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Ambient 1: Music for Airports
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Product Description

Eno's theory of the "discreet music" he called ambient was far from the modern chill-out room: the idea was that it should function at very low volumes, unobtrusively coloring the atmosphere of a room. Evolving by tiny gradations, the long pieces of Music For Airports (the first in a series of albums that followed the statement of purpose Discreet Music) defy close attention, but then they're not meant to be listened to consciously; they're meant to serve as a counterpoint to the frantic arcs of travel, or rather to be imagined in that setting. --Douglas Wolk

This complex sound sculpture was created by Brian Eno in 1978 and was even installed for a while at the Marine Terminal of New York at LaGuardia Airport. The ambient-minimalist soundscape has been alternately described as background Muzak, a profoundly artificial musical milieu, and a groundbreaking studio creation. Eno designed Music for Airports from a few simple notes and the serial organization of variable tape loops that didn't quite match up. It's a groundbreaking elaboration on the aural/spatial dimension that utilizes silence, piano, synthesizer, female voices, and, most importantly, the technology of the studio. A true metaclassic, the "music" is divided into four distinct movements. This record is the first of Eno's ambient series and is undoubtedly the best. --Mitch Myers

Limited Edition Japanese "Mini Vinyl" CD, faithfully reproduced using original LP artwork including the inner sleeve. Features most recently mastered audio including bonus tracks where applicable.

Customer Reviews:

  • Beautiful
    Ambient 1 is one of the best, and in a way, one of the most beautiful albums ever released.
    In the past, many people have tried to listen to and judge this album as some sort of pop accomplishment-Ambient 1, and for that matter, Brian Eno's Ambient Series is not meant to judged on a pop level. The Ambient works are meant to run in the background - so you could really consider this to be meditative music.

    -1/1 is simply astonishing - one of the best "ambient" compositions ever written.

    -2/1 is a hauntingly beautiful piece which is driven by three voices.

    -1/2 is a combination of the original piano scheme of 1/1, mixed with the haunting voices of 1/2.

    -2/2 is the final track, and presents another eerily wonderful scheme, this time with only Brian playing a synthesizer.

    As you listen to this album, track by track, you will be able to see how much of a wonder this album is....more info

  • New Age Noodling
    OK, so this is the first of the ambient albums that helped to spawn the whole New Age nightmare. It's OK to study to, but don't try to actually *listen* to it, because you'll be bored to tears. Or at least I was. I don't know what the big deal is about this album. Take a really basic sound pattern made up of just a few notes, throw in some tape loops and build upon it ad nausem, and you've got ambient music. Me, I prefer actual songs. Give me "Another Green World" over this any day....more info
  • Psychotropic Medication in Listenable Form
    A friend of mine had this in 1987, and I *finally* got my own copy this year.
    Usually I associate a particular season with an album or music type (i.e. zydeco for summer's beginning, singer/songwriter with acoustic guitar for early autumn, R&B for spring, techno for winter, etc.) but this album fits into any season. As long as it's twilight.
    It's frozen winter midnight, rainy autumn dawn, drowsy summer evening, wistful spring afternoon. It makes you feel less horrible when you're heartbroken. It smoothes down the hackles of your aggravation. Instead of harshly imposing its own mood (as a lot of music does) it draws out your own feelings of calm. I'm a therapist, and I play it in my office.
    I don't think electronic music has ever really been able to improve on Eno, as much as the technology has advanced....more info
  • Soothing music for stressful times.
    I may not be frightened of flying, but I certainly have enough fears and stress in my life to warrant something soothing. Music For Airports elicits calm in a way that only the best musical compositions do. It transports you to a peacful state, yet it's still highly listenable. This work has come in and out of my life several times since it was released and it always seems to fit the prescription. I suggest trying it during a traffic jam, an anxious moment, or as a precursor to romance. You won't be dissapointed....more info
  • Liquid Serenity
    Ok, so the title does sound a little silly, but the music in question here goes beyond such a simplistic description as 'music for airports.' It's simply one of the most universal ambient albums ever produced and one of the very few I've never gotten tired of playing: this is some of the most pleasant, soothing background noise you're likely to hear. It's repetitive but not droning. Eno weaves simple piano notes, vocal "aah"s, and ethereal white noise into a barely-there wash of sound.. calming, serene and peaceful. It's a 48-minute study in the hazy area between sound and silence. (Nice and poetic, eh?)

