Ambient 1: Music for Airports
Though Brian Eno’s Ambient series grew out of a simple purpose—to improve upon the canned music that Eno had endured while traveling through airports—its innovative approach would go on to affect film scoring, electronic music, and pop music in general. For all their evocative power, these four long tracks are remarkably simple in construction. Each is centered on samples of wordless singing and acoustic piano, with rumbling assistance from a synthesizer. Eno wasn't the first to work with tape loops and abstract compositions; avant-garde composers had been doing it for decades. But his Ambient works felt remarkably different. This doesn’t sound like music conceived by fringe musicians; it sounds like a transmission from an unknown future. In many ways, it was—the techniques Eno introduced on this album would be so thoroughly adopted by deejays and film composers that by the '90s, these peculiar sounds were relatively familiar to even casual music listeners. But despite its expansive influence, Ambient 1 retains its unique ability to seduce and frighten new listeners.