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.

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Sister

Tracey Thorn’s new single Sister,  described by TT herself as ‘an eight minute feminist groove anthem’ with vocals from Corinne Bailey Rae and drums and bass from Stella and Jenny Lee from Warpaint, is out now. As the player below shows there are also two remixes from Andrew Weatherall, both long and spacey. The dub mix is particularly intense.

While we’re here Tracey’s vocal for Massive Attack’s Protection is right up there. All the mixes and versions are among the best things Tracey and Massive Attack ever did. This version, the Eno mix, from the 12″ single is nine minutes of ambience, warmth and protection.

Protection (The Eno Mix) 

America Is Waiting For A Message Of Some Sort Or Another

I remember clearly the first time I heard David Byrne and Brian Eno’s 1981 album My Life In the Bush of Ghosts. This would be circa 1988 so it probably didn’t have the same shock impact it may have had on listeners in 1981- sampling voices from the TV and radio was all over the place in the late 80s, as were drum machines and tracks constructed from loops and treated instruments. But it still made my head spin. America Is Waiting isn’t necessarily the best song on Bush Of Ghosts but it seems the most relevant today. Snatches of ranted vocals (‘we ought to be mad at the government not made at the people’, ‘no will whatsoever, absolutely no integrity’), distorted funky guitar from Byrne and a clattering rhythm track.

Start Up

Far be it from me to take the corporate shilling and promote a multinational corporation- but almost all of use Windows don’t we? If not Windows then Apple? And I’m not being paid anyway. Months ago someone directed me to these on Twitter, possibly Davy H of the much missed and still sadly inactive Ghost Of Electricity blog. To mark the occasion of the 20th birthday of Windows 95 ideoforms put these onto Soundcloud, the Windows 95 start up sound slowed down by 4000%, followed by the same slowed down effects for Windows 98, 2000, NT, Vista and XP.

All of them become rather wonderful, ambient, Eno-esque moods rather than the brief and sometimes irritating sound of your operating system bursting into life. Eno actually contributed to the creation of the 95 jingle and Robert Fripp did the Vista one. You could probably slow many things down and get them to sound like Eno and turn them into interesting ambient pieces. But like the person in the art gallery who points and says ‘my five year old could have done that’, it’s the doing it that’s important.

Eno Returning

Brrrr- it’s chilly out. How about some Brian Eno to start the week? In fact, how about an hour long mix of Brian Eno, originally put together by the Test Pressing website back in 2010, no longer available at their website as far as I can tell.

The Producers 2 Brian Eno

Many of the tracks selected here have that late 70s and early 80s sound rather than the ambient soundscapes he’s as well known for. Strange syncopated rhythms, treated guitars, African influences, multitracked vocals, funk bass, oblique strategies.

Tracklist…
Brian Eno: Sky Saw
Brian Eno: No One Receiving
Brian Eno: Strong Flashes Of Light
Brian Eno: More Volts
Talking Heads: Double Groove (Demo)
Brian Eno: The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch
David Bowie/Brian Eno: Abdulmajid
Brian Eno & David Byrne: Into The Spirit Womb
Brian Eno: St Elmo’s Fire
Brian Eno & Harold Budd: The Plateaux Of Mirror
Eno Mobius Roedelius: Foreign Affairs
Brian Eno: In Dark Trees
Brian Eno: Mist/Rhythm
Brian Eno: By This River
Brian Eno: Just Another Day
Brian Eno: Bone Bomb
Brian Eno: The True Wheel

Sunday Jam

If Friday night was about Weatherall’s Disco Deviant dancefloor mix then Sunday morning is the time for the most recent edition of Music’s Not For Everyone, covering all the bases and all the basses from rockabilly to psychedelia to electronica and beyond. Listen to it here.

Someone reminded me yesterday of Jam J, a 12″ single from 1994 where an already experimental studio jam session with James and producer Brian Eno was then further reworked by Sabres of Paradise into two part thirty three minute outer space/inner space dub with echo and all kinds of tinkering. The record was in four parts, labelled A1. Arena Dub A2. Amphetamine Pulsate B1. Sabresonic Tremolo Dub B2. Spaghetti Steamhammer. This is all four parts, both sides in one handy mp3.

Jam J

Heavy Seas

I’ll be the first to admit he’s not always been my cup of tea in the past but this is very good and rather affecting. It also sounds little like any of his various previous band’s works, which takes some doing. I think Brian Eno was involved in this song too.