    I get two main uses out of this disc: a soundtrack for calming down when I need to relax, and a time-out from 'normal' music when I'm feeling too burned out to think or pay much attention to what I'm listening to. Heck, I've been working and staring at a screen for the past few hours and I wasn't planning on writing anything like this right now, but this soundscape has a kind of mentally rejuvenating effect. Playing this album has a way of clearing my mind and helping me think when I'm overwhelmed. Your mileage may vary.. but if you're looking for some pleasant aural wallpaper to work to or sleep to, you'd be hard-pressed to do much better than Eno. Try Thursday Afternoon if you like this one already....more info

  • Ethereal....great choice....
    Having been an Eno enthisiast for many years...since 1982, I own all of the selections listed here to include many that are not. This work by Eno (next to On Land) is my favourite. The movements of each period strke me deeply. It evokes thought on the "big here" and the "long now". A definte for Eno purists......more info
  • A piece of history that still sounds brilliant
    Brian Eno literally invented the term "Ambient Music" some twenty-odd years ago, and this record was his greatest accomplishment in the genre. Truly delightful in either foreground or background, this is Eno putting his money with his theoretical mouth is. A masterful blend of art and theory!...more info
  • Actually heard it at an airport!
    I've had this for years and actually heard it being played in the tunnel between concourses in the United area of O'Hare just after the new area opened.

