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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Right Back

Jez Kerr, frontman and bass player for A Certain Ratio, has had an on-off solo thing going on for a few years. ACR have signed a deal with Mute and are planning a series of re-releases plus a new album so the solo thing is probably off for the moment but I revisited some of his solo tracks from 2012 recently and there are a couple you might like and may not have heard.

Reason I Feel Like An Alien has a dreamlike melody and an ACR-like vocal but this is more meditative and lost than ACR are. There’s another version which is even spacier but I can’t find a link to it right now. The video is pretty hypnotic too.

Rip You Right Back rides in on noises and a mechanical rhythm and stays right there, with Jez’s monotone vocals sinking over the top. In different ways I can hear the influence of Brian Eno in both songs. The pair are off an album called Numb Mouth Eat Waste which you can still pick up in the usual places.

Dream Baby

Suicide’s Dream Baby Dream is perfection- the organ, the slightly wasted vocals, the hissy drums, the whole narcotic vibe. It’s also very attractive to cover, easy to play and a good groove to get locked into. Jez Kerr, front man and bassist for Manchester’s A Certain Ratio has done a cover. Very nicely done indeed.