ambient series, is create the mood of ambient music with a little more warmth. This might be a distraction if you solely enjoy ambient music to just soak into the atmosphere like volcanic ash. To me, it's a huge plus. Much like most of Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks, there is more than just tape loops. Harold Budd's piano, either electronic or not, takes front and center. Eno will lob up some nice atmospheric tones or some tape looped vocal arrangements and Budd takes these elements and runs with them. A song like "Not Yet Remembered" is a beautifully devastating track. The back and forth sway of Budd's elegiac piano coupled with the synth vocal swells is moving to a huge effect. "The Plateaux of Mirror" is on an electric piano and it takes on another side of what Ambient 2 excels at. It sounds all at once classical and futuristic. It's all in all beautiful music and an album that shouldn't be forgotten.


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