    Great background for a massage....more info

  • For a change of pace
    Brian Eno, what can I say? An elusive figure in the music industry but yet regularly produces new material. I first heard Eno on a collaboration album with Harold Budd and have been loyal ever since. Music for Airports is a soothing, interesting work. I remember playing it on a vinyl record as a child in my room, my mother said later that night to my father, "Did you hear that heavenly music?" Apparently she thought it was coming from the sky (or the local church). I promptly replaced my vinyl version with the CD because it stands out in my music collection as one of the most played CD's for meditation or just plain relaxation. DISCOVER ENO! hint: if you like Eno try Harold Budd also....more info
  • "Ambient", as such, starts here
    This is the first of four albums that Brian Eno released on his 'Ambient' label around the end of the 1970s. It is not, however, this first musical exploration of this sort that Eno engaged in. For those, one should turn to his "Discrete Music" or his collaborations with Robert Fripp. It does not directly have anything to do with his pop output of the same period, also, although parts of "Another Green World" and "Before and After Science" definitely share some of these aesthetic territory with these compositions. Rather, this is something which finds its parentage in both the 'furniture music' concepts of Erik Satie and process music techniques as used by diverse composers such as John Cage, Steve Reich, et al. These four works, very sparse and slowly-evolving, were intended for use as installation pieces for LaGuardia airport in NYC, and are intended by Eno to be a calming, contemplative set which 'prepares the listener for death', in Eno's words. One gets the impression he's perhaps not too enamored with air travel? Anyway, this music is beautiful, sublime, and perhaps to this day some of the greatest ambient music ever composed. The free-running tapeloop process that Eno devised to 'collage' the spare musical fragments here together into their works created a slow, gradually-shifting, and organic atmosphere, very unlike those achieved by more recent ambient musicians making use of MIDI and/or other methods to achieve much the same ends. Ownership of this should be mandatory, quite honestly, especially for anyone who has to deal with stress on a routine basis....more info
  • Musical Sorbet
    If you're like me, you probably listen to any number of musical genres ranging from funk to classical, jazz to folk, rock to techno, and everything and anything in between. Listening to music, along with brushing my teeth or bathing or eating, is one of the few things in my life which I do with such consistency that it has almost become an unconscious behavior. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is turn on the CD player and press play; then I make coffee. The rest of the things in my life seem to circle around those two simple actions.
    Yet, there are times when I listen to music that I can't quite grasp what I'm listening to; or the music feels heavy and whines in my ears; or the music just doesn't move me in any particular way. At these times, I often find myself thinking of other songs I'd rather be listening to, but when I play these other songs they don't seem to be what I want to listen to either. Usually, a good dose of silence is all I need; then I start to hear the neighbors fighting or their children playing a game in the street or toilets flushing or tires making that unique swishing wet-road sound. That's all I need to resume listening.
    Brian Eno's Ambient 1 works almost as well as silence to "cleanse the (musical) palate". Whereas silence has a way of pressing in and drawing attention to itself, much like when you suddenly notice the shadows around objects you hadn't paid much attention to, Eno's Ambient 1 instead seems to do the impossible by simultaneously softening the edge of silence while muffling the demands of listening to a piece of music.
    For that reason, Ambient 1 has become an integral part of my music collection, brought out on an almost daily basis to ease ear-strain (let's face it, you can listen to TOO much music) in those moments when silence is too sharp. I like to think of it as musical sorbet which lets me wash away the residual sounds left over from listening to various artists. Besides, there are times when it's just not a good idea to progress too quickly from, say Vaughn-Williams' "The Lark Ascending" to Primal Scream....more info
  • A classic
    I think it is just a matter of time before this becomes a standard part of the classical music repertoire. Spacious, pure, delicate, clean and involving on several levels, "Music For Airports" may have started the new age tend but everything else after it (including some of Eno's own later work) is third rate compared to what he has done on this album. Not for those who demand rhythmn and melody, so its not for everyone. It has continued to be very popular over the years, though, and I suspect it will remain so....more info
    When Brian Eno presented the final master tapes of the record that would become Music For Airports: Ambient 1 to the record executives of his label, raised eyebrows and equally raised questions must have followed him during the course of the in-house session playbacks. On the surface, Music for Airports looked as though it wasn't going to go anywhere but the back of a fan's collection as a one off or an exercise in frivolity - Eno's musical science project or in some people's minds - Frankenstein's monster. Whichever the case, since its release in 1978, this record alone has stood the test of time as probably one of the most brilliant and innovative creations by a single artist since the minimalist beginnings of Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage and Terry Riley in the waning years of the jazz era. More importantly, Music for Airports gave birth to what Eno called "the ambient music genre" or music that combines stereophonic sound with a sense of spatial and audio displacement which then takes the listener out of his/her normal everyday environments and away to another place or another time. Since everyone will "hear" or perceive this kind of music differently, "ambient" provides an "otherworldly" form of expression for many artists and musicians today. In preparation to make Music for Airports, Eno shared his ideas about ambient music with Soft Machine founder Robert Wyatt, who worked on