Saturday, April 03, 2010

Music for Films (1978)

"Sparrowfall (1)" I have to say it was a bit silly, even pretentious, for Brian Eno to characterize the various studies here as "music for films," which at best is a misunderstanding (if not outright denigration) of the work of Bernard Herrmann, Ennio Morricone, and a host of others who have shown themselves so masterful at composing exactly that. The only thing sillier was another album he released the following year under the name Music for Airports. That said, the studies here do come with their various pleasures: the sparkling acoustic guitar tones of "From the Same Hill," the soaring jet sounds that swipe across "Slow Water" like writing only partially discernible on a slate, the Satie-like piano figures and feints toward luscious melody and the surprising fusions of the "Sparrowfall" triptych, the unsettling swells and undulations of "Alternative 3," the sheer uncanny presence of "'There Is Nobody.'" At the same time, all 18 disparate tracks here—many of them two minutes or less, with only the last one longer than four minutes—do manage to cohere into a whole, making their sonic alliances and then gently shifting and moving from one seamless vantage to another. So I'm happy enough to give Eno the benefit of the doubt on the poor choice of title. Maybe it was something that came out of that Oblique Strategies deck?

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