various projects and albums with Eno through the 1970's. In the company of Wyatt, he began to construct (on tape) sound collages using prepared instruments, pre-recorded female voices and even simple sound environments using various microphones on tape machines in a studio setting. It was this use of the recording studio, as an artist would use a canvas, that gave Eno the means to see his musical vision come to life. Music for Airports begins with the song "1:1", with Wyatt's prepared piano following a straightforward melody playing on itself over and over again with interludes of sounds and other instruments chiming in at various points throughout. Track 2, "2'1", starts out with a short mix of several rain shower-airlike female vocal tones which mix together at different intervals giving the listener a sense of "what happened" as opposed to "what is happening now". Track 3, "1'2" is a hybrid mix that combines the both the stealth-piano elements of "1'1" and air-watery elements of "2'1" giving the listener a definite sense of place and time. The last track "2'2", is entirely made up of synthesized tone patterns creating a diverse combination of negative and positive elements that flow into each other repetitively. Eno wrote these songs as a statement of how business, commercialism, culture and most importantly, travel, all are gathered in one specific place, specifically, an airport and how an airport can be a place where both bad news and good news can often meld into one. This music represents those feelings. It is a definite must have if you wish to go somewhere without stepping a foot outside your door....more info
  • Unique
    Very little ambient or new age music elicits much of an emotional response in me. I think that may be because too much of the author's emotions have been poured into it. But this piece is different. I feel great joy and sadness just remembering these pieces. They seem like a happy accident, like something that just came out of Eno's speakers. He had the good sense to be listening the right way when they did. I don't think this should be categorized with any other ambient or new age music, at least none I've heard. Listen to it with different ears....more info
  • Great for baby's naptime
    I love to play this CD while my baby is taking a nap, or when I'm trying to get him to settle down. It's pretty and pleasant to have in the background without having any annoying bits that suddenly jump out and bite you. Sure, it may put you to sleep...but not out of boredom. This music has long, sustained tones, which I suppose probably help slow your brain waves down. At least that's how it feels to me. If you want something to play in the mosh pit or to bang your head to, this isn't the CD for you....more info
  • Music for Airports...Sunrises too!
    We use to play this record around 5:30 am when the sun was rising.
    This was such wonderful sunrise music, also especially
    comforting for a mind that had been up all night on LSD....more info
  • Infinite Music
    'Music for Airports', like Orb's ORBUS TERRARUM, is what you can call an infinite album because it can be interpreted in so many different ways and is adapt to so many different situations. The fact that the album was released in 1978 makes it even more exciting to listen to. Observing what happens in an airport while listening to this music (as I tried doing in Frankfurt/Main airport)gives a better understanding and more significance to the album. Some people may consider this album to be tiring or boring. This is because it is very deep and it takes the right attitude and patience to appreciate it....more info
  • A Very Soothing Album
    This is by far one of the most relaxing CDs I've ever heard. Soothing humming and a light piano actually do make you feel as if you are flying. If you feel stressed, this is an excellent CD to use in calming yourself down. It's not the most rich, multi-layered soundscape ever created, but its simplicity is highly effective. It really does clear your mind of worry. I recommend it....more info
  • somber and melancholic chords numb your sense of fear?
    intended as background music for airports, and to be part of a video installation (with vertically formatted monitors) this music seems to vilify fear more than it is supposed to quell that fear. eno created this piece out of his own need to eschew his phobia of flying. look at the cover....turn the upper left-hand corner to your belly. do you see the lightning bolts and the stick-figured body falling, falling, ever falling down? i feel pathos, yet i feel good about this music-almost safe. keep this one on repeat....more info
  • The most important music in the me.
    Ambient 1 is a simple piano, the angelic chorus of an electronic choir. Subtle, soft, repeating, meter-less loops of sound. Peaceful, yet longing. Initially non-descript. With subsequent listenings, it is memorably relaxing, a non-intrusive, background for the scenery in the room. This is my favorite album by ENO defining the genre of ambient music and soundscapes. It has been my choice as the background music for some of the most memorable, emotional moments in my life. It is a work of genius and I cannot recommend it enough....more info
  • Heavy Metal Thunder
    A (very) quiet revolution on release, 'Music for Airports' is considered something of an ambient classic nowadays. As such, it's not bad - a neat manifesto that, in forty-five minutes, begats, explores, and exhausts the entire genre. It's hampered by a lack of refinement (the first three songs sound like sub-mixes of a larger piece), and it has a slightly tragic legacy (witness countless sample-fiends disguising a lack of effort as 'ambient'). Still, it sounds mostly timeless today, and if it isn't quite as good as Apollo that's because he had some practise....more info
  • Apt for Airports, Eno is a major innovator
    Nearly everyone who uses a computer is familiar with at least one piece of Eno's work; he wrote the little 3 second Windows booting-up music for Microsoft.

    This album is a perpetual favorite, one of the New Age genre classics. Divided into 4 sections ("1/1," "2/1," "1/2," and "2/2"), it soothes the listener with repetitive piano and synthesizer motifs, and adds the color of chimes and vocals. This is the "ambient" music style, something to play while you need to concentrate, perhaps, or to relax or go to sleep by. I can also recommend the newer "Glitters is Gold" which also has non-linear music of this type